Monday, September 26, 2011

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

A couple of weeks ago, I had a ton of fresh strawberries in my fridge to use and had no idea what to make with them. Of course I could make bread or muffins with them, but I make breads all the time and I wanted to do something different. I could make a smoothie, but I make those a lot and have a stash in my freezer to make smoothies with. After looking through a few cookbooks, it finally came to me - fresh, homemade strawberry ice cream! I already had half and half and cream in the fridge from another recipe, so this was perfect.

This recipe starts out with a simple tart, yet sweet strawberry puree that I have used in recipes before. Specifically the recipe here, strawberry champagne cupcakes. You can find the recipe there. Even better, this puree is great for topping your ice cream with, on pancakes, or by the spoon full.  I now just realized it would probably be good in cocktails too. Ooh, yum. It also freezes well, so if you have a ton of berries, make a big batch and freeze it for later!

The recipe is super easy to make, but there are a few steps. First, you start by making the custard. Trust me, this is easier then it sounds and it makes the ice cream so rich and creamy. You whisk the yolks in a stand mixer (or by using a hand mixer) until they are light and fluffy. Then, you heat up the half and half. Slowly add the warmed milk to the yolks and then transfer over to a double boiler (see picture below) and cook until the mixture is nice and thick. This takes about 10 minutes or so.  My tip for this step is to wear a pot holder while you are stirring the mixture - sometimes the steam comes out and burns the hands. Ouchy. Just make sure you keep stirring and don't stop until it's thick. No scrambled eggs wanted here. If you are worried you might have a few lumps, you can strain through a fine mesh strainer to catch anything. Don't worry, it's happened to me and this saves you from lumpies in your ice cream.

Once the custard has been made, add in the puree and make sure you cool the mixture until very cold. This will take a couple of hours at least, but if you can let it go overnight, that is even better. Just make sure it's cold. That's the most important thing. Let me tell you, this is worth the wait though. So fruity, so creamy and well worth the stomach ache after (hello lactose intolerance!). This would be the perfect dessert for a warm summer night, but you don't need a summer night to enjoy this one. It's a classic flavor that is always great to have on hand.

This custard is a great base to create your favorite flavor combination - cherry, blackberry, raspberry. Whatever fruit is in season, blend it up and swirl it in. Even better, top it off with some reserved puree for an extra boost of flavor on top. Delish!

only a few ingredients for this one


double boiler. If you have a glass bowl, you can use one. I only have metal and it gets hot, so be careful!

stirring that custard!

strawberries blending for puree

stirring the puree into the warm custard

ice cream churning and smelling so good!

Homemade Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream (

2 cups half-and-half
5 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup strawberry puree 


In a small saucepan, over medium-high heat, bring the half-and-half and the vanilla bean (if using) to the scalding point (the milk begins to foam up). Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Meanwhile in a stainless steel bowl beat the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (about two minutes). You can do this with a wire whisk or I like to use a stand mixer. Gradually pour the scalding half-and-half into the whipped egg yolk mixture, making sure you keep whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle. If any lumps do form, strain the mixture first before heating.

Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook until the custard thickens enough that it coats the back of a spoon (170 Degrees F). The term 'coat a spoon' is a technique used mainly as a way to test when an egg-based custard or sauce is done. A spoon, usually wooden, is placed in the custard and, when the spoon is raised, the film of custard on the back of the spoon will stay in place even when you draw a line with your finger through the middle of the custard. Immediately remove the custard from the heat and continue to stir the custard for a few minutes so it does not overcook. 

At this point stir in the vanilla extract if using. Stir in the strawberry sauce (puree). Cover and let cool to room temperature and then refrigerate the custard until it is completely cold (several hours but preferably overnight).   Transfer the cold custard to the chilled container of your ice cream machine and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Once made, transfer the ice cream to a chilled container and store in the freezer.  If the ice cream becomes too hard, place in the refrigerator until softened.

Scoop and enjoy!

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