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The Taste of Fresh Strawberries

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

I have to admit that when I think of my favorite ice cream flavors, strawberry is not one of the flavors that come to mind. I tend to associate strawberry ice cream with childhood and Neapolitan ice cream. Most strawberry ice creams you come across are made with frozen strawberries and—for me—are kind of boring. I first made this recipe almost two years ago after smelling wonderfully ripe strawberries at the store. The recipe I ended up with was a blend of several recipes and was intended to yield a rich and creamy ice cream that really let the flavor of the fresh strawberries shine. The resulting ice cream was very delicious, but perhaps a little too rich. As good as it was, tasters remembered the flavor more because it was unique and less so because of the flavor.

Experience helps
When I decided to make strawberry ice cream again last week, I decided the recipe needed a little overhaul. I’ve made quite a few ice creams since I first made this recipe, so I have a better idea on how to tune the recipe. I decided to both decrease the egg yolks called for and adjust the ratio of whole milk to cream making them equal. The resulting ice cream was simply amazing.

Part of what makes this recipe special is the presence of orange and lemon juices. The brightness added by the juice from one lemon really goes a long way towards keeping the freshness of the strawberries from being muted by the custard and cream. The orange juice helps broaden the flavor and give it a little more depth. This recipe omits vanilla extract, which is common in many strawberry ice cream recipes. As much as I love vanilla, it too conspires to mask the freshness of the strawberries, yielding instead a strawberry flavored vanilla ice cream.

Because this ice cream involves cooking a custard base, juicing two citrus and blending the strawberries, it is a little more work than your typical fruit flavored ice cream or sorbet. Of course, I also opt to pass the strawberry puree through a chinois (when don’t I?) as this removes all the seeds to produce a silky smooth ice cream. If you like bits of strawberries in your ice cream, I’d recommend adding them at serving time since frozen strawberries can be icy. The fresh strawberries coupled with this ice cream will really bring the fresh strawberry flavor home.


Ingredients for making Strawberry Ice Cream.


While heating 1 1/4 cups of whole milk over medium heat, beat together 5 egg yolks and 1 1/2 cups of sugar until light and fluffy.


With mixer on low, slowly pour the simmering milk into the beaten egg yolks and sugar.


Return custard base to saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until temperature reaches about 170° F. Pour through a chinois into ice bath and cool.


Once the custard base reaches room temperature, rinse and hull 4 heaping cups of strawberries and place in blender with juice of 1 lemon and 1 orange. Purée until smooth and pour through chinois to remove seeds.


Mix strawberry purée into custard base and continue chilling until mixture reaches 45° F.


Beat 1 1/4 cups of chilled heavy whipping cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled ice cream base.


Pour mixture into ice cream maker and chill according to your maker’s instructions.


Let churn until thick before transferring to a dedicated, odor-free container to ripen in the freezer for several hours.

The recipe pictured above, with detailed instructions and exhaustive photo gallery can be found on the Strawberry Ice Cream recipe page.