If you have someone in your family who loves strawberries as much as my son and husband does, then this is a definite treat to make for that special person. This ice cream also freezes really well and thaws out to a nice scoopable creamy texture that is sure to please. All the elements work so sexily together. This is also amazingly simple to make and keeps well in the fridge so assembly is a breeze. I love having this on hand especially for nights when you have unexpected guests.
Roasting the strawberries improves the texture of the finished ice-cream tremendously. Strawberries are high in water content. By adding a sweetener and roasting them, we increase the density and remove the water from the berries which will prevent the fruits from freezing into undesirable, chunky ice cubes in the otherwise creamy icecream.
Snip the roasted strawberries into tiny chunks with a pair of scissors. I portion half out to churn with the icecream and save the other half for garnishing which enhances the strawberry-ness of the icecream.
Cook the custard base on low to medium heat and scrap constantly to prevent cooking the yolks and scrambling the custard. Use a thermometer to make sure the custard is heated to 160F and remove promptly from heat.
Most icecream recipes call for a bain marie ice bath where you prepare a large bowl with ice and place a second smaller bowl on the ice and pour the hot custard mixture through a strainer into the bowl sitting on ice to cool the custard down quickly.
When I was working in a Michelin-star restaurant in Cannes, South of France, my pastry chef taught us to place a cling film directly onto the warm custard, sealing it against any smells and odors and placing into the freezer for 30 mins for a quick cool down and move into refrigerator overnight until it is completely chilled. This prevents condensation from collecting under the film as well as brilliantly avoids a layer of skin from forming on the surface of the custard.
Use a medium to high grade balsamic vinegar for the drizzle. It really does taste different. I always tend to reduce my balsamic vinegar a little too much, so watch that you don't make the same mistake I do. Otherwise, the reduction will become too sticky and turn into a thick paste once it cools off and will not drizzle. 20 mins on the stove should do the trick for a 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar.
The ice-cream maker I have now is a 1 quart vintage from Krups and requires a really long (2 days!) pre-freezing time. If you don't make icecream frequently, then it works fine. But because Kevin goes through ice-cream like chickens going through chicken feed, I'm dying to upgrade soon, hopefully to this one, 2 quarts with zero pre-freezing!
I guarantee your strawberries-loving husband would be making noises you've never even heard before. Enjoy!
Roasted Strawberry Icecream with Balsamic Vinegar Drizzle
Makes 1 quart
2 pounds (900g) Fresh Strawberries
6 tablespoons Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
6-8 turns of black pepper
Ice Cream Custard
1 cup (250ml) Full Fat Lactaid Milk
1/2 cup (100g) Turbinado Raw Sugar
5 large Egg Yolks
1 3/4 cups Cold Heavy Cream
1/4 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction Drizzle
1/2 cup (100g) Balsamic Vinegar
2 tablespoons Maple Syrup
3-4 turns of black pepper
1. Prepare roasted strawberries. Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).
2. Hull the strawberries and cut them in quarters. In a wide shallow baking dish with high sides (one that will fit all the berries in a single layer, with space between them), toss the berries with the maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
3. Spread the berries across the bottom of the baking dish and roast, stirring once or twice during roasting, until they are well-cooked and the juices have thickened substantially, about 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, take a pair of scissors and snip the cooked berries into smaller pieces, directly in the pan. Scrape into a bowl and set aside.
(The berries can be prepared up to three days ahead, and refrigerated.)
4. To make the ice cream custard, heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan. While the milk is warming, set a strainer over the top of medium bowl.
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Gradually pour some of the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
6. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. Strain the custard into the medium bowl, add the vanilla extract and the cold heavy cream. Stir all together. Place a cling film onto custard making sure the cling film comes into contact with the surface of the custard. This is to prevent the custard from developing a layer of skin and condensation from collecting under the cling film. Refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
7. Make the balsamic vinegar reduction drizzle. Heat balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and pepper in a medium pot. Keep windows and fans on because the kitchen will smell like vinegar for a while. Cook the balsamic until it is reduced and looks thicker, about 20mins on medium heat. Don't over reduce it otherwise it will become too gooey and sticky and will crystalize when you drizzle over the icecream.
8. After the custard is completely chilled, mix half of the roasted strawberries with the ice cream custard, then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
9. Serve ice-cream with the roasted strawberries garnished on top and finish with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar reduction drizzle.
(Image credit: BunnyEatsMan; close-up photos of pre- and post-churning icecream by yours truly)