Friday, June 02, 2006

We all scream for it...

Unlike where you probably are, the strawberries up the road at Mr. Suprenant’s (the jam-maker) are not quite ready for us to pick yet due to some late, unseasonably cool weather. But we have lots of lovely berries in the markets that we can make do with in the meantime. And since we have now segued into a patch of warm weather (that’s what it’s like here: winter, winter, winter, more winter, late winter, later winter, still more late winter, then INSTANT SUMMER), it’s time to dust off the old ice cream machine and see what we can crank out (pun intended)! The flavor o’ the day is Strawberry Buttermilk as we had a pint of strawberries left from the rhubarb crisp that needed to be used and some leftover buttermilk from the magical Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Pie. Though I have heard of it and seen it on the Food Network and in cooking magazines, I had never tried to make ice cream with a buttermilk base before. I worried that it would be too tangy for my liking. Well, color me happy to be wrong! It is tangy, but delectably so…a perfect counterpoint to the sweet, summery berries. In fact, when I start making more fruit pies this summer, I think I will make some plain buttermilk ice cream as an accompaniment. Yum! In the meantime, I highly recommend that you give this recipe a try—give Breyer’s a run for their money (Lord knows they’ve taken enough of mine)!

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 pint of strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ cup sugar

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla (or preferably the seeds scraped from a vanilla bean or a teaspoon of vanilla paste)
pinch of salt
2 cups cream (for a lower fat option, you can use half-and-half)
1 cup buttermilk

Prepare the strawberries to your preference on the size of the pieces. Add the berries to a small bowl and sprinkle with the lemon juice and sugar. Stir gently and stick them in the fridge to macerate while you make the ice cream base.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs for about two minutes by hand until light and frothy. Add the sugar about a quarter cup at a time, and when it's all added, whisk for another minute by hand. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk until blended in. Switch to a spatula or spoon and gently stir in the cream and buttermilk until thoroughly blended together. Pour off the juicy syrup from the berries into the base and stir. (Return berries to the fridge.)

Add the cream base to the frozen canister of an electric ice cream machine (or the ice cream maker of your choice). Churn until the ice cream is about ¾ of the way frozen, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the strawberries from the fridge and add the berries and the rest of the juice to the ice cream. Continue to churn until completely frozen, another 5-10 minutes—until it’s the consistency of soft-serve. Eat immediately, or I prefer to transfer the soft ice cream to a large loaf pan lined with plastic wrap (thank you, Martha), and let it "ripen" for another two hours in the freezer before devouring.

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