Saturday, June 22, 2013

Strawberry Ice Cream

This season has been a great one for Strawberries.  Our CSA farm is reporting record crops, so the berries keep on coming.  Having an abundance of fresh strawberries is by no means a problem, but at the same time, they don't stay fresh that long and we have to find ways to use larger quantities at once to make sure none are wasted.

Buried in storage among the other kitchen gadgets that we never use is our ice cream machine.  It's really a shame that we don't use this more, but with so many good choices in ice cream at the grocery store, the effort to make our own hasn't really been worth it in the past.  Nevertheless, ice cream is a good way to use up a bunch of the berries at once, and also is great for when some of the fruits are a bit passed their prime. In fact, the riper the better!

One of the main challenges we've had in the past when making ice cream is that the result ends up very hard to scoop and tastes icy.  Basically more of a milk popsicle than a ice cream.  Many popular brands use (in addition to the basic milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring) other ingredients to keep the ice cream soft, but these are usually not easily available to the home cook and most of them are chemicals that you would not want to eat anyway.

One of the easiest ways to get a softer result is to not skimp on the sugar.  The higher the sugar concentration, the lower the freezing point, so if a recipe of yours is coming out too hard, try adding a bit more sugar next time.  Every batch is different, especially with added fruit, so its going to be a bit of a guessing game.  Another way to lower the freezing point is to add a little alcohol to the mix.  A high proof liquor like vodka is a good choice because it will not add any unwanted flavor, though you can certainly experiment with flavored liquors that compliment the ice cream's flavor as well.  Don't worry about this technique turning desert into an adults only experience.  You only need a tablespoon or two per quart of ice cream, and you will not taste the alcohol at all.  If all else fails, just let the ice cream soften a bit on the counter before scooping.

Here's the recipe for our homemade strawberry ice cream.  It makes 1 quart. The result was very good, though just a bit harder than I would have liked, probably due to not quite enough sugar, but 10 minutes on the counter softened it enough to make scooping easier.  The flavor was spot on with lots of fresh strawberry and not too sweet.  A prefect treat for the season!

Share contents used:

4 egg yolks
150 grams sugar (split 50g/50g/50g)
250 ml whole milk
250 ml heavy cream
1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries, chopped

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and 50 grams sugar until the mix thickens slightly and turns pale yellow in color.  Set aside.  In a second bowl, mix the strawberries and 50 grams of sugar. Set aside. In a medium pot, bring the milk and 50 grams sugar to a boil.  Turn off the heat and then gradually pour the egg mixture into the hot milk, whisking constantly.  Return the pot to the heat and continue stirring until the custard has thickened enough so when you coat the back a spoon with it and draw your finger across, a clear line is formed and holds (do not let it boil).  Remove from the heat and pour the custard through a fine strainer into a clean bowl.  Place the bowl in a ice bath to cool the custard.  When cool, mix in the heavy cream. Place the completed mixture in the refrigerator and chill for at least an hour until cold.  Pour the cold custard into your ice cream machine.  Add the strawberries and any accumulated juice.  Process per the machine's directions, then transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze for at least 3 hours before serving.

No comments:

Post a Comment