Well, it continues to be hot here in the mid-Sierras. Yesterday it was 100 degrees outside at the 3200 foot elevation mark (where we live). That doesn’t happen very often and because of that, we don’t have air-conditioning in the Schmautzhaus. We have a whole house fan that cools things down at night and we have fans in all the rooms, but by around 3:00 the only thing the fans do is circulate the warm air. Looks like today is going to be more of the same. I have a photo shoot in Sacramento today or I would be headed to Tahoe. Monday Obie T. and I are going for sure.
I took Obie (poor hot dog) down to the creek at the bottom of our property so he could cool himself off a bit. He doesn’t get fully wet, but he does wade around and drink the water. We then walked down to the blackberry bushes to see what was happening there. There are a bunch of them, but it is just too hot to pick any berries. Blech! (If truth be known, I do not handle heat very well.) At least Obie T. was cool for a while.
So, it seemed like a perfect time to make some ice cream. Ice Cream has the power to overcome all kinds of weather and all kinds of bad and nasty moods. It brings people together. It makes people happy. Ice cream is magic.
Yes!Chef! found a very interesting recipe over at America’s Test Kitchen and he sent it to me via email. He knows that I’ve become rather obsessive about finding a good homemade ice cream that doesn’t require any cooking. This one does not only NOT require any cooking, it doesn’t even require an ice cream machine! We decided this would be a great recipe to try, so, Yes!Chef! went down to the little local grocery nearby and picked up some strawberries for my project.
Because strawberry season is mostly over, it’s difficult to find some great product. These strawberries did not look very pretty. And some of them were a little old and/or not quite ripe yet. But, they would do for the ice cream. Yes!Chef! prefers to get the best product possible in order to have the best results, so I think the ice cream might have been more flavorful if we had better product. But be that as it may, I plowed forward with the project. (I’m like that sometimes.) I wrote it on the Blackboard and when it’s written on the blackboard we make it so!
The recipe Y!C! sent me was from Cook’s Country (America’s Test Kitchen), which is one of Yes!Chef!’s favorite sources right now. It’s called Magic Strawberry Ice Cream. I’m not sure if it is magic, but I was amazed at the results.
The recipe has several unusual ingredients and methods, but there are only two steps and, although it requires two different processing machinery, it is quite simple and easy to follow. Get some strawberries, hull them, puree them, mix into some condensed sweetened milk and a few other ingredients. Whip up some cream and then combine the two. Freeze.
Here’s the recipe:
Makes 1 quart ice cream
You can use 6 ounces of thawed, frozen berries in place of fresh ones and bar white chocolate in place of the chips—chop it finely before melting it. If you plan to store the ice cream for more than a few days, place plastic wrap directly on its surface.
- 8 ounces strawberries, hulled (1 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
- 1 ounce white chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, chilled
- 1. Process strawberries in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds (puree should measure about ¾ cup). Microwave sweetened condensed milk, white chocolate chips, and vodka in large bowl until chocolate melts, about 1 minute, whisking halfway through cooking. Whisk in strawberry puree, vanilla, and salt.
- 2. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Whisk one-third of whipped cream into strawberry mixture, then gently fold in remaining whipped cream, 1 scoop at a time, until combined. Freeze in airtight container until firm, 6 hours or up to 2 weeks. Serve.
I thought long and hard about how I wanted to present the ice cream. I tried out some of my grandmother’s tea cups, some antique glassware that I have hanging around and some cute little bowls. But in the end, I chose the humble ice cream cone. It’s something everyone can relate to and most everyone has had experience with the simple cone.
I did use my grandmother’s pretty pink plate because it enhanced the color of the ice cream and just because I love this little plate.
And what did the ice cream taste like? Did it live up to its reputation? Here are my observations. It was surprisingly creamy and full of summery strawberry flavor. There were no frozen chunks of strawberry to crack your teeth or freeze your brain. It was cool and refreshing as ice cream should be and it, for the most part, mimicked the creamy style of ice cream that you get from the high end manufacturers at the grocery. The only downside I noticed was that the mouth feel was a bit too creamy. It coated my mouth a little too much with the fatty feel of the cream. That may have been my mistake because I over processed the cream a bit too much. It called for soft peaks and I whipped it to hard peaks because of some inattention to the process. (Fiddling with my camera set up.) I think I would try it again to see if less mixing would produce less of that mouth feel.
All in all, I would recommend it for the ease of producing and yumminess.