Not too long ago I confessed of my obsession with ice cream. Since that confession has brought you and I closer together, I feel comfortable telling you (and confident that you won’t judge) that I made and ate ice cream last week when it felt like our entire country had been picked up and dropped off in Antarctica. Yeah, it was -13 outside but the fire in the fireplace was so nice and paired with a good blanket, it was cozy enough to enjoy some of the cold, creamy, sweet dessert.
I made some strawberry ice cream the week before as a gift for one of my family members but it didn’t turn out as decadent as I had hoped. I just wasn’t satisfied.
Since I wouldn’t dare leave the house in the frigid temperatures, I decided I would take the opportunity to improve on the ice cream I had previously made. I wondered what it would be like to combine strawberries and mint into ice cream. I pulled my mint extract from the cabinet and the smell reminded me more of peppermint rather than mint that I had grown this past summer. So I couldn’t resist. I pulled on my snow boots and made the trek through the snow to the local grocery store to seek fresh mint leaves. (I actually drove but it sounds more dramatic if you think I walked.) Anyway, as I was wandering the store I realized that what I was about to do required two ingredients that are quite unseasonable but decided there was no harm in testing recipes that I could make even better in the summer.
I returned home and after a cup of hot chocolate, I made ice cream. I had hesitation about the strawberries or the mint being overpowering. It turns out that the flavors did a nice little jig in this ice cream. I think that infusing the custard mixture with the fresh mint made the flavor act more in the background rather than the leading roll. The strawberries rounded out the ice cream with a sweet, velvety finish. I really loved this ice cream. And since I can hardly leave chocolate out of my desserts, I made a version with chopped dark chocolate. It was pretty tasty too.
Mint Infused Strawberry Ice Cream
- adapted from Simply Recipes
makes about 1 quart
- 2/3 oz fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2 cups heavy cream (divided into cups)
- 1 cup sugar (divide into 1/3 cup and 2/3 cup)
- pinch of salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 8 oz of fresh strawberries
- 1/2 teaspoon rum
make the custard
Rinse and dry the mint leaves. Remove the stems. In a large saucepan mix 1 cup of whole milk, 1 cup of cream and the mint leaves. Heat until the mixture begins to steam. Remove it from heat, cover and let it stand for 30 minutes. Reheat the mixture to a steam, remove from heat and let it stand for 15 more minutes. The mint is infusing the cream mixture. Using a small bowl, strain the mint infused cream mixture. Press the mint leaves against the strainer to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Reserve the mint leaves. Return the mint infused cream mixture to the saucepan and add 2/3 cup of sugar and salt. Heat on low medium until the mixture is steaming and the sugar is dissolved. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
In a large bowl, fill it 1/3 full with ice water. Place a medium size bowl in the ice bath and add the rest of the cream to the bowl.
In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks. Pour in half of the mint infused cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking while pouring so that the eggs are tempered. Pour in the remaining mint infused cream. Then pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan. Add the reserved mint leaves.
Heat the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Heat for about 10 minutes or until the mixture reaches 165 degrees on a candy thermometer. The custard should coat the back of the spoon.
Immediately remove the saucepan from heat and pour the custard through a strainer into the cold cream. Stir until combined. Cover the mixture and refrigerate for 2 hours.
make the strawberries
Slice the strawberries in quarters. In a medium skillet heat 1/3 cup of sugar and the strawberries over medium. The sugar should melt into syrup. Stir over heat for about 5 minutes. Let cool. Puree half of the strawberry mixture.
freeze the custard
Using an ice cream maker such as a Kitchen Aid attachment, freeze the custard. In the last five minutes, add the strawberry mixture sauce and rum. The rum will keep the ice cream from freezing so hard once stored in the freezer.
Remove the ice cream from the maker and store in Tupperware and place in the freezer. Remove ice cream from freezer 5 minutes before serving.
Chocolate Chip Variation: If you would like, you can chop 3 ounces of dark chocolate and add the pieces when the strawberries are added.