Friday, May 10, 2013

FRESH STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM (the BEST I've ever tasted)


Ooohhh, dear reader. I'm glad you're here. This ice cream is just... it's just... the best.

Strawberry season. Holy cow, strawberry season. It's my first strawberry season in California, and I'm beside myself. Most of the strawberries in the United States are actually grown in California and Florida, and in those places, there is basically only one month out of the year when they're not growing. And I count myself pretty lucky to have nice berries available practically all the time. But the peak of strawberry season here is in the spring - April, May, and June. Last week at the farmers' market, they were practically giving them away. Even Safeway had them $1/lb. recently.

Can you go wrong with fresh and local?

Not really.



But if you happen to have an ice cream maker, you can go ever so right. This recipe is actually adapted from a Cuisinart recipe (yes, that's my photo on the Cuisinart website), which came in a booklet with our electric ice cream maker.

The ice cream is light, sweet, and SO creamy. It freezes to the perfect consistency: not soft, but not at all too hard to scoop. And the strawberry flavor is so perfectly strong and fresh (best achieved by using fresh berries, of course).



My first memory of homemade ice cream is making it in a plastic bag in grade school. Did you do that? At home, I remember making ice cream with my family in something that looked like this:
We've come a long way since then! We received our electric ice cream maker as a wedding gift, and it took me a while to get it out and use it. I think my perception must have been tainted by that metal crank up there :) Anyway, it's super easy. And this recipe is one I can actually see making often.

Enjoy!


FRESH STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM (THE BEST)

Makes 14 servings (7 cups)
Adapted from this recipe. (Yes, that's my photo on the Cuisinart website.) Instructions are for a Cuisinart electric ice cream maker, adjust to your ice cream makers' instructions.

3 cups fresh sliced strawberries, stems removed
juice from one large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for at least 2 hours. Strain the berries, reserving juices. Purée the berries. In a medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on low speed to combine the milk and remaining granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream, reserved strawberry juice, mashed strawberries, and vanilla.

You can save this batter in the freezer overnight to make the next day.

Turn the ice cream maker on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 10 minutes before serving.


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