I’ve been making a lot of ice cream lately. I guess my nesting instinct is to make sure we have enough dessert for a few weeks after the baby arrives… I’m still waiting to feel the urge to deep clean something in the house which I think is more common. I’m serious though. When we don’t have dessert we sometimes go to great lengths to get it. It’s dangerous always having dessert, yet we’ve figured out how to live by the “Everything in Moderation” mantra. It means we don’t eat a giant helping of whatever dessert we have and we exercise regularly. I also am a firm believer in making your own desserts so you can control the amount of sugar and quality of the ingredients used. Not forgetting you’re avoiding added chemicals, preservatives and dyes. You might feel a little bit less guilty for chomping up sweets when you make them in your own kitchen.
So why has it been ice cream? I can’t say exactly. Michael recently requested mint chocolate chip as the next flavor which I served with my Ruffle Cake and I made a double batch. The strawberry ice cream decision came from a combination of things. I had some strawberries in the fridge that needed to be used up before they got moldy. I also had some buttermilk and whole milk that I didn’t want to waste. Last week I had a conversation with some people about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream which I didn’t know existed in Chicago and led me to find their location and dig into the website. It’s about a 20 minute drive from our house and it’s probably a good thing to be a little far. Better to walk 25 minutes each way to Tastee Freeze than drive to Jeni’s when we’re feeling the need for sweets. When I looked up the website I clicked on flavors and there was a nice story on the Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream which sounded divine and also was a delicious answer for what to make with the leftover ingredients in my refrigerator.
The ice cream base is very easy to make. It doesn’t use egg yolks for a traditional custard but instead uses cornstarch and a little cream cheese to provide the silky thick texture. During the summer of 2012, I created an old fashioned vanilla ice cream using Jeni’s method and it was delicious. Less calories with the same texture = happy campers in our kitchen (or living room where we usually enjoy the ice cream). Don’t be skeptical about corn starch. The cooking time takes away the chance of tasting anything starchy and since Jeni’s is still in business (they ship all over the country) that should be the only sign of success you need.
The ice cream is deliciously tart thanks to the tiny bit of buttermilk in the recipe. The strawberry flavor comes through nicely and I’m glad I added a bit more puree than called for (see recipe notes below). Since we don’t need to start on this batch right away, I envision the ice cream on top of a perfect chocolate brownie. I just got the Tartine cookbook for my birthday and want to try out a new brownie recipe! In a perfect world we’d eat this ice cream while our tiny baby boy (we hope to meet him soon) sleeps quietly next to us. Please try not to burst my bubble while I daydream about our future together…. I know it’s not realistic but that is what makes it a dream. Let’s see how many more things I can bake before he makes his debut. I read in one of my books, Birthing from Within, that a good activity for early labor is baking chocolate chip cookies. The author knew exactly what I needed to hear and I am pretty sure I’ll try this if early labor begins in daylight. Wish us luck, he’s coming any day now.
Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
1 pint (16 oz) strawberries, stems removed
⅓ C sugar
3 T lemon juice
- Combine strawberries and sugar in a 8” pan and roast for about 8 minutes at 375˚F
- Remove From oven and let cool slightly
- Add strawberries and juice to food processor or blender with the lemon juice and process until smooth.
- If your blade happens to break midway through blending just go with it, fish out the broken part and keep blending until it is done.
- Pass the strawberries through a fine mesh sieve into a measuring cup.
For the Ice Cream Base:
1 ½ C whole milk divided
2 T cornstarch
2 oz cream cheese (4 T) room temperature
pinch of sea salt
1 ¼ C heavy cream
⅔ C sugar (next time I will use less, maybe trying ½ C first)
2 T light corn syrup
¼ C buttermilk
- In a small bowl combine 2T of the whole milk with the cornstarch and stir to dissolve.
- In a medium saucepan combine remaining whole milk, whipping cream, sugar and corn syrup and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and boil for 4 minutes, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and add in the cornstarch slurry slowly while whisking constantly. Return to a boil for one additional minute and stir constantly with a rubber spatula.
- While your milk is boiling, in a medium bowl whisk the cream cheese with the salt until smooth.
- When the cornstarch has thickened (after one minute), remove from heat and add a small amount of hot milk to the cream cheese. Whisk until smooth and then continue whisking while you add the remaining milk mix.
- Add 1 C of strawberry puree and the buttermilk and mix well. Note: Original recipe calls for ½ C strawberry puree but after tasting I decided I wanted more strawberry (strawberry puree should yield about 1 1/2 C).
- Transfer ice cream base to a large ziplock bag and submerge in a large bowl of ice water for at least 30 minutes until chilled. Squeeze it every now and then to move the cream base around so it chills evenly.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to your manufacturers instructions.
- Freeze in a plastic container until firm, about 4 hours.