It’s been exactly one whole year since my cookbook, Cookies & Cream: Hundreds of Ways to Make the Perfect Ice Cream Sandwich came out. That is absolute insanity to me. So much work went into that book and I’ve made enough ice cream recipes to last a lifetime. After I submitted my manuscript I didn’t make ice cream for MONTHS. I was a little burned out. There’s 50 ice cream recipes in there, and I tested each recipe multiple times. Then I wrote endlessly about the subject. It was a lot of ice cream and I recently realized that I haven’t shared much ice cream goodness here on the blog since.
What better way to celebrate the 1 year anniversary than with a video showing you exactly how I like to make ice cream?? In the video I show you how to make a French-style custard based ice cream from scratch. The flavor is Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream, and I’ve heard from taste testers that it’s the best strawberry ice cream they’ve tasted. Get your cream and sugar out get started on your own batch of homemade ice cream!
Below the video are some additional tips that will be especially helpful if you’ve never made ice cream or even custard before. Don’t let them overwhelm you! Ice cream really doesn’t need to be complicated, but following the instructions will make you MUCH more likely to succeed.
Homemade Ice Cream Tips:
- Do not substitute low-fat dairy products in this recipe. The fat in the cream and whole milk help give the ice cream its luxurious smooth and soft texture. Low fat dairy combined with the water in the strawberries will likely turn your ice cream rock hard and icy.
- Same goes for the sugar. The sugar, fat, and vodka all help keep the ice cream soft. You may omit the vodka if necessary, just be sure to store the ice cream in a super airtight container. If it becomes somewhat hard, let it sit at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before scooping.
- Prepare the ice bath before you cook the custard so that you can immediately remove it from the heat and strain it into the ice bath. This stops the cooking process, preventing the custard from becoming overcooked. Overcooked custard will curdle.
- Be careful when tempering the egg yolks. Whisk constantly as you slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the beaten yolks. This process allows you to gently heat the yolks so you don’t scramble them and end up with chunky ice cream.
- For best results, use an instant-read thermometer to cook the custard to 175°F, or until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. If the mix is off by a couple of degrees, that’s fine. Whatever you do, do not stop stirring and do not let it boil.
- Chill the custard really well. It should be about 40°F before it goes into your ice cream maker. This can take about 4 hours, however it’s usually best to chill overnight. If the custard isn’t cold enough, it won’t churn into ice cream in the machine. Instead it will remain a soupy mess.
- Unless you have a self-freezing ice cream machine, make sure your ice cream machine’s freezer bowl is thoroughly chilled according to the manufacturer’s directions. If it’s not cold enough, you may end up with liquid even after 30 minutes of churning.
- Once the ice cream is churned, place it in an airtight container, pressing plastic wrap against the surface to avoid having any ice crystals form. For best results, freeze until it is firm, at least 2 hours. The longer you freeze the more time the flavors will have to ripen.
Taste: Roasting the strawberries in balsamic vinegar completely intensifies the flavor of the fruit and gives this ice cream and complex sweetness.
Texture: So rich, creamy, silky, and velvety with small chunks of strawberry throughout.
Ease: There are some steps involved that might freak you out, which is why I’ve included a video to you can see what everything looks like. It’s REALLY not difficult and you shouldn’t be remotely intimidated. The only thing with making homemade custard-based ice cream is that it is time consuming. You’ll probably want to start at least a day before you plan to serve. Luckily each major step can be done completely ahead of time.
Appearance: So gorgeous.
Pros: Better than any store-bought ice cream. Perfect way to impress your friends and family at your next BBQ or get together.
Cons: Not an everyday recipe.
Would I make this again? You don’t want to know how many times I’ve made this ice cream. Really. You don’t.
How to make Ice Cream
Yield: about 1 quart
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook: 7 hours
Roasting the strawberries low and slow in sugar and balsamic vinegar completely intensifies the flavor and is PERFECT in ice cream.
- 2 pints fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon vodka
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
Toss the strawberries with 1/4 cup sugar and the balsamic vinegar. Spread strawberries into one even layer on the prepared baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, or until the strawberries have darkened in color, are soft, and their juices have released. Transfer the strawberries to a medium bowl and mash until only small pieces of fruit remain. Cover and refrigerate the strawberries until chilled about 1 hour.
Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice cubes and a cup or two of water. Place a medium bowl fitted with a fine strainer inside ice bath.
In a medium saucepan combine the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, with the milk, cream, salt, and vanilla. Set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warm and begins to steam, about 5 minutes.
Whisk together the egg yolks until well-combined and pale in color. Carefully whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, until the egg mixture is warmed. Whisk the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepan. Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and registers around 175°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 5 to 7 minutes. Be careful not to boil the mixture.
Immediately strain the mixture through the fine strainer into the prepared ice bath. Cool the custard in the ice bath until it’s at room temperature, stirring often. Press plastic wrap against the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled, about 4 hours or up to 1 day.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. During the 5 last minutes of freezing, gradually add the roasted strawberries. During the last minute of freezing add the vodka. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container, press plastic wrap against the ice cream, and freeze until firm and flavor is ripened, at least 2 hours.
Recipe from Cookies & Cream by Tessa Arias
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