Strawberry-Vanilla Bean Ice Cream: Guest Post
Did You Know? Strawberries are the only fruit with seeds on the outside.
When Andrea asked me to guest post during the month of June for her "Off the Shelves" series, I was so flattered, and immediately knew I wanted to do an ice cream recipe. Perhaps one of the greatest culinary creations, ice cream is terrific anytime of the year, but when June rolls in, and the grills are rolled out, there's no better way to end an evening BBQ than with a bowlful of sweetened cream piled high with all your favorite toppings.
I know the task at hand was to be inspired by a favorite cookbook, but to be honest, I haven't opened any of my cookbooks in practically months, so this recipe is what I consider a Buff Chickpea original, but more likely adapted from numerous recipes around the web. I've never been a fan of strawberry ice cream that boasts chunks of the big red fruit, so I pureed the strawberries here before adding them to the vanilla bean-specked base. I love the aroma the vanilla imparts in the ice cream, and the wonderfully tiny beans it leaves in its place. The custard itself is almost too pretty to freeze, almost.
Churning ice cream is like magic in my mind. It happens so quick, and the results are always spectacular. The deep red custard froze into a lovely pale pink, billowing out of the ice cream maker like cotton candy. Drizzled with hot fudge and doused with whipped cream, how can you go wrong? Thanks again Andrea for thinking of me. I hope I did Cooking Books justice, and I'd love to guest post again sometime!
More (up to 10) or less egg yolks may be used depending on the richness you are after.
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 lb strawberries (16 oz), trimmed and quartered
Combine cream, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring just to a boil. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks with 1/2 cup sugar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, while whisking. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F (do not let boil).
Remove vanilla bean (do not discard*), and immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, at least until cold, about 2 hours, and up to 1 day (I stuck mine in the fridge overnight).
*Vanilla bean can be rinsed, dried until brittle, and tucked into your sugar bowl for some fragrant vanilla sugar (adding wonderful aromas to baked goods and future ice creams).
While custard is chilling, purée strawberries with remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a blender until smooth, then force through fine sieve (to remove seeds) into chilled custard. Stir purée into custard.
Freeze in ice-cream maker, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.
Makes about 5 cups. This ice cream is best the day it's made.