Godzilla has captivated my attentions of late – goodness, but I love him – and I’ve gone to see him in the theatre three times. I’m not proud of it, but it had to be done. Trust me. That Olsen twit’s terrible acting is worth sitting through just for those few precious minutes in which Godzilla rears his massive, scaly head, and thunders around, roaring his Godzilla roar and being, well, just massive. He’s styled a bit Gothically this time around, which pleases me no end. Those evil moth-things are, I am convinced, a reboot of Mothra. Who else is chanting, “Mothraaaa”? You’d have to have seen the glorious camp that is all the old Godzilla movies to appreciate the reference.
My point is that the summer blockbusters have arrived, and I realised with a shock that it’s been more than two months since I’ve posted recipes. And I’ve been doing so much cooking and baking! It isn’t fair to you – because you miss out on goodness! – or to me, because, in the end, one blogs for oneself. More dramas have assailed my good ship-and-sea, and I really, really long for a long stretch of tranquility; the past year has been so unimaginably difficult. My inimitable mother passed away; mere months later, my beautiful, beautiful cat son – you know him as Beast Cat – also passed away; and there have been other things. As the Little River Band would say, it is SO time for a cool change. 🙂
And the hot weather means it’s time for ice cream! *squee* This ice cream recipe is my absolute favourite, ever, winning top place even against awesomeness like Ben & Jerry’s. No commercial strawberry ice cream can compare to this one. The strawberry flavour is strong, and I have boosted it with a little raspberry extract. This sounds weird, but the addition of raspberry extract winds up making the strawberry flavour even more intense than without the extract. (Using strawberry extract isn’t as noticeable. Raspberry extract appears to be stronger.) Sour cream adds a certain mild tanginess that accentuates the flavour of the berries, and also adds fat content that makes the ice cream very smooth and creamy. I know we’re all supposed to run screaming from the “F” word, but this is ice cream, damn it! Fat is necessary to achieve the thick, creamy texture that good ice cream should have.
You don’t need an ice cream maker to make your own ice cream. I know how counter-intuitive this may sound, but it’s true. Make your ice cream base (you may already know this, but I didn’t when I first started making ice cream: the ice cream base is the mixture you prepare for churning, and will, once frozen, be your actual ice cream), place it in a freezer-proof container with a tight-fitting lid, and stick it in the freezer. With a sturdy fork or spoon, stir the mixture vigorously every thirty minutes until firm and completely frozen. This method yields larger ice crystals than commercial ice cream makers, and as such, the texture won’t be as smooth as the texture a commercial ice cream maker can give, but you’ll still have delicious ice cream.
The higher the fat content of the dairy components, the better your ice cream will turn out using either method! I’ve taken to making ice cream with the organic cream made by a local creamery that features a very high fat content, somewhere in the 50 – 60% range. No joke – it has chunks of butter in it. I realise this isn’t an option for everyone (and that I sound like a complete yuppie – which I’m not, I swear! I don’t even shop at Anthropologie!), and I am quite grateful for the availability of such amazing cream. It’s incredibly expensive – $14 per quart – but homemade ice cream is a pretty rare treat at my house, so this cream is worth it in every way.
To raise the fat content of your cream, you can heat unsalted butter with the cream (or half-and-half), using 1 to 2 TBS of butter per cup of cream; if you’re especially brave, try a higher butter-to-cream ratio. This technique is sometimes used to make whipped cream richer and smoother. You can do this even with ice cream recipes that don’t require cooking egg yolks. Simply heat the butter with the cream (or half-and-half) on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, and once the butter is completely incorporated, set the mixture aside to cool completely, whisking occasionally to ensure a skin doesn’t form. Continue with your ice cream recipe as directed.
Make this strawberry ice cream, and calm yourself as your socks fly off! This is the best strawberry ice cream in the world. Even Godzilla would eat it. In fact, I dedicate this ice cream to Godzilla.
If you enjoyed reading this, click here to subscribe to my blog. That way, you’ll never miss a post!
Strawberry Ice Cream
Yield: About 1 1/2 generous pints
1 lb. strawberries, frozen* or fresh, rinsed & hulled
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. raspberry extract
1 cup sugar (add more to taste)
8 oz. sour cream
1 cup cream, half-and-half, or whole milk (the higher the fat content here, the smoother the consistency and the richer the taste of the finished product)
2 – 3 drops red food colouring, optional (I didn’t use any, and the finished ice cream is a gorgeous pale pink)
Place strawberries in a 1 1/2 or 2 quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan. Cook on low-medium low heat to help thaw, in the case of frozen strawberries, and to just generally release the berries’ juices. Mash with a wooden spoon while they cook so as to break down the berries and release more juice and flavour. Add the lemon juice and raspberry extract, and continue to warm the berries through. Once warmed through (and completely thawed, in the case of frozen berries), and consisting of mostly juice with the pulp from the squished berries, add the sugar and stir to dissolve. It’s okay if the mixture comes to a simmer, but the goal is to heat it through rather than to simmer or boil.
Strain the mixture into a medium bowl. You can skip the straining, thereby ensuring that the pulp will be in the finished product; I prefer a smooth texture for my ice cream, so I always strain the mixture at this stage. In any event, the mixture should wind up in a medium bowl. Taste the mixture to see if it needs more sugar; stir in any additional sugar until thoroughly incorporated. Keep in mind that the mixture, once frozen, will taste a little less sweet than it does at this point. I wound up using a total of 1 1/4 cups sugar, though I didn’t use organic strawberries. Organic strawberries not only impart a stronger flavour, they require less sugar.
Allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Whisk in the sour cream and the heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk. Whisk in food colouring, if using.
Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 2 – 3 hours or up to 3 days. When ready, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can place the mixture in the freezer (in a freezer-proof container with a tight-fitting lid) and beat with a sturdy fork or spoon every 30 minutes until the mixture is thoroughly frozen (and, thus, no longer “stirrable”). The results are not as creamy as those you achieve using a churn, but your final product will still be delectable!
Store in the freezer in a container with a tight-fitting lid. Ice cream is very sensitive to picking up any odours in your freezer, so don’t store your ice cream uncovered. This recipe, as it uses no preservatives, is best eaten within about 4 – 5 days after churning.
*If you’re going to freeze berries to use later, it is best to rinse and hull them before freezing. When they thaw, they’re a bit more squishy than if they’d never been frozen. Still, it’s quite possible to rinse and hull them after they are completely thawed. Pre-packaged strawberries are already hulled and rinsed, and will work just fine as they are.
Source: Heavily adapted from Annie’s Eats