At the end of a long week, strawberry ice cream

I adore ice cream — so much so that I don't allow it in the house.

A pint of ice cream is just too tempting, so I make it only on special occasions and won't buy the stuff unless it's in single-serving form at my local ice cream parlor.

Ice cream in my freezer is dangerous. It calls, it beckons, it requires my immediate attention. I eat everything available (yes, the entire pint) and then go to bed, guilt-ridden and sure to weigh more in the morning.

A flat of strawberries proved to be a catalyst for change, however, and Thursday night was devoted to strawberry ice cream. A full quart of pink-hued, rosy-flecked deliciousness now sits in my freezer.

Ice cream recipes approach the subject in 2 different ways. The first type (my favorite) incorporates egg yolks into the mix; the second does not. Don't get me wrong — I will happily consume any ice cream — but the rich, full flavor provided by eggs is second to none, and custard-based ice creams are smoother to boot.

This could serve as an all-purpose vanilla ice cream recipe (minus the smashed berries), and can be altered to accommodate your favorite fruit. I turned to Alice Waters' The Art of Simple Food for guidance.

Strawberry Ice Cream
Adapted from The Art of Simple Food

Makes 1 quart

3 egg yolks
3/4 cup half and half
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream

2 pints strawberries
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

a few drops of vanilla extract
a squeeze of lemon juice
a pinch of salt

Whisk the egg yolks together in a small bowl.

Pour half-and-half and 1/2 cup sugar into a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan. When hot, temper with the yolks. Little bits of scrambled egg will turn up in your ice cream if you don't temper. 

To do this, slowly pour the heated milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. Pour the warmed egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook, always stirring. Allow to thicken. Do not let it boil.

Your custard is done when it passes the spoon test. Coat the back of your spatula or spoon with the custard and run your finger through it. It's ready when your finger leaves a trail that doesn't close up.

Remove the custard from the heat and pour through a strainer to catch any bits of cooked egg that may have escaped your attention.

Add the heavy cream and chill in in an ice bath, stirring frequently to speed up the cooling process.

Mash the cleaned, hulled strawberries with 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar (I used a potato masher). Stir to melt the sugar and then add to the chilled cream mixture. Add vanilla, salt and a drop of lemon juice.

The custard base must be very cold before churning; ideally you'll wait 8 hours or more (I'll admit that I cheated and churned mine after about 3 hours in the fridge). Freeze according to your ice cream machine's instructions.

I'm a big fan of home ice cream machines that use a frozen canister. Unless you make ice cream several times a month, this is the most economical (and very efficient) choice.


  1. Fresh strawberry ice cream is such an incredible delight!

    We used to make ice cream when I was a kid in Bangladesh. It was about 8 million degrees in the shade, and humid, and we'd all take a turn with the hand crank machine with ice and rock salt on top. We each got about a spoonful, but man was it good.

    Wondering - do you experiment with low calorie or low fat recipes for treats like this?

  2. Lemon Gloria -

    What a wonderful memory! I loved those old crank machines growing up.

    I haven't experimented with low calorie ice creams, but a glance at my ample thighs tells me I should start. I'll give it a go and get let you know what happens.

  3. The photo alone is inspiring me to buy an ice cream maker. Oh no!

  4. knitlikeyoumean it - Oh yes! Every home needs an ice cream maker.