116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
The waning weeks of summer can be a time of squeezing in trips, yard work and kitchen projects.
A few days ago, I realized, here it is the middle of August and not one single batch of homemade ice cream has been made. It then came to me with some sadness that several summers have passed without my summer ice cream tradition. Too many distractions of life.
When I was growing up, my family made ice cream frequently throughout summer. The flavor usually was vanilla, though Daddy always argued for peach. Sometimes there were strawberries from the garden.
August is the birth month of my mother and her mother, so I decided to make strawberry ice cream as that was Mother’s favorite.
I love Dana Cree’s book “Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop.” She explores how and why to achieve the very best flavor and texture in homemade ice cream. The recipe for strawberry sherbet is straightforward and easy to follow, producing a creamy and slightly tangy scoop that isn’t too rich. Some custard-based ice creams are simply too eggy and rich. While the sherbet base is cooked, it isn’t a custard and therefore doesn’t contain eggs.
For the second batch, I wanted to explore no-churn ice creams that are increasingly popping up on social media. In their simplest form, these recipes are based on freshly whipped cream into which is folded a sweetened milk mixture, often sweetened condensed milk. The mixture is then placed in the freezer to harden.
I don’t know why we didn’t think of this sooner as the real purpose of churning ice cream is to whip air into the mixture as it freezes. This method takes a shortcut and produces a satisfying result. Will it replace the old-fashioned method? Not for me, but it’s fun and easy.
The no-churn recipe features vanilla ice cream layered with homemade strawberry jam and fig preserves. If you want to make an expat Southern country girl cry, just mention fresh figs as they are hard to find outside the South. With great joy did I find fresh figs at Trader Joe’s in June and bought 6 pounds (no lie), most of which I made into fig preserves. I proudly carried a couple jars to my sister in Louisiana and she pronounced them as good as Mother’s. We’ve not had real fig preserves in several years.
In our world, the figs were often so plentiful they were incorporated into pies and preserves using strawberry gelatin. Even then, I considered it somewhat of a sacrilege, but I remember it tasted pretty good. So this second scoop is an homage to the strawberry-fig friendship.
What do you want to enjoy in these last days of summer? I hope you can fit it all in. Make some ice cream if you can. Let’s pretend summer will never end.
1 1/4 cups strawberry puree made with frozen strawberries that have partially thawed, then pureed in a blender.
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light Karo syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water
Whisk together the strawberry puree, buttermilk and lemon juice in a small bowl. Refrigerate.
Place the milk, cream, sugar and Karo syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to prevent the milk from scorching. When the mixture comes to a full rolling boil, reduce heat to a low simmer. Stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove the pot from heat.
Immediately pour the base into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nestle this bowl in a larger bowl that is partially filled with icy cold water. Stir occasionally until the mixture cools.
When the base is cool to touch, remove from ice bath and combine with the strawberry mixture. Whisk until evenly combined. Strain the sherbet through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the strawberry seeds. (This is optional.)
Transfer to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours or overnight.
Churn using your ice cream maker’s instructions. The sherbet will have a texture of soft serve ice cream. For a harder texture, scoop it into a container with airtight lid and store in the freezer until it hardens completely, approximately 4 hours. Yields between 1 and 1/2 quarts sherbet.
Source: Adapted from “Hello, My Name Is Ice Cream,” by Dana Cree
Strawberry-Fig Ice Cream, No-Churn Style
2 cups whipping cream
14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
14 ounces of fruit preserves — your choice — I used a combination of strawberry jam and fig preserves
If preserves are chunky, run them through a blender or food processor to create more of a puree. Large chunks of fruit are icy and too difficult to eat.
In a small bowl, mix salt and vanilla with sweetened condensed milk. In a separate bowl, whip cream until firm peaks form. Fold one cup of whipped cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Then fold this into the larger bowl of whipped cream, folding gently.
Spoon about one-fourth of the mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan. Then spoon bits of the jam over the surface of the ice cream. Add a second layer of ice cream mixture, then more jam. Repeat twice until ingredients are used up.
Cover tightly with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
Source: Adapted from American Spoon Fruit