I am a complete berry-holic, and strawberries are my go-to berry for berry satisfaction. (Wow, that was a lot of “berry” for one sentence.) Unfortunately, I can only get my strawberry fix around the middle of the year when shipments of berries come in and prices can drop by as much as half.
For all other times when I’m craving juicy strawberries, I go for frozen ones. Unfortunately, they’re not as good as the fresh ones, but they’re excellent for ice creams.
If you have the good fortune to have fresh, juicy strawberries, please use those. And no, you may not use those cheap, crunchy strawberries. I have a recipe to revive lacklustre berries, but that’s for another post.
200g strawberries (as fresh as possible, if not opt for frozen)
1 tbsp lemon juice (freshly squeezed or bottled)
1 cup whole milk
1 cup double or whipping cream
4 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch (opt.)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Makes about 1.5 litres of ice cream.
Step 1: Process the strawberries (thawed if using frozen) and lemon juice until you get a smooth pulp.
In a saucepan, mix the milk and cream together, and bring to a boil.
Step 2: Once the dairy mixture begins to foam, remove from the heat and put aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. (This step is known as “scalding” the dairy, which improves the flavour of the final ice cream.) In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and salt until all the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is pale yellow and slightly thickened.
Step 3: Add about a quarter of the still hot dairy to the yolk mixture and stir vigorously to combine. Add another bit of hot dairy to the yolk mixture and stir again. Now pour the yolk mixture back into the saucepan and stir. (This step is known as “tempering.” This raises the temperature of the eggs slowly so that they don’t curdle or scramble.)
Step 4: Return the saucepan to medium heat. Keep stirring and heating the custard until it reaches 80°C (175°F). If you don’t have a thermometer, heat and stir for about 15 minutes, or until the custard thickens slightly and becomes slightly glossy. Take it off the heat immediately once you see steam emerging.
Step 5: Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the strawberry pulp. Stir to combine. Mix in the vanilla extract. Store the custard in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, or better, overnight. Chilling the mixture first helps it freeze quicker during churning, forming finer ice crystals. Your ice cream will have a smoother mouth-feel. Aging the mixture improves its flavour.
Step 6: Churn the custard in your ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store your strawberry ice cream in an air-tight container in the freezer.
Do not be tempted to skip the lemon juice because it really makes the strawberry flavour “pop.” In fact, I sometimes squeeze a drop or two of lemon juice over my ice cream just before devouring it.
Please give this recipe a go, especially if you have an ice cream maker collecting dust in your kitchen. This tastes nothing like the air-whipped stuff you buy in the store. You have not lived until you’ve tried freshly made strawberry ice cream.