Summer brings joy, delight and most of all, strawberries. I first planted strawberries last summer. Everyday, I would water, nurture and occasionally speak words of encouragement over the little plants. The green leaves stretched out to their fullest potential in order to soak up the suns rays. Before long, diminutive flowers appeared. One day, I peaked under the emerald leaves and there, like a ruby just waiting to be discovered, was my very first strawberry. Curiously, the berry was teeny, about the size of a marble, but the flavor was ten times as intense of any strawberry I have ever had the pleasure of devouring. The berry was crisp in texture and the flavor crowded my entire mouth. Imagine the most concentrated strawberry essence swirling and twirling around on your palate. Tart yet sweet, these gems packed a powerful punch. Not surprisingly, the berries never made it past the backyard. Any new ruby from the green treasure chest went directly from the plant to my ever-suspecting lips.
This year, however, I am sharing the strawberries with others. This recipe pairs beautiful berries and the eternal favorite summer dessert, ice cream.
Recipe: Makes 1 Quart
6 egg yolks
½ cup of sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
12 strawberries, hulled and quartered
In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan combine the heavy cream and the vanilla bean pod. Allow the cream and vanilla to heat just until it simmers. Add the hot cream in a steady stream to the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Over a double boiler, heat the ice cream base just until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Once the entire mixture has thickened, cover and place in the fridge until chilled.
In a glass-measuring cup, place half of the strawberries and the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Using a mulling tool (or any flat surface tool) smash the berries and the sugar together until the berries are juiced. Add the remaining strawberries and crush slightly. The strawberry mixture should measure to about ½ cup.
Using an ice cream maker, add the base to the ice cream machine. Once the mixture has thickened, add the strawberry mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the machine has finished, scoop the ice cream into a freezer proof container and freeze for at least 2 hours. Enjoy!