Is there anything more summer than strawberries? The little red jewels bursting with sweetness have always been one of the things I love most about this time of year. Maybe it’s because of everything I think of when I get a juicy bite…sticky picnic fingers at the park, standing over my grandma’s kitchen sink slicing them thin for shortcake, picking them warm off the vine in my parents backyard during summer break and now homemade ice cream, balsamic homemade ice cream to be exact. I had it for the first time a few years back when a specialty ice cream store in my neighborhood opened up and started enlightening me to all the creative ways to spin a cone. Normally I would just make a special trip to get a scoop in my hood but all forces aligned when I scored a ton of fresh berries from the market, my girlfriend was coming to town to stay for a few days and my husband kept teasing me that our ice cream maker has officially never been used (not true, it had been used twice since we’ve know each other!, but ok, I get it). I found the recipe below from trusted foodie, David Lebowitz, and panicked. Strawberry MISO ice cream!? Every part of my foodie heart wanted to give it a go, but I chickened out at the last minute and opted for vinegar because I knew it would be a hit. And it was. If you have an ice cream maker go ahead and dust it off to give this a try, you won’t regret it. And next time, miso, for sure.
Balsamic and Cracked Black Pepper Strawberry Ice Cream, recipe courtesy of David Lebowitz
You can make the strawberries up to three days ahead of time and the ice cream base up to a day ahead, both highly suggested to split up the process.
For the roasted strawberries:
1 pound strawberries
3 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
a few turns of black pepper (be generous, just trust me, wish I had done more)
For the ice cream custard:
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice into custard right before churning (I did a little less than a whole lemon)
BERRIES (can be made up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated, splitting up process made it so easy)
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. Clean and cut strawberries into quarters removing all green. 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 syrup or honey, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
3. Spread the berries across the bottom of the baking dish and roast on an upper rack of the oven, 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 and scrape into a bowl. Once cool, take a pair of scissors and snip the cooked berries into smaller pieces, directly in the bowl. At this point wrap and store if waiting to make ice cream.
ICE CREAM (I suggest measuring out all ingredients and setting up ice bath prior to starting this process so it is easy to execute, can be made the day before and refrigerated)
1. To make the ice cream custard, heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium or medium low heat.
2. While the milk is warming, make an ice bath by placing a bowl large enough to hold all the liquid being used in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water, making an ice bath. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl (see image for visial reference).
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and gradually pour some of the warm milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour…SLOWLY, little by little, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs! Scrape the warmed yolks and milk mixture back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula…don’t worry you will be able to tell. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool. Add the vanilla extract and refrigerate to chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.
5. To finish the ice cream, mix the roasted strawberries with the ice cream custard add a squeeze of lemon juice, then churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
6. You can add the ice cream you don’t eat in the first sitting to a freezer-safe air-tight container and keep in the freezer for 4-5 days. Enjoy!