Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream
Time for a change of pace, my friendly readers. We’re still in the midst of the Rhubarb Fest in the SFTF kitchen, but I seem to have misplaced the cord I need to download the latest pictures from my camera (eek!) so we’ll dive into the drafts I was holding onto until after the pink-tinged wave of recipes had subsided. Don’t worry. We aren’t going to stray far from the theme of seasonal sweet treats using red-hued local produce. Indeed, Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream is a perfect companion for just about any rhubarb concoction.
I can think of very few things that are more delicious than the combination of juicy just-picked strawberries and cold rich cream. There’s something just downright luscious about it. Every year when strawberry season rolls around again, I hunt down a pick-your-own place and go a little crazy. It’s typically proven to be a rather expensive splurge, but it’s worth it. This year I planted dozens of alpine strawberry plants (Fragaria vesca ‘Semperflorens’) in my garden and in containers around my deck. They haven’t yet produced any fruit this year, though they do have plenty of flowers and buds presently. The glory of the smaller and sweeter alpine strawberry is that it fruits all summer long, not just in June like the more robust and common commercial strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa).
While I await the arrival of my first baby berry, I was happy to chunk up these local strawberries from the farmers market, freezing them with some thick and frothy raw cow’s milk that I brought back with me from my family’s dairy farm. I know that you all probably think of supporting your local farmers all the time by buying your vegetables and fruit from them. I would encourage you (even nearly beg you) to not forget to do the same with dairy farmers who are selling milk and cheese and even occasionally ice cream. Right now the small-to-mid-size family-run dairy farms of our nation are suffering horribly from a crippling price slump in the milk market. My brother, who is trying very hard to keep the farm that’s been in our family for five generations operating, tells me just the basic daily operations of farming are causing him to pretty much hemorrhage money. The only apparent salvation is to sell our farm’s milk (and maybe cheese too) to the public directly and hope that they are willing to buy from us instead of the supermarket. So, please, remember your local dairy farmers too when you’re making your purchases.
And once you’ve gotten some of that delicious farm fresh milk, be sure to make homemade ice cream pronto!! There’s nothing quite like it…a sweet and creamy summer dream to combat the current muggy heat.
Strawberry Vanilla Ice Cream
A Straight from the Farm Original
3/4 C. sugar
1 C. whole milk (raw if possible)
1/4 t. salt
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
3 egg yolk, lightly beaten
2 C. heavy cream
1 C. finely diced fresh strawberries
1/4 C. sugar
Combine sugar, milk, salt, and scraped vanilla bean and pods in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until the mixture just begins to steam and simmer. Place the egg yolks into a small bowl. Gradually stir in about 1/2 cup of the hot liquid to temper the eggs and return everything to the saucepan. Heat until thickened, about 5 minutes, but be careful not to boil. Remove from the heat, and pour into a chilled bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
Using a slotted spoon, fish out the vanilla pods from the chilled custard. Whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks and gently fold into the custard mixture. Pour into an ice cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Meanwhile, combine the diced strawberries with the remaining sugar and set aside.
When ice cream is done churning, scoop out into a container with a lid. Fold in the strawberries while ice cream is still soft. Cover container tightly and place in freezer to firm up, about 3-4 hours.
(makes 1 quart)