Last weekend my folks presented me with a container of fresh strawberries they picked up at an Amish Farmer’s Market. They were ruby red and absolutely gorgeous, in a not-from-the-supermarket way. Their shapes were slightly distorted, their sizes uneven, and yet, they smelled like pure strawberry, in a way Bonne Bell Lip Smackers can only wish for. The beauty of growing your own fruits and vegetables or buying local is that they have a certain ugly beauty, which is not an oxymoron at all. The Japanese call this gorgeous imperfection “Wabi-sabi” and it is what makes a piece of pottery (or fruit) special and clearly not mass produced.
My husband’s favorite ice cream is strawberry. In fact, it can be a point of frustration between us when we go to Convention Grill for dinner. We always split a malt, and it always has to be strawberry. Their malts, even a 1/2 order are fit for a family of 4, so I can never finish one on my own and prefer to share, but does it ALWAYS have to be strawberry? Yep, married for 20 years in August and that is what the man likes, so be it. When I saw the container of strawberries from the farmer’s market I knew instantly that I would use them in ice cream. The color was outrageous and they just begged to be dipped in cream, but not until I roasted them in a touch of balsamic to add even more character. I roasted them to concentrate the sugars and to get rid of the excess water content before mixing them in the vanilla custard ice cream base. This produced a more intense strawberry flavor and a much smoother, less icy consistency. I like to leave some chunks in my fruit ice cream to add texture and drive the favor home, but not if those chunks are hard as a rock. Roasting the fruit first created the perfect flavor and texture. I even made a malted milk shake for my husband with it, which was CRAZY good!
1 batch vanilla ice cream base – click here for recipe and step by step pictures
3/4 pound fresh strawberries
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar – preferably aged
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornsyrup
To roast the strawberries:
Toss the berries with the balsamic and sugar, lay them out on a Nonstick Silicone Mat covered baking sheet. Make sure you use one with sides, because the juices will over run the pan. Place the pan in the oven and turn it on to 300°F and slowly roast them until they have given up their juices and are kind of mushy looking. Their color will also be darker. This will take about 30 to 45 minutes depending on the size of the fruit.
Scoop the fruit and all of its sugars into a bowl. Add the cornsyrup to the fruit, it will add sweetness, but will keep the ice cream a silky smooth texture.
I like to use a potato masher to crush the berries, which leaves small chunks of fruit. If you prefer a smooth ice cream you can puree the berries with an immersion blender. Chill the berries until they are very cold.
Add the berries to the vanilla ice cream base and freeze according to your Ice Cream Maker‘s instructions.
While it is in the machine, place a bowl in the freezer to have ready to scoop the ice cream into. Once the ice cream is frozen to a soft-serve consistency, scoop it into the frozen bowl and place it in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up.
Scoop and eat it as it is or make it into a malted milk shake.
more Ice Cream posts:
Coffee Ice Cream – you will get addicted to this!