Well it’s July. I figured it was about time to take the ice cream maker out of hibernation. It was just a tad dusty, poor thing. Mid-year resolution: use ice cream maker during seasons other than summer so it doesn’t feel so left out.
Now I got a little carried away at the farmer’s market this week. Not that this is really anything new, I get carried away with something food oriented at least three times per week. On average, of course. This week it just so happened to be strawberries. They’ve only been making an appearance at the farmer’s markets for the last 2 or 3 weeks and I can’t get enough of the small ones with that deep red color inside. Yumo. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for having strawberries in the grocery store year round but fresh local strawberries are simply unbeatable. Anyway. I bought 2 pints and couldn’t let them go to waste. Hence, the mint and roasted strawberry ice cream with a strawberry topping. And here they are ladies and gents, the stars of the show.
One of the wonderful things about the below recipe is it all can be made ahead of time. The ice cream can of course stay in the freezer, but don’t let it sit there for so long that it gets freezer burn. We all hate that. The strawberry topping can also be made several days ahead of time and kept in the fridge. The meringue bottoms will be good for a day or two after you make them, just be careful storing those fragile guys. They just love breaking on me, it’s actually quite infuriating. Fickle, fickle egg whites.
mint and roasted strawberry ice cream
makes 1 pint & serves 6
useful gadgets: ice cream maker, ice cream container
for the ice cream:
adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
pinch of salt
2 cups fresh mint leaves
5 egg yolks
1 pint strawberries, washed and hulled
3 tbsp lemon juice
fresh mint for garnish
for the meringue:
4 egg whites
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp vinegar
for the strawberry topping:
2 cups strawberries, washed and hulled
¼ cup sugar
½ naval orange, juiced
1 tsp vanilla
To make the ice cream, ensure the bowl that comes with the ice cream maker is frozen in the freezer and ready to go. Heat the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream and the salt in a medium-sized sauce pan. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the mint leaves and stir until they’re completely immersed for about 2 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and let the mixture steep for 1-2 hours.
After letting the mint infused mixture steep for 1-2 hours, strain it into a medium-sized saucepan to separate the mint leaves from the liquid. Take a spoon and press down on the mint leaves to get as much flavor from them as you can before they get composted, trashed or discarded down the disposal.
Rewarm the mint infused mixture over low heat. Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl large enough to contain the rewarmed milk and pour the mint infused mixture over the mixed egg yolks, whisking until well combined. Pour back into the medium-sized saucepan and stir constantly over medium heat until the mixture thickens.
Pour the remaining 1 cup of heavy cream in a large mixing bowl and set it aside with a strainer on top. Once the mint infused mixture has thickened, pour it through the strainer over the remaining 1 cup of the heavy cream. Remove the strainer and mix so the cream and mint infused mixture are combined. Chill the bowl in the refrigerator, overnight or at least for several hours.
To make the meringue, preheat the oven to 180°. Beat the egg whites and salt in a medium-sized bowl until firm peaks begin to form. Add the sugar and continue beating for a couple more minutes until the egg whites become shiny and stiff. Gently fold in the cornstarch and vinegar with a rubber spatula. Using a cookie scoop, spoon or piping bag, create six equal sized circles with the egg whites. Create an indent with a spatula or spoon in the middle of each so the ice cream will sit easily on the meringue when all is said and done. Bake for 1 hour and if you have time, keep the meringue in the oven for another hour with the oven off so they’re less likely to crack on the outside. But hey, at the end of the day they’re all going the same place so feel free to take them right out of the oven when they’re done too.
To make the strawberry topping, combine the strawberries, sugar, orange juice and vanilla in a bowl to evenly coat the strawberries. Place them in a saucepan and cook on medium until a thick consistency has been reached. Squish (as in, press down on) the strawberries with whatever utensil you’re using to cook them with. This will help release their juices and make them easier to eat on top of the ice cream! Remove the strawberries from the heat and let cool either in the fridge or at room temperature.
After the mint infused mixture has completely cooled, place it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. I have the Cuisinart ice cream maker and found 15 minutes or so to be enough. Put the ice cream in a container and let it harden for 2-3 hours before eating.
To assemble, place one meringue on a plate and a scoop of ice cream on top with a couple tablespoons of strawberry topping. The ice cream is already filled with strawberries so you don’t need a large amount of the strawberry topping! Unless you’re really on a strawberry kick, that is.