ICE CREAM! How lovely a thought. No. How lovely a taste. Homemade ice cream is so decadent, so indulgent, yet so simple. All you need is milk, sugar, eggs, and your imagination.
Tonight, the stars shined on ruby red berries....sweet summer strawberries to be exact. I sliced the strawberries and let them become happy with sugar, fresh lemon zest, and a tad of lemon juice. You can see how juicy the strawberries became with a little urging. I almost grabbed a spoon and said to heck with the ice cream. Thank goodness I restrained myself. The strawberry ice cream was meant to be churned.
There are different methods for churning ice cream at home. Ice cream is divided into two basic categories: custard-style (or French custard-style) and Philadelphia-style (or "American"). In the end, it really comes down to your personal preference. Custard ice cream is, as the name suggests, made from a custard base. Egg yolks or whole eggs are whisked together with hot milk or cream and sugar, and cooked gently until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Egg yolks are natural emulsifiers, and the resulting custard makes an ice cream that is remarkably smooth and rich. Philadelphia-style ice cream contains no egg yolks and does not require cooking. It's based purely on cream and sugar, and is very delicate-tasting, with so few ingredients.
This recipe is the best of both worlds. It actually contains eggs, but no cooking. You basically use a whisk and whip the daylights out of the eggs. I mean whip the daylights... At first they become frothy, but the more you whip - and yes, your arm will feel like it is going to fall off - the eggs turn into this beautiful thick cream. Once the sugar is incorporated it resembles a pastry cream. It adds so much depth and creaminess to the churned ice cream. It is, by far, my favorite method of making ice cream. And don't forget your bonus, you can get a workout in the process. Does that mean I get seconds?
Fresh Strawberry Ice-Cream
Sweet Cream Base
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup milk
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/3 cup sugar
juice from 1/2 lemon
zest from 1 lemon
Combine strawberries, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1/3 cup sugar. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Once the strawberries have macerated, remove about 1/2 cup and chop in a food processor or blender. This adds a nice thickness to the strawberries and turns the ice cream a pretty shade of pink.
Prepare the sweet cream base. Whisk eggs vigorously in a bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Slowly whisk in the sugar and continue whisking for 2-3 minutes longer. The eggs will become thick and creamy, almost resembling a pastry cream. Add the cream and milk, stir until fully combined. Add the strawberry mixture into the sweet cream base. Pour into an ice-cream maker and churn according to manufacturers instructions. I have a small Cuisinart ice-cream maker which works great.