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Strawberry Ice Cream

Every June we make a pilgrimage to Thompson-Finch Farm in Ancram, New York. Growing organic strawberries is almost a religion there, and arriving on a hot morning to acres of glistening strawberries, I can’t help but fall to my knees and thank the God of summer. The girls dance and cheer around the perfect rows, stomping irreverently on the berries, staining their faces and clothes pink with the juice of the best fruit they’ve had since last year. Inevitably, I holler at them once or twice, “Respect the strawberries!”

We stuff our mouths full with strawberries warm from the sun, and then we fill flats to take with us to preserve. But by the time we get home, all I can think about is fresh strawberry ice cream, possibly one of the best foods there is.

The moment you bring strawberries such as those through the door, this is your recipe. It’ll take just a little while to throw together, and after a spell in the fridge—and in the churner—you will have your very own best strawberry ice cream. It’s a perfect mix of fruit and cream inspired by a recipe from Alice Waters’ classic The Art of Simple Food (Clarkson Potter, 2007).–Alana Chernila

LC Strawberry Fields Forever Note

Goes without saying, but we’ll say it anyways: The quality of the strawberries that you put into this ice cream will determine, in large part and no uncertain terms, the pleasure that you derive from it. It’s that simple. Kindly note, it’s not a cloying ice cream, deferring to the pleasing tartness of fresh, in-season strawberries, rather than a lot of sugar, for a pleasingly tempered sweetness. Shame The Beatles couldn’t have tasted this. We think they’d approve.

Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Makes about 1 quart

Ingredients

  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 pints fresh strawberries, rinsed, patted dry, and hulled
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons kirsch liqueur (optional)

Directions

  • 1. Whisk the egg yolks in a small bowl and set them aside for a moment.
  • 2. Place the half-and-half and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is hot and the sugar has dissolved, 5 to 8 minutes. Be careful not to let it boil.
  • 3. Whisk a little of the hot half-and-half mixture into the egg yolks to warm them. Then whisk the egg yolk mixture into the pot, which is still over medium heat, and continue to warm it, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula, until the mixture thickens and leaves a coating on the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Remove the pot from the heat.
  • 4. Place a sieve over a large heatproof bowl and pour the mixture through the sieve. Discard the solids. Stir the heavy cream into the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • 5. Place the strawberries in a large bowl and mash them slightly with a potato masher or the back of a fork until a coarse purée forms. Add the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, toss gently, and let the strawberries sit, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved and the strawberries have given up their juices, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • 6. Stir the strawberries and their luscious juice into the custard mixture along with the vanilla, salt, and kirsch, if using. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and preferably until chilled throughout, which will take much longer. (You can refrigerate the custard for up to 2 days.)
  • 7. Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions. Consume immediately or, if you can withstand temptation, transfer it to a resealable container and freeze a little longer to give it that sturdy, old-fashioned ice cream stiffness. You may wish to let it soften a few minutes at room temperature prior to scooping to allow the chunks of berries to thaw slightly. (Impatience will be rewarded with brain freeze upon biting into an icy chunk of strawberry.)
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