Make Ahead

Strawberry-Fennel Ice Cream

June  4, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Makes about 5 cups
Author Notes

I haven't been very active on Food52 of late as I've been on a rather intense journey discovering the benefits of raw milk, lacto-fermentation and ancient grains—perhaps a bit out there for this crowd? But I came up with this recipe using raw cream, eggs straight from the farm, agave nectar and fennel pollen that tastes just like spring. The beautiful pink color comes from a puree of strawberries but there are also chunks of whole berry to add texture to the creamy base. - gluttonforlife —gluttonforlife

Test Kitchen Notes

You would think that the key ingredient in this ice cream would be the fragrant fennel pollen, but it's actually the agave nectar. It makes for a featherlight custard and a sweetness that recedes to the shadows, allowing all the attention fall on the berries. The fennel does its work, too, and we liked how gluttonforlife let it infuse the ice cream without overpowering it. If you can't get fennel pollen, don't sweat it -- just add ground anise seed or fennel seed in the same proportion. - A&M —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 13/4 cup heavy raw or organic cream
  • 3 fat strips of lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2/3 cup plus 3 tablespoons agave nectar, separated
  • 3 cups ripe strawberries, trimmed and halved
  • 1 cup strawberries, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. Combine cream, zest, fennel pollen and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest.
  2. Whisk eggs with 2/3 cup agave nectar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°. Do not boil!
  3. Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.
  4. While custard is chilling, purée strawberries with lemon juice and remaining 3 tablespoons agave nectar until smooth, then force through fine sieve to remove seeds (or not, this step is optional) into chilled custard. Stir purée into custard.
  5. Freeze in ice-cream maker. About ¾ of the way through (time varies depending on your machine), stir in strawberry chunks. Finish freezing, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Leilad
  • Sagegreen
  • AntoniaJames
  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • coffeefoodwrite

40 Reviews

Katie1 June 9, 2013
With fresh strawberries, yum!
Leilad June 8, 2013
Raw is the best.
cristinabeana July 4, 2011
This is a stellar recipe. I used fresh fennel pollen from my garden. To get the pollen pick the flowers from your fennel plant before the pollen gets blown from them. Be sure to leave about 5 to 6 inches of stem when cutting. Use a brown paper bag to shake out the pollen from the fennel flower by hitting it against the sides of your bag. Enjoy!
gluttonforlife July 6, 2011
Lucky you to have your own fennel pollen! I am now onto dill pollen which is great for pickles (among other uses).
PollenRanch January 14, 2011
Can we post some of your fennel recipes to our site? We would love to share these wonderful dishes with some of our fennel and dill clients. The more ideas, the better.
gluttonforlife February 2, 2011
Of course! If possible, please include a credit and link to my blog: Thank you!
Sagegreen June 22, 2010
Love your photos, too!
AntoniaJames June 21, 2010
A&M, what brand of agave nectar did you use when you tested this recipe? Thanks! ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian June 16, 2010
I made this wonderful ice cream yesterday and my husband, the unofficial ice cream expert, LOVED it. So did I. Thanks!!
gluttonforlife June 17, 2010
So glad it was a hit with you!
courtneycarlson June 10, 2010
Can you tell me more about fennel pollen--where do you find it?
gluttonforlife June 11, 2010
Here's a link where you can read about it and order some if you like:
G-Love June 10, 2010
I love this recipe, but not as much as I love gluttonforlife.
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010're just angling for more of that ice cream. ;-)
AntoniaJames June 10, 2010
Really interested in trying this, but it won't be with agave nectar. (See April 15 article in Huffington Post by Joseph Mercola . . . specifically, "Most agave 'nectar' or agave 'syrup' is nothing more than a laboratory-generated super-condensed fructose syrup, devoid of virtually all nutrient value, and offering you metabolic misfortune in its place.") Plan to use maple syrup instead; will report back. Sounds like there's something about agave nectar, however, that provides an advantage in maintaining the texture of the ice cream, so this will be interesting. Stay tuned . . . . ;o)

thirschfeld June 10, 2010
Hey AJ, this is a great recipe but if you dislike agave nectar you may want to try brown rice syrup. I don't know the research on it but I know it is neutral in flavor where as maple syrup is probably going to over power everything in this really nice recipe.
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
It's been pretty easy for me to find 100% pure agave made from the juice of the plant. An interesting alternative might be yacón syrup, although I see you're having a love affair with maple syrup. Hopefully, you're using grade B...
AntoniaJames June 10, 2010
Well, it's not really a love affair (and yes, it's Grade B). I find that maple syrup adds a mild sweetness, without a distinct flavor, in recipes where the other ingredients are themselves fairly flavorful. So it actually doesn't overpower the other flavors. What is the brand of agave nectar that you use? I'm not suggesting that they are all bad . . . but it does seem that the manufacturers of many are misleading the public into believing that the stuff they are making is actually good for you. The fact that the product is labeled "organic" apparently is not dispositive. ;o)
coffeefoodwrite June 10, 2010
Read the article -- interesting that he says "many" and "most companies" but states that agave when extracted correctly and organic is at or under the index for safe (for allowed fructose levels in the body daily). Will be interesting to see what further research comes up on this and if articles like these help to regulate the controls on natural food products so that companies like the ones that he is referring to are not able to cut an otherwise natural product with corn syrup and the like....
AntoniaJames June 10, 2010
Thirshfeld, I actually have some brown rice syrup, which I use on occasion in pecan pies. Ironically, it doesn't seem that neutral. I use both -- maple syrup and brown rice syrup -- in place of corn syrup in my favorite pecan pie recipe. I notice the brown rice syrup, but not the maple. ;o)
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
Just read the HuffPost piece. Sigh. I think the bottom line really is to limit all sweeteners, and especially those that undergo extensive processing. I cut out all sugars for over a month and I can't tell you how much my skin, digestion and mental clarity improved. I think I will stick to rapadura and maple syrup and raw honey, but only for an occasional treat. Thanks for the heads-up, AJ! Let me know how the ice cream turns out...
coffeefoodwrite June 10, 2010
Brown rice syrup -- have never tried that -- I am making some banana bread today and I think I will give it a shot....
coffeefoodwrite June 10, 2010
I like your research journey gfl! My kind of food...=)
Allison C. June 10, 2010
Love, love, love fennel pollen. I have some, too, and the ice cream maker is perpetually on the counter now (canister in the freezer). Love the surprising combo of fennel and strawberry. Genius. Good luck!
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
Thanks, all, for your support! I tried a version of this with milk instead of cream and yacón syrup instead of agave and it was really good, though you had to whizz it up in the food processor every time it came out of the freezer.
Jennifer A. June 10, 2010
I am going to try this out on some company over the weekend - cannot wait!
monkeymom June 10, 2010
This looks amazing. I have fennel pollen on hand and am loving it. Congrats on making the finals!
drbabs June 10, 2010
I'm so excited to have a new ice cream to try! Congratulations on being a finalist.
TheWimpyVegetarian June 10, 2010
I've been experimenting with ice creams that use something other than processed sugar for a few months and so love your use of agave nectar here. I'll definitely make this one this week it looks so interesting. Many congrats for being finalist this week!
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
I almost never use sugar any more unless it's rapadura; honey also works well and I've recently discovered yacón syrup...
TheWimpyVegetarian June 10, 2010
I've been using honey with great success, but I'm going to experiment with agave nectar next starting with your ice cream! Haven't seen yacon syrup, but will look for that too. Is it similar?
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
Yacón tastes something light a light molasses or a caramelized sugar. It's made from a tuber and is high in fructooligosacharides, which do not increase blood sugar.
thirschfeld June 10, 2010
Congrats! This looks really good. I have been wondering where you have been. Raw milk, lacto-fermentation and ancient grains aren't to far out for me. I actually am always looking for new recipes for lacto-fermentation. I have two 10 liter crocks for sauerkraut and pickles, make my own kimchi etc etc so post away.
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
Would love to see your recipe for pickles!
clintonhillbilly June 10, 2010
wow, what an idea! congrats!
NakedBeet June 10, 2010
Called it! ; )
gluttonforlife June 10, 2010
Clever girl!