“Let me take you down
‘Cause I’m going to Strawberry Fields
Nothing is real
And nothing to get hung about
Strawberry Fields Forever” ~ The Beatles
It’s been two months since I had my last eggless ice cream.
That sounds like some sort of AA confession.
Truth be told, it is.
When I first started 365scoops I was making loads of ice cream but was petrified of using eggs. What if I gave someone salmonella? What if I overcooked the eggs and made chocolate scrambled egg ice cream? Tempering eggs seemed way out of my league and Philadelphia-style ice cream suited me just fine. Then one day I decided to start using eggs and to be honest, I haven’t looked back. I never thought I would say this but I absolutely prefer custard. It’s richer, creamier, and allows you to use whole milk/half-and-half instead of heavy cream. Bottom line: I’m addicted to ice creams and gelato made with eggs.
Enter Jeni. I’ve been following Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams since I started this blog and I’ve been waiting with bated breath for her highly-anticipated cookbook to hit the stores. Hearing that she uses cream cheese, corn starch and corn syrup instead of egg yolks, I was intrigued. So, when I saw her new cookbook in Williams Sonoma I knew I had to have it. The next thing I knew, I was at home reading each page of the cookbook, savoring the beautiful photos and drooling over her recipes. David Lebovitz raves about her, and so naturally she must be great.
I dove into her book head first and decided to make a good, old fashioned classic: Strawberry Ice Cream. If you like hard-packed ice cream, this is the recipe for you. If not, I say stick to the custards. But, roasting the strawberries, as described below, is a fabulous idea because it releases some of the extra juices and makes the flavor even more intense. Strawberry fields forever.
Strawberry Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home
Ingredients (Roasted Strawberries)
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2 inch thick
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbs fresh lemon juice
Ingredients (Ice Cream Base)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tbs cornstarch
2 ounces (4tbs) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (1/4 cup reserved until later)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbs light corn syrup
First you’re going to roast the strawberries (note: I don’t have a roast function in my tiny NYC apartment kitchen, so I did bake, and it was just fine). Preheat oven the oven to 375 degrees. Combine the strawberries with the sugar in a glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix well. Bake for 8 minutes or until just soft. Let cool slightly. Puree the berries in a food processor with the lemon juice. Set aside.
For the ice cream base: mix about 2 tbs of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Combine the remaining milk, half-and-half, sugar and corn syrup in a saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
In a separate heat-proof bowl gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the strawberry puree and the remaining 1/4 cup of half-and-half and blend well. Let the mixture cool completely before refrigerating for at least 2 hours.
Once chilled, pour the ice cream mixture into the canister of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer into a freezer safe container and freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, approximately 3-4 hours.
The Verdict: Honestly I was not too impressed. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of pureed berries, and I used approximately 3 1/2 cups – which just goes to show that this original recipe lacked flavor. Once I added enough berries it was much tastier and when drizzled with hot fudge sauce it was simply delicious. But, being that this ice cream was not made with eggs, it got harder and icier in the freezer than a typical custard so I suggest eating it the same day. Try your hand at this flavor, but I would recommend using 3 egg yolks instead of the cornstarch, corn syrup and cream cheese (follow any of my other recipes with eggs to learn how to temper), the same proportions of everything else, and it will provide a much yummier texture.
One tiny little apology – I forgot to photograph the final product. My bad. You’ll just have to imagine that it looked like this because it did!