Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream

Strawberry Balsamic Ice CreamBerry Different
When you ask most kids what their favorite ice cream flavor is, more often than not it will involve chocolate, and/or caramel, and some sort of add-in like marshmallows or Oreo cookies. My son always had a different answer. Don’t get me wrong, he would never refuse a scoop or three of something gooey and chocolatey. But, if you ask him was his favorite is, he will tell you it’s strawberry.

I like to do as much as possible with the summer produce that’s available. This includes making ice cream out of the best peak-of-ripeness fruits I can find. I am a peach lover. So, it goes without saying that I make peach ice cream at least once during the warm months. Sometimes I whip up a quart of cinnamon ice cream because it’s ridiculous melted on a warm slab peach pie.

Strawberry is the flavor I make most because I like to have it readily available in the freezer for craving emergencies. A “Rescue Ice Cream”, if you will. For the record, I use the phrase “rescue” a lot. I have a stash of “rescue” chocolate in my pantry for those times when nothing but chocolate will do. Alas, I have to constantly move my stash because others in my household freely “rescue’ themselves and they are like bloodhounds on the scent.

Most people think of strawberry ice cream as the sad, artificially-flavored third of the Neapolitan carton that only gets eaten because there are no other options. In fact, strawberry ice cream can be amazing if you use really good and ripe strawberries. Anything less will produce a lackluster finished product. This recipe for Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream is one of my favorites.

And, don’t be scared off by the addition of balsamic vinegar. You don’t really taste it in the ice cream. It’s purpose is to intensify the flavor of the strawberries for a fantastic summer treat.

Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream Recipe
Adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Bi-Rite Creamery
Yields 1 Quart

This is one strawberry ice cream recipe that you can use even if you have slightly out-of-season berries. The addition of the balsamic vinegar adds both complexity and some of the acidity that was lost from freezing the strawberries.

If you want a smoother ice cream, you can also strain the seeds out of the purée—or enjoy the crunch of the tiny seeds.

For the strawberry purée
1-1/2 pints (3 cups) strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
2-1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

For the base
5 egg yolks
1/2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups 1% or 2% milk
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

Make the strawberry purée
Combine the berries with the 2-1/2 tablespoons of sugar and 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar in a large skillet. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring frequently, until the strawberries are soft and the liquid they release has begun to reduce (about 6 to 8 minutes).

Allow the berries to cool slightly, then transfer them, and their juice, to a blender or food processor. Purée until smooth. Refrigerate.

Make the base
In a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks just enough to break them up. Then whisk in 1/4 up of the sugar. Set the bowl aside.

In a heavy stainless steel pan, stir together the cream, milk, salt, and the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar. Place the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture is barely simmering, reduce the heat to medium.

Carefully scoop out about 1/2 cup of the hot cream mixture and, while whisking the eggs continuously, slowly drizzle the cream into the bowl with the yolks.

Then using a heatproof spatula to stir the cream that is still on the stove, slowly drizzle the egg and cream mixture from the bowl back into the cream in the pan.

Continue to cook the egg and cream mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened. It will coat the back of a spatula and leave a clear mark when you run your finger across it (about 1 to 2 additional minutes).

Strain the base
Strain the base through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean container. Set the container into an ice bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the base occasionally until it is cool. Then cover the base with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Finish making the ice cream
Whisk the strawberry purée and the remaining 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar into the chilled base.

Freeze the ice cream
Freeze the ice cream in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream into the freezer.

You can enjoy your Strawberry Balsamic Ice Cream right away. Or, if you want a firmer ice cream, freeze it for at least four hours. If you find it has gotten two hard, you can leave it out on the counter for about ten minutes to soften.


Comments are closed.