Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Strawberry Ice Cream

I have been staking out the farmers markets. Every time I was near one, I would do a cursory glance. Strawberries? No. Damn. So I'd buy some tomatoes, and herb plant or two, and go on my way. In the grocery store I would pass California strawberries and sigh, because I was being stubborn. I was insistent on having local strawberries, so the taste would be the absolute freshest. Memorial Day weekend I spent in Pennsylvania, and I knew, if I looked, there would be strawberries, but they would be hard pressed to make the journey back to NY. It was maddening. Finally, this past Wednesday, I practically skipped through Union Square, it seemed like every booth was teeming with strawberries, cartons and cartons of them, pretty and red, cascading from tables and boxes everywhere. And I knew just what to do with them. I was going to make Strawberry Ice Cream.

The fascination has been developing for about a month now. As the temperature went up, I keep glancing at the dormant ice cream machine that has not been switched on since the Pumpkin Ice Cream last fall. I would be shifting things around in my freezer, and see my mixer bowl just sitting there, waiting to churn. Somewhere in this obsession I decided that it would have to be strawberry ice cream, with fresh, farmers market strawberries. Those lovely, red little jewels, all bumpy and misshapen and not quite perfect like the ones sold in grocery stores, with that deep intense flavor that comes from having been driven straight from the farm. I would accept nothing else. So excited was I when I found my beloved berries, I bought far too many and Will had to make drinks out of them. My life is so hard sometimes.

Strawberry Ice Cream
Lovingly Lifted from Gourmet Magazine

- 1 3/4 Cups Heavy Cream
- 3 (3 by 1 inch) strips of fresh lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cups sugar
- 1 lb strawberries (about 3 cups) trimmed and halved
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

Combine cream, zest, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.

Whisk eggs with 1/2 cup of sugar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking. Carefully wipe out saucepan with paper towel to remove any cream that has dried itself to the side of the pan. Pour cream and egg back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened enough to coat the back of the spoon and leaves a clear trail when a finger is drawn through it. An instant read thermometer will read 170 degrees. Do not boil.

Immediately pour custard into through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. (If you need to speed up this process set your bowl in a larger bowl of ice water and stir until cooled.) Refrigerate, covered, about 2 hours or up to 1 day.

While custard chills, puree strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice in a blender until smooth, then force through fine sieve (to remove seeds) into chilled custard. Stir the puree into custard until the mixture is all one color.

Freeze custard in ice-cream maker (in mine this took about 25 minutes, but check your manufacturer's instructions) then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer overnight to harden. Ice cream keeps up to 1 week.

I loved my ice cream. It was super creamy and burst with strawberry flavor. It was a bit tart, I spoke briefly of cutting back a bit on the lemon juice, but Will insists it is perfect and that I am being finicky.

Last year I bought a toy, the Ice Cream Keeper a container that you put in the freezer and then use it to store ice cream for picnics. The instructions said it would keep the ice cream frozen for up to and hour and a half. To test this theory I plunked my ice cream in, stuck in in my picnic cold bag and headed to Governors Island last weekend. I was probably pushing 2 hours by the time we got off the ferry, but it still worked pretty well! A bit mushy, but my fellow picnickers seemed undeterred, and the ice cream vanished in under 5 minutes.


Claudia said...

How sweetly luscious it is. Our strawberries are just appearing! Now - to not gobble them up so I can make your ice cream!

Drick said...

nice twist on strawberry ice cream with the citrus - I don't know if I could wait to put it in the freezer to harden up...

Anonymous said...

lovely, i know how you feel. i can sometimes get slightly obsessed with finding that elusive ingredient to make a certain food.

The Food Apprecianado said...

OOoOOhhhh. That looks delicious. I am going to make it the moment the weather gets warm enough to justify the cold, creamy goodness.

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