It’s the middle of July and in most places around the Northern Hemisphere, it’s hot.
And not just normally hot – the national forecast for the United States and Canada in the next five days is for above-average temperatures across the entire continent. How often does that happen???
Needless to say, cool treats are a welcome respite on a hot day and this strawberry ice cream will not disappoint.
Ice cream is certainly a perennial pleasure, but right now, when the strawberries are just coming into season where I live, it’s extra reason to make strawberry ice cream. As our family’s favorite comedians say whenever they hear the words “ice cream”: it’s delicious, delectable, and delightful!
Now, a quick note about the eggs in this recipe. As is usual in making a custard-base ice cream, I have included egg yolks. However, unlike a traditional custard-base, I have left the egg yolks raw. This is for three reasons:
1. Egg yolks are extremely nutritious – egg yolks contain caretenoids, essential fatty acids, Vitamins A, D, E, K, B6, and B12, calcium, iron, zinc, folic acid, and Omega-3 essential fatty acid DHA, just to name a few! However, these are minimized or negated when cooked, so I look for as many opportunities as possible to eat egg yolks raw, and ice cream is a brilliant foil for this purpose.
2. It’s quicker – MUCH quicker. Making a cooked custard takes a bit of time, as well as a bit of tinkering. It’s easy once you get the hang of it, but it always made making ice cream feel like a chore, so once I tried adding the raw egg yolks straight into the cream mixture and LOVED it, I tossed out cooked custard ice cream bases for good.
3. It’s lighter in texture, yet still full-flavored. While I ADORE custards in most forms – crème bruleé, crème caramel, and flan being just a few favorites – cooked custard bases for ice cream always felt too rich and heavy to me. By using the egg yolks raw, you still get the flavor of custard, yet lighter. Just right, I’d say.
One word about raw egg yolks, however – conventional, store-bought eggs absolutely should not be consumed raw, especially if you are pregnant or dealing with illness. If you are going to consume raw eggs, be sure to use only very fresh eggs from chickens that were raised on pasture, as this makes a vast difference both in nutrition and in safety.
If you are uncomfortable eating raw egg yolks or don’t have access to farm fresh eggs, feel free to skip the egg yolks altogether. You may absolutely make this without them – the cream mixture is delectable even on its own.
Strawberry Ice Cream
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/16th teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, very finely chopped (optional)
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
6-8 large strawberries, very finely chopped
1 tablespoon beet juice (optional)
Freeze your ice cream churn if necessary. Mine take a full 24 hours to freeze fully. If you don’t have an electric ice cream maker, you can certainly make this strawberry ice cream in a ball that you roll around the yard or an old-fashioned hand crank ice cream maker.
Whisk the egg yolks briefly in a large bowl until smooth. Add in the salt and the maple syrup and whisk again. Add the vanilla extract, chopped vanilla bean, the cream, and the milk. Whisk again until smooth.
Pour the cream mixture into the ice cream maker and process according to its instructions. In my electric machine, it takes about 30 minutes to become soft serve. When the ice cream has just started to firm up but while it’s still quite soft, add in the chopped strawberries and the beet juice, which turns the ice cream a lovely pale pink.
Serve as soft serve or scrape into a freezer container and freeze for at least three hours to firm up.
Store in the freezer for up to one week.