Although I fear it borders on cliche, strawberry is perhaps the quintessential spring-summer ice cream flavor. And it should be kept as a spring-summer treat, when strawberries are in season and at their tastiest, ready to be roasted and added to make some pretty pink ice cream. Instead (indulge my rant), strawberry ice cream is too often reduced to a dully flavored, prized-only-for-its-color layer of Neapolitan ice cream. This, homemade roasted strawberry ice cream, is how I imagine strawberry ice cream, in its purest and best form, to taste like. You must start with ripe berries which are made sweeter by roasting, and couple that sweetness with a bit of buttermilk, rounding out the flavors into a cohesive distillation of spring.
The pairing of roasted strawberries + buttermilk comes from, of course, what is perhaps my favorite ice cream book . Previously Jeni’s creative recipes have brought us (reverse chronological here) lemon ice cream, the base recipe for my roasted banana nutella swirl ice cream, and cranberry grapefruit sorbet. Here’s another winner to add to that pile.
So run! to see if you can find strawberries to make this and enjoy.
Roasted Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams
Makes about 1 quart
1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1/2-inch thick
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup buttermilk**
For the roasted strawberries: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Stir together strawberries and sugar in an 8- or 9-inch square glass or ceramic baking dish. Roast for about 8-10 minutes, or until just soft. Let cool slightly.
Puree the strawberries in a food processor (or blender) with the lemon juice. Set the puree aside.
For the ice cream base: In a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry, making sure there are no lumps.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt together in a medium bowl until smooth.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a large (4-quart) saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and continue boiling for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Stir in 1/2 cup of the strawberry puree; add additional puree to taste (see note below). Stir in the buttermilk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the tightly sealed bag in the ice bath (don’t submerge the top if you’re paranoid like me). Let stand, adding more ice if needed, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister and spin until the ice cream is thick and creamy (my machine takes 25-30 minutes).
Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours. Let the ice cream soften slightly before serving.
*I had less than 1 pint of strawberries, so I reduced the sugar (to 1/4 cup) and lemon juice (to 2 tablespoons) correspondingly. I ended up adding more strawberry puree, a tablespoon at a time, until I had added all the strawberry puree into the ice cream for a bolder, brighter strawberry flavor.
**I recommend using buttermilk, but if you don’t have it, you could certainly omit it.