With about a month left before summer is officially over, I am scrambling to make as many dishes utilizing what the season has to offer. Even though I'm much more of an autumn and winter fan, summer produce yields my favorite fruits to eat: watermelon, stone fruit, and berries. Although living in California allows me to eat some of these fruits year round, nothing compares to when these fruits are at their peak of ripeness.
The recipe I am giving you today was not what I had planned exactly. I was testing a roasted bourbon-peach sherbet and after a few trials, I ended up axing the recipe altogether. Alex gave his seal of approval, but from the process to the finished product, I came across a bunch of problems and in the end, I couldn't stand behind the recipe nor could I share it with you. Maybe I'll try it again next summer when I haven't reached my limit of purchasing peaches yet.
With that said, I want to be clear that today's ice cream recipe is no consolation prize, and in fact, I'm looking at the peach sherbet failure as a blessing in disguise. I realized that I hadn't shared my go-to vanilla ice cream recipe yet and instead of just giving you the recipe for that straight-up, I wanted to add something to it highlighting a summer ingredient. Enter: roasted strawberries.
Let me preface this by saying that growing up I never EVER cared for ice creams that didn't have some kind of chocolate element to them. Chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chocolate chip, cookies 'n cream... these were all my favorites. Flavors like pistachio, strawberry, cherry, or butter pecan, were all a no-go for me. Fortunately, I've outgrown my narrow-mindedness in the ice cream department, and can earnestly say that this roasted strawberry and vanilla ice cream is in my top 5 favorite flavors. Roasting the strawberries in honey and a bit of balsamic vinegar gives it such a unique flavor that isn't overpowering to the vanilla, and leaves you with a complete fresh taste. It's truly incredible.
I divided up the recipe so that if you 0nly want to make the vanilla ice cream, and trust me, you'll want to, the directions and ingredients are there for you. I've made this vanilla ice cream countless times and it's so creamy and refreshing that I will probably never bother trying to find another recipe. As for the roasted strawberries, there's one tip that I want to give: the larger you leave the roasted strawberries when cutting them before adding to the ice cream base, the bigger chance of them becoming icy when in placed in the freezer. As you can see in the pictures, I chose to leave the strawberries larger because I think it looks beautiful, and I personally wasn't phased by the texture of the berries. If you think that will bother you, simply puree the berries in a blender.
Roasted Strawberry and Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
Ingredients for Roasted Strawberries
1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and cut in half or quarters depending on size
3 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
Ingredients for Vanilla Ice Cream (adapted from David Lebovitz)
1 cup whole milk
2 cups heavy cream, divided
3/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
6 egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Make the strawberries:
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium size bowl, mix the strawberries, honey, and balsamic vinegar and transfer to the baking sheet, making sure to scrape out everything from the bowl.
Bake in the oven for about 35-40 minutes, stirring the strawberries once halfway through. The berries will appear well-cooked, a bit browned, and the juices will be bubbling.
Allow the berries to cool for about 15 minutes on the baking sheet. Using a knife or kitchen scissors, roughly cut up the berries so there will be bigger chunks in the ice cream. Transfer to a bowl, making sure to get all the juices from the parchment paper and chill completely until ready for the ice cream. Alternately, you can transfer the berries to a blender and purée them if you wish to have a smooth ice cream consistency.
Make the vanilla ice cream / strawberry vanilla ice cream
In a large bowl, add 1 cup of the heavy cream and set a strainer over the top (use a bowl that will be able to fit over an ice bath for later).
Warm the milk, 1 cup of heavy cream, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks together. Just as the milk mixture is beginning to simmer, gradually add some of it to the bowl of egg yolks, whisking constantly as to not scramble the eggs (this is called tempering). Once the egg yolk mixture temperature has raised, pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Stir constantly over medium-low heat until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spatula or spoon.
Pour the custard mixture over the strainer-lined bowl. Stir the custard in with the heavy cream that is already in the bowl and add in the vanilla extract. Let the ice cream base sit over an ice bath for about an hour before moving to the refrigerator. Chill for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
When ready to churn, mix the roasted strawberry mixture with the custard ice cream base. Add the lemon juice. Churn the ice cream in your maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Transfer the finished ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until solid. Enjoy!