Sunday, May 11, 2014

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream - Custard Style

I don't think there is a particular season for ice cream. I am just as happy to dig into a bowl in the heat of Summer as I am in the cold of Winter. But, with strawberries ripening in the field, my sweet tooth was calling for a bowl of strawberry ice cream.

Pink, artificially colored or flavored pints need not apply.

No, I was in the mood for a good custard base with real chunks of fruit. Luckily, good ice cream isn't that difficult to make. And with a few simple tricks, you can have a rich and smooth strawberry custard ice cream to enjoy with your family.

First you will need a few simple items.

This is a custard, so good, fresh eggs are in order. I chose to use Nielsen Massey Vanilla Bean Paste instead of beans or extract for the extra flavor. Then you will also need sugar, strawberries, half and half as well as a little heavy cream. Easy enough, right?

Start by separating those egg yolks. You will need 9 of them. After separating, give them a good whisking till they are frothy and lighter in color.

Worried about all those excess whites? Save them for omelettes or try your hand at my Kool-Aid Meringue Cookies.

Then heat up the half and half, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Bring it up to a low simmer whisking to ensure the sugar is completely dissolved.

Next you will need to temper those beaten egg yolks. Start by slowly ladeling some of the hot milk mixture into your eggs, all the while whisking so you don't end up with scrambled eggs. Add a little more and whisk again. This will help to warm up the yolks without cooking them.

And if you want a safety net, pour the tempered eggs through a fine seive or mesh strainer to catch any little bits of cooked egg. This is my little secret for smooth custard!

Whisk in the heavy cream and allow to come to room temperature. Then cover with kitchen wrap and refigerate for at least 2 hours.

You can also chill the base overnight if you want. When you are ready, add it to your ice cream machine and let the mixture firm up.

Then in a blender I will quickly pulse up my strawberries, so there are still chunks of noticable berries, and then fold this into the ice cream base. Serve soft or spoon into a freezer safe container and chill to harden.

Custard Style Strawberry Ice Cream

You Will Need:

  • 1 1/2 c. half-and-half
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla bean paste
  • 9 egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/2 lb. strawberries, washed and hulled 

In a medium saucepan combine the half-and-half, sugar and vanilla bean paste. Bring it up just below a simmer. The mixture should be hot and the sugar should be dissolved, but it should not be bubbling.

In a separate bowl whisk together the egg yolks till frothy and slighty lighter in color.

Then temper the yolks by slowly pouring in a little of the hot milk mixture into the eggs while whisking constantly. Keep adding and whisking until the eggs are warmed through. Pour this through a fine sieve to remove any cooked peices of egg before adding back into the saucepan.

Bring the mixture up to a simmer to thicken. Keep whisking to prevent scalding. It is done when the mixture will evenly coat the back of a spoon.

Take off the heat and transfer to a bowl. Whisk in the heavy cream and allow to cool before chilling in the refigerator. Chill for at least 2 hours and then add to your ice cream machine according to manufacturer instructions.

Pulse up your strawberries to break them up, but do not puree. Fold these into your ice cream and serve immediately or transfer to a container to freeze until hardened.


...and Happy Mother's Day! I hope your day was as sweet as mine.
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