It’s Valentine’s Day, my favorite annual holiday and time for me to make strawberry ice cream again! We’re taking a low-key approach to the day, like we always do, with no gifts and just a dinner at our favorite neighborhood sushi place, but I had to continue my streak—this is the 4th year!—of making him strawberry ice cream.
Year 1, the year of Neapolitan, was the most transcendent strawberry ice cream ever. I decided to make him strawberry in all subsequent years—no need for the chocolate or vanilla.
Year 2, I followed the same recipe, but it just wasn’t as good. I could detect small ice crystals in the finished ice cream, and that ruined the texture. The taste was still stellar, but something about the process wasn’t working.
Year 3, I tried to solve the icy problem by allowing the entire base to chill thoroughly before I put it in the maker. I made the base (tasty!) and let it sit in the fridge overnight. But alas, the ice cream still had an iciness. WHY.
Year 4. This year. Last week I talked with my gastronomical friend Peter (husband of the Hungry Knitter, Lauren) about it and he suggested the sugar content was too high, not that temperature was an issue. Hmmm. So this year, I didn’t just blindly follow the recipe. In fact, I flat-out ignored some of its quantities. And the result? Rich, creamy, silky smooth ice cream. It is perfection on a spoon. We are going to enjoy this tonight!
1 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
Get the freezer bowl good ‘n’ frozen—I tend to leave one in the freezer at all times, but give it at least 3 days to fully freeze. No sloshing inside it at all if you shake it! Leave it in the freezer while you prep (get it out only at the very last moment!).
Toss the strawberries with the 1/3 cup sugar and lemon juice and refrigerate for a few hours (at least 2).
Beat the eggs until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. I do this by hand and count it as my workout for the day. Add the 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, a little at a time, until fully incorporated. Beat for 1 minute more. Add the cream and milk.
Get the strawberries out of the fridge and puree to a chunky consistency (I use a stick blender). Add to the cream base. Ladle into the ice cream maker (I have this one by Cuisinart) until the freezer bowl is just 3/4 full. I think pouring all of it in overwhelms the bowl and reduces the temp too much, preventing the base from freezing evenly. I put the extra in a container and it’s in the fridge; I’ll make a separate batch later this week, once the bowl is refrozen.
Let your ice cream maker do its thing—mine’s thing is 20 minutes of churning—and then transfer to a container and put in the freezer to freeze fully. Enjoy!