Brown Sugar Strawberry Ice Cream

With the weather finally warming up and the sun coming out, it’s officially the start of ice cream season! I’m lucky enough to have access to a kitchen aid ice cream attachment but I also realize that ice cream makers aren’t always a household staple.  And for that reason I tested out an ice cream maker free recipe!  However before I explain that, I’m going to give a little background about ice cream.

The recipe that I created and the type of ice cream that I enjoy making is a French style ice cream, meaning it has egg yolks in.  The egg yolks get gently cooked and result in a creamier and richer ice cream.  Another common ice cream style is American ice cream which doesn’t have egg in the base, resulting in a lighter ice cream.

Why does ice cream need to be churned?  Churning incorporates air into the ice cream, by doing this the volume of the base increases.  This increase is known as overrun.  Specialty ice cream such as Haagen Dazs has a lower overrun (less than 25%) compared to lower quality ice cream like Breyer’s where the overrun can be over 90%.  That’s why a half gallon of Breyer’s feels so light, it’s mostly air!

Churning the ice cream base also has another effect on the final product.  The constant agitation from an ice cream maker makes the water in the ice cream freeze into smaller ice crystals.  Have you ever had ice cream that had melted and then refroze?  It was a solid chunk of milky ice, right?  That’s why ice cream should be churned, so when it freezes it’s creamier and not an ice chunk.

Enough with the food science talk, let’s get to the recipes! Today when I made my Brown Sugar Strawberry ice cream I used the same recipe, but using two different methods.  My first batch was more traditional. I made a custard base, mixed in the strawberries, cooled it down then added it into my kitchen aid ice cream maker attachment.  It mixed for 25 minutes and then it was suddenly a strawberry soft serve!  I couldn’t resist a spoonful before transferring it into a container and throwing it into the freezer to harden further.

For my second batch I used a technique I found through the website “Serious Eats”.  This batch was my no-churn ice cream!  As the recipe will show the ingredients were identical but the procedures were not!  Bear with me as I sum this up.  The ice cream base is made almost the same way, except the heavy cream is saved for the end.  After the base has cooled with the strawberries in it, half of the heavy cream is made into whipped cream.  I folded the whipped cream into the cold ice cream base and then…. (just hear me out at this part) the base is poured into ice cube trays!  I know I just wrote half this blog post about why you need to churn ice cream and I just told you to throw that sucker into an ice cube tray no churning necessary.  But here’s the hack: ice cube trays only hold a few tablespoons of liquid, so they will freeze faster.  Faster freezing and there will be wayyy less ice crystal growth compared to leaving all the base in one container and freezing it into a block of milky ice.  But wait, there’s more to this method!  Yes this way had a longer wait time, the ice cream needs to be in the ice cube trays for 3-4 hours.  After the ice cream has firmed up and is now a solid ice cube of ice cream, add it to a food processor (or split it in half and add it to a blender).  Pour in the other half of the heavy cream, mix it and voila! you have a no churn ice cream!  This method also has a very very low overrun so it’s extremely creamy!

And now the recipe! (this ice cream can be made with equal parts regular sugar too)

BROWN SUGAR STRAWBERRY ICE CREAM

  • 1 1/2 cups strawberries, finely chopped (or run through the food processor)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (divided)
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream (if using method 2, may need to add more heavy cream)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Method 1 (the Ice Cream Maker way)

  1. Combine finely chopped strawberries with lemon juice and 1/8 cup of the brown sugar.  Mix together and set aside until later.
  2. In a medium bowl add the remainder of the brown sugar, sea salt and the egg yolks.  Using a whisk, mix together until light in color.
  3. In a saucepan add the heavy cream and whole milk.  Bring to a simmer, turn off the heat. Gently and slowly pour a trickle of hot cream mixture into egg and sugar mixture.  Continue to whisk and slowly pour all the hot cream into the bowl.  Pour the now combined cream and egg mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Over LOW heat using a spatula constantly stir the cream.  You are trying to get the mixture to lightly cover the spatula (or traditionally cover the back of a wooden spoon).  Be careful not to curdle the eggs! This should only take 2-3 or so minutes and it’s OK if the custard seems very loose.icecream1
  5. If you did curdle the egg yolks then use a strainer and strain the mixture into a bowl.  If you didn’t curdle the egg yolks then just pour it into a bowl.  Add the strawberry mixture that was set aside and vanilla extract into the custard and mix together.
  6. Place the bowl in an ice water bath (using a bigger bowl fill with ice cubes and add cold water to fill in the gaps) and allow mixture to cool, about 20 minutes (occasionally stir the custard).
  7. While ice cream base is cooling put together the ice cream maker!  (Make sure you froze the bowl beforehand!)
  8. Pour the cooled custard into the bowl of the ice cream maker and turn it on!  Let it churn the ice cream until it is soft serve consistency.  (My kitchen aid ice cream maker was ready in 25 minutes.)
  9. Put the ice cream into a container and freeze until hardened, about 2 hours!
  10. Scoop into cones or cups and enjoy! You did it, you made strawberry ice cream!

 

Method 2 (the Non-Ice Cream Maker way)

  1. Combine finely chopped strawberries with lemon juice and 1/8 cup of the brown sugar.  Mix together and set aside until later.
  2. In a medium bowl add the remainder of the brown sugar, sea salt and the egg yolks.  Using a whisk, mix together until light in color.
  3. In a saucepan add whole milk.  Bring to a simmer, turn off heat.  Gently and slowly pour a trickle of hot milk mixture into egg and sugar mixture.  Continue to whisk and slowly pour all the hot milk into the bowl.  Pour the now combined milk and egg mixture back into the saucepan.
  4. Over LOW heat using a spatula constantly stir the milk mixture.  You are trying to get the mixture to lightly cover the spatula (or traditionally cover the back of a wooden spoon).  Be careful not to curdle the eggs! This should only take 2-3 or so minutes and it’s OK if the custard seems very loose.
  5. If you did curdle the egg yolks then use a strainer to strain the mixture into a bowl.  If you didn’t curdle the egg yolks then just pour it into a bowl.  Add the strawberry mixture that was set aside and vanilla extract into the custard and mix together.
  6. Place the bowl in an ice water bath (using a bigger bowl fill with ice cubes and add water to fill in the gaps) and allow mixture to cool, about 20 minutes (occasionally stir the custard).
  7. While the custard is cooling put half of the heavy cream in a bowl and mix until you have a medium peak whipped cream.
  8. When the ice cream base is COLD (must be cold for this step) fold the whipped cream into it.
  9. Gently pour the custard into clean ice cube trays (about 3 total ice cube trays will be needed).  Place in freezer for 4 hours or until completely frozen. You can test by poking with a knife.

icecream3

10. Once frozen, pop ice cream out into a food processor (I had to split it in half) and add the other half of the heavy cream.  Turn on the food processor and mix until soft serve consistency, this should take about 30 seconds.  Feel free to add more heavy cream if the food processor is getting clogged up. (You could also use a blender for this step if you don’t have a food processor).

11. Once mixed together, pour ice cream into a container and freeze until hardened, about 2 hours.

12. Scoop into cones or cups and enjoy! You did it, you made strawberry ice cream!

 

I hope you enjoy this creamy sweet Brown Sugar Strawberry ice cream!  If anything seems unclear or if you have any questions or comments feel free to ask them!

 

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