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Balsamic Strawberry Stracciatella Ice Cream

I know it’s still snowing in some places.  It would even snow into mid-May where I last lived.  I always say I’d rather be hot than cold…but right now, I wish it would cool down a bit.  90 degree weather shouldn’t be allowed in April.  And actually, we had some in March.  That’s just indecent.

Now I can’t control the weather, but what I can do is make ice cream.  It’s really easy and doesn’t require the use of an oven, which is a huge bonus when the A/C is already going full blast.  And satisfying, in the obvious delicious way and the “I’m totally a badass because I just made ice cream” way.

balsamic strawberry stuffs

Aside from being a (sweaty) fan of ice cream, I had 8 egg yolks and a pound of strawberries (ha, whoops!) left over from making strawberry cake.  Ice cream was a no brainer, as was making something that wasn’t just plain ol’ strawberry.  I can’t even remember how Google led me to this recipe of Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream, but it clearly had to be made. 

I have to say that I had actually never had balsamic vinegar with strawberries despite hearing how amazing it was.  Trusting all, I just went with it.  And then I not-so-accidentally drizzled some melted chocolate in there because…well, because.

Balsamic Strawberry Stracciatella Ice Cream

It’s really, really good.

Balsamic Strawberry Ice Cream
adapted slightly from Mike’s Table

Though easy to make, ice cream can be a bit labor intensive and requires a lot of downtime (I did this over two days).  The original recipe calls for only 1/2 teaspoon of balsamic, which seemed way too little to cook down, and after reading a few comments asking if it should be 1/2 cup, I decided to go with that.  I’m glad I did!   Oh yeah, and you might want to halve this…it made about 8 cups of ice cream, which came towering out of the top of my 1 quart Krups maker!

1 cup whole milk
1 vanilla bean
1 cup sugar
1 pound strawberries
juice of 1/2 lemon
7 egg yolks
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1.  Scald the milk: heat it in a saucepan over medium low heat until tiny bubbles form around the edge.  Meanwhile, split and scrape out the vanilla bean.  Add the bean and its contents to the milk.  Turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.

2.  Macerate the strawberries: while the milk and vanilla sits, hull and thinly slice the strawberries.  In a bowl, combine them with 1/4 cup of the sugar and the lemon juice.

3.  Heat the milk up again to scald it.  Pour the cream in a large bowl, then set it over an ice water bath (it will help stop the eggs from cooking later on).  In a smaller bowl (I used the measuring cup from the milk), whisk the egg yolks with the remaining 3/4 cup sugar until lightened.  Add a small amount of the hot milk to the yolks to temper them, then slowly add the yolks to the milk, whisking constantly.  Cook the custard on medium heat, continuing to whisk, for about 5 minutes or until thickened.  It should be thick enough to cover the back of a spoon.

4.  Using a strainer to catch any eggy bits, pour the custard into the cream, and add the vanilla bean as well.  Stir in the vanilla extract and salt.  Wash off the strainer, then place back over the custard/cream base.  Transfer the macerated strawberries into the strainer allowing as much juice as possible to go into the ice cream base.   Return the strawberry chunks to their bowl.  Stir the ice cream base will, then cover with plastic wrap touching its surface directly.  Refrigerate 6 – 8 hours (but continue onto the next step now!).

5.  In a clean saucepan heat the balsamic vinegar over medium heat until reduced to a syrup (this should take about 5 minutes).  Pour the syrup over the strawberry chunks and stir.  Cover and refrigerate.

6. Make the ice cream (finally!): the original recipe doesn’t say to do this, but I strained the juice from the balsamic strawberry chunks into the ice cream base before freezing it.  Pour the ice cream into your ice cream maker (funnels work wonders here), and freeze according to the machine’s instructions.  In the few final minutes, add the strawberry chunks to the ice cream.  If you run into overflowing issues like I did, you can mix them into the ice cream by hand when you’re putting it in its storage container.  If you want to add the chocolate, see below before transferring the ice cream to the container.

stracciatella!

Stracciatella
from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

Have you had stracciatella gelato?  It’s much nicer than having to crunch down on chocolate chunks or chips.  And guess what?  It’s super easy to add to ice cream!

5 ounces semi-sweet chocolate (not chips)

Finely chop the chocolate and melt in a double boiler or in a measuring cup in the microwave (what I did).  Spread a layer of ice cream into the container you want to store it in.  Drizzle some of the melted chocolate across it, then stir the ice cream to break it up.  Keep repeating until you’re out of chocolate.  Or you can drizzle the chocolate into the ice cream maker (on the ice cream, not the dasher) while the ice cream is nearly done.

Press plastic wrap against the surface of the ice cream (helps reduce ice crystals from forming) and let sit in the freezer overnight.  You could totally eat some now though…yummy softserve!

Balsamic Strawberry Stracciatella Ice Cream

This is some creamy, delicious stuff.  The vinegar brings out the flavor of the strawberries and adds a very subtle tang.  And of course, each bite is full of strawberry chunks and crisp chocolate bits, which should be reason enough to make this.

mmmm...

It’s only going to get hotter here, so I hope you guys like ice cream as much as I do!

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