I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned it, but I love ice cream. I mean it: I LOVE ice cream. I like desserts in general, but there’s something special about the cold+sweet thing that ice cream has going on, especially when it’s nearing 100 degrees around here and I barely have the will to go on. Ambient temperature’s only part of, it, though; I even like ice cream when I’m visiting my mom in the chilly vistas of Washington state, where the geese are plentiful and a lovely produce stand down the road famously advertises their “IMMODEST ICE CREAM CONES” for all and sundry to enjoy. (They truly are, too. A single scoop is roughly the size of a baby’s head.)
Really, the one thing I like more than ice cream is homemade ice cream. I don’t make it nearly as often as I’d really like, mainly because the only ice cream maker we have in the house is this little fella, which is a cute novelty but which is kind of a pain in the ass for practical use. No, you don’t necessarily need a fancy-shmancy ice-cream maker to make ice cream, but the last time I tried making matcha frozen yogurt with just a bowl, the freezer, and a spatula for scraping? It took nearly four hours and my roommate and I watched the entire first series of Prime Suspect. I enjoyed watching Helen Mirren kick ass and take names, but I’d rather not repeat the experience if I can help it.
Despite my incessant whining, making ice cream really isn’t that hard, just (sometimes) time-consuming, and you can make it whether you’ve got a bowl and two hands, a silly ice-cream ball with a cracked side so that freezing salty ice-water gushes out every time you roll it, or a really top-of-the-line machine. I promise! Don’t let me scare you off. Plus, the results are almost invariably delicious and will wipe your mind of what an intense ice-cream making ordeal you’ve just been through.
All this to say: I made strawberry ice cream on Sunday. Following a David Lebovitz recipe, of course, because he’s only the frozen desserts master or whatever. Y’know. Perfect Scoop is a lovely cookbook that makes me want to make ice cream once a week for the rest of eternity and never look back.
I did break a cardinal Lebovitz rule by not following the directions to the letter, but what can I say? I’m a rebel. So instead of using a pound of fresh strawberries, I used roughly a pound (I couldn’t find my kitchen scale) of frozen ones, thawed overnight and then macerated with sugar so that they turned into the sweet, sweet strawberry soup you see here. Not viscera, I swear! We’ll cover viscera ice cream next time.
The strawberries and their liquid got thrown in the blender with some heavy cream, low-fat yogurt, and a squirt of lemon juice. The yogurt was supposed to be sour cream, but I opened up my ancient container of sour cream and bad, scary things happened, so I made the last-minute substitute with my fingers crossed.
That all got pulsed a few times until it was a nice pink Pepto-Bismol color. Pretty, ain’t it? I probably could have stood to pulse it fewer times; you’re supposed to end up with a mostly-smooth but still-somewhat-chunky liquid, and my liquid had no chunks at all, more’s the pity.
Man, what an appetizing word: chunk. Second only to loaf in its sheer delicious-sounding-ness.
Anyhow, the goop got poured into my prepped ice cream ball, and I sat through a couple of episodes of Eureka rocking the ice cream ball in pretty much the exact way you don’t want to rock a baby. But I kept spills of both icy water and ice-cream liquid to a minimum, and after about 30-45 minutes I scraped the semi-firm ice cream into a plastic tub and put it in the freezer to finish.
Et voila! Later that night we had our ice cream, sweet and creamy and strawberry-y and basically everything I wanted. The recipe did turn out slightly on the icy side, which I attribute to the low-fat yogurt; with ice cream, you really want to go full-fat as much as possible for a smoother final result. But still, it was good! Better than good, it was ice cream on a hot June night.
I’ve made a couple of recipes so far from Perfect Scoop, like peach, and Mexican chocolate, and raspberry sorbet (and a papaya sorbet that didn’t really turn out, although I think the fault of that lies with the original papaya); one of these days I’ll be a little more adventurous and try something like Roquefort and honey or coconut and saffron, but when the stone fruits finally hit our farmer’s market, you know where I’ll be.
No, the answer’s not on Jupiter, you ignoramuses. I mean, I’ll be in the kitchen, makin’ me some ice cream.
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Strawberry Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz’ recipe)
About 1.25 quarts
1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled (or ~1 pound frozen strawberries, thawed overnight, if you’re a scrub like me)
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.
Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the cream, yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth, but slightly chunky (there’s that word again).
Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Eat, and be happy.