This strawberry ice cream is pure and simple, fully brought to "fruition" with every step ~ sometimes there are no short-cuts to pure joy. The eggs and sugar keep the ice cream creamy, and the technique of macerating the strawberries keeps the fruit pieces chewable when frozen. I made this in honor of Audrey Hepburn's birthday this year, as strawberry ice cream is a sweet reminder to "think pink"! —nlog2n
Macerated Strawberry Pieces
fresh strawberries (cleaned, hulled, air-dired, sliced and finely chopped into little pieces)
freshly squeezed Meyer lemon or Valencia orange juice
sweet liqueur (such as orange liqueur, Frangelico or Creme de Casis) or rum, port or ice wine (optional)
To make the macerated strawberries, mix together the strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 Tbsp. lemon or orange juice and 1 Tbsp. liqueur (if using any) in a large bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (preferably overnight). Keep chilled until ready to churn with the vanilla custard base.
To make the vanilla custard base, beat the eggs for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and airy and pale yellow. Whisk in 1/2 cup of sugar and the vanilla extract and beat for another minute or two. Set aside at room temperature.
Combine the heavy cream, whole milk and 1/4 cup of sugar in a clean, dry saucepan. Heat on medium, whisking from time to time, dissolving the sugar, until the cream mixture just reaches 175 deg F (or barely simmering).
Remove the saucepan from heat and add a tiny stream of the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture while whisking the egg mixture quickly and continuously, until about 1/4 cup of the hot cream mixture has been incorporated into the egg mixture.
Gradually return all of the warmed egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan containing the remaining cream mixture, whisking the cream mixture quickly and continuously.
Return the saucepan to medium heat, whisking continuously, until the custard mixture just reaches 180 deg F (barely boiling). Immediately remove from heat and give the custard mixture another few good whisks.
Strain the custard mixture through a fine sieve (lined with cheesecloth if you want) into a large mixing bowl. Allow the custard mixture to cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight). Prepare your ice cream maker if you need to pre-freeze the canister.
When you are ready to churn the ice cream, drain the macerated strawberries of their excess juices (the sugar and alcohol will have drawn out these excess juices from the strawberries) ~ this allows the strawberry pieces to take on a chewy consistency once frozen (instead of freezing like ice). You can reserve the excess juices to make little flavored ice cubes for cocktails. Add the drained strawberry pieces to the chilled custard and mix well. Refrigerate the strawberry custard mixture until your ice cream maker is all set up and ready to churn.
Set up the ice cream maker to start churning. Carefully and slowly add the chilled strawberry custard mixture into the canister through the opening in the lid. Churn for approximately 20 minutes, or until the texture of the mixture thickens into a soft-serve consistency.
Turn the machine off and unplug it (safety first!). Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, quickly transfer the ice cream into freezer-safe airtight container(s) and freeze for at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).
Serve scoops of the ice cream with slices of fresh strawberries.