Saturday, June 23, 2012

Jeni's Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

Though I may have brought home quite a haul of sour cherries from this month's berry picking expedition to Hollin Farm, the original purpose of the trip was a hunt for strawberries. A true harbinger of the arrival of summer, I couldn't wait to get my hands on some fresh, ripe berries for the plethora of strawberry recipes I'd been collecting.  Along with jams, galettes, compotes and breads, I knew for sure that Jeni's Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream had to be one of the first destinations for these babies.

If you remember, finally making ice cream has been one of my 2012 Baking Resolutions--after my ice cream maker had been languishing in the cabinet for two long years, I finally took the plunge inspired by the dozens of amazing flavors in the new Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams cookbook. By now you may have seen Jeni's featured on any number of morning and talk shows, not to mention places like Saveur and Dean&Delucca but growing up with it in Columbus, OH I had always taken it for granted. Now that I live in DC, the ability to whip up confections like Toasted Rice Ice Cream with a Whiff of Coconut and Black Tea at home whenever I want is just too tempting.

Despite a couple of missteps, I think my first ice cream attempt came out amazingly well! Rookie mistake #1 was not watching the custard base while it was cooking, letting the milk boil over and create a skin on the bottom of the pan. Rookie mistake #2 was not straining the mixture to remove the skin and assuming that it would get smoothed out during the mixing process. Wrong. So, let this be a warning to you, ye young ice cream maker.

If, like me, you also have an ice cream maker languishing in your cabinets and are thinking about liberating it this summer, I might also refer you to rookie mistake #3--not reading the manufacturer's instructions. Depending on the type of machine you have, it may require you to first freeze the mixing bowl for 16-24 hours in advance or, oh, I don't know, ADD 3 CUPS OF ROCK SALT AND 8 POUNDS OF ICE around the mixing bowl. So, yeah, there's that.

Roasted Strawberries!

All in all the ice cream making was ridiculously easy and now I just have the difficult decision of choosing what recipe to try out next!

Jeni's Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 oz (4 tbsp) cream cheese, softened
1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk

1. To roast the strawberries, preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the strawberries with the sugar and place in an 8-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring to combine. Roast for 8 minutes, just until soft. Allow to cool slightly.

2. In a food processor or a blender, puree the strawberries with the lemon juice. Measure 1/2 cup of the pureed mixture and refrigerate the rest for another use (I threw it in a smoothie).

3. To make the ice cream base, mix 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl, mixing to make a smooth slurry. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and salt. Set aside.

4. Fill a large bowl with ice and water and set aside.

5. In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, and corn syrup, heating to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Return the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring with a heatproof spatula, cooking until slightly thickened (about 1 minute). Remove from heat.

6. Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese, whisking until smooth. Stir in the 1/2 cup strawberry puree and buttermilk, mixing well. Pour the mixture into a gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag into the ice water. Allow to stand for about 30 minutes, until chilled.

7. Churn ice cream according to ice cream maker instructions. Pack the ice cream into an airtight storage container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.

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