Cooking, gardening, and coexisting with nature are funny things to think about as hobbies. They’re the mechanics of survival! But they can also be fun, and satisfying, and that’s what this weekly post is all about!
Hey out there! Summer is in full swing now, and a lot of people are searching for ways to beat the heat. Last week I wrote a little bit about Local Strawberries. This week, I’m going to share my recipe for strawberry ice cream! What could be better? Let’s go!
The Ice Cream Club
I have had an Ice Cream Machine for six years now. The Cuisinart Pure Indulgence model. Over that time, it has produced several hundred batches of ice cream and sorbet.
For a while I looked into selling it, but it was very complicated. You need a dairy license, for starters, and the ice cream needs to be made in a commissary kitchen at minimum. That plus all the logistics of transportation of frozen goods made it impossible for me. I’d have to go all in with my life, and that’s not happening.
Instead, I got myself a Foodsafe certification (which needs renewal now), and gave it away liberally to friends and coworkers. I worked for a Not-for-profit organization for a while, and ran what I called ‘The Ice Cream Club’. It involved me bringing ice cream to work, and the club members eating it. There was also a newsletter. It was very popular, and we had over 70 members at peak.
Bringing ice cream to work gave me a steady stream of feedback, and tested the logistics of transportation nicely. I learned a lot, and made a lot of people happy.
I tried for a while to run a website, but it was really tricky, mostly because there isn’t a lot of variation when making ice cream.
While I could come up with a cool new flavour every week, most of the recipe and process would be the same. There’s minimal innovation to show off other than trying flavours. I tried doing photos, but it’s the same thing. I’d rather just make the ice cream rather than stress out over how many ways I could present it.
And in real life, a lot of people are happy with a few simple flavours over and over, like cookies’n’cream.
The Basic Recipe
So this all leads to what I call ‘The Basic Recipe’. It will make a batch of vanilla ice cream that’s easy to modify and add to. I’ve changed it a bit over the years, but this is what I do currently.
For best results, read the whole thing before getting started. This recipe needs a couple of days to do right.
2 cup whole milk (3%)
2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream, 33%)
1/2 cup white refined sugar
3 egg yolks (separated from the whites)
1 tsp vanilla (or other extract*)
Heat the milk, cream and sugar together on low-medium heat on the stovetop. Keep an eye on it, because dairy products can burn easily. Stir it often to incorporate the sugar evenly.
When the mixture begins to steam, beat the egg yolks gently in a small bowl, and use small amounts of the liquid mixture to ‘temper’ them. This means to mix small amounts of the warm liquid into the yolks, a little at a time, to bring them up to a similar temperature without cooking them into scrambled eggs.
When the yolks are well mixed with warm milk/cream/sugar mixture, slowly pour them back into the pot while stirring. If you have a bunch of eggy lumps, you’ve raised the heat on the eggs too quick. You can strain them out, but your mix might have an eggy taste going forward. It’s best to go slow.
Keep the heat on the mix and stir it often. I do this for about 10 minutes, to make sure the yolks are cooked enough to be safe to eat, and to thicken the mix a bit. You can use a kitchen thermometer, and the number you want is 180F.
Let the mixture cool a bit, then pour it into a sealable container like a tupperware. I also use a strainer, because there’s often a few bits of cooked egg white that stuck to my yolks. They’re harmless, but can create a weird texture in ice cream.
Stir your extract into the mixture, then seal your container and refrigerate over night. If you don’t completely chill the mix before churning it in the machine, it won’t freeze right.
The next day, churn the mix in the ice cream machine. When it’s nice and thicky and creamy, scoop it out into a large bowl and fold in your strawberry coulis, then portion into containers and freeze.
Oh what, I didn’t mention the coulis? Oh yeah. You need to make a coulis. That’s a fruit sauce, kind of like a loose jam. You say it ‘Coo-Lee’.
Like the mix, you need to make it in advance and chill it. It’s very simple.
Strawberries – about 1 cup
White sugar – about a 1/4 cup
Lemon juice – a dash (optional)
These ingredients aren’t too specific. I usually make a bigger batch using however many strawberries I have available, then dump some sugar in. You can use frozen fruit if you like. No water is needed for this.
The lemon juice won’t add much flavour, but it will add a little tang, and activate the pectin in the strawberries, to give the coulis a more jammy texture.
Wash and slice up the strawberries, removing all the green and hard bits from the tops.
Heat the berries and sugar (and lemon) on the stovetop at medium low, until the strawberries are soft and well cooked. Then let them cool a bit, and blend them up with a hand blender. You can also mash them with a potato masher or wooden spoon, but it’ll be rustic.
Seal up the coulis and stash it in the fridge. Resist eating it with a spoon while standing next to the open fridge door.
This can easily be done with other berries, and you can totally add mix and match them. Adding herbs works well also, and if you used lemon juice from a lemon, the zest is really nice too.
Want to change your ice cream base from vanilla to lemon? Use lemon extract. It’s incredible. Similarly, you can use orange, pandan, mint, almond and ube extracts, and any others you can find. I’ve also used liqueurs, including root beer schnapps, though the flavour is less pronounced.
You can also use a real vanilla bean, though you might save those specifically for vanilla ice cream. I never recommend artificial vanilla, but it does the job, especially if your additions steal the show anyway.
Want to make cookies’n’cream? Break up a bunch of sandwich cookies into the ice cream base instead of the strawberry coulis.
That’s plenty for this week! Let me know in the comments if you want more ice cream info, recipes, ideas and such, and we’ll see you next week for a close look at the garden, especially potato bags!
Thanks for Reading!