Looking out the window right now at the dreary gray skies, it is hard to believe that last weekend we were certain that summer had started two months early. It was so hot and sunny outside that my children begged to make ice cream. How could I say no?
Our winter was so mild that strawberry season started early down here in North Carolina and I have been getting berries in my Know Your Farms CSA box for the past few weeks. Such an unexpected treat! What better way to start off our ice cream making season? Yum.
I also had some fresh peppermint from another local farm (Michelle’s Garden) on hand so I added that into my custard base and it truly resulted in a delicious combination of flavors. Kids and adults devoured this sweet treat … our first little taste of summer!
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk – I used strawberry milk from Lakeview Farms
3 egg yolks
10 fresh mint leaves, chiffonade (rolled and sliced into teeny tiny strips)
1. Toss the sliced strawberries with the vanilla and a few teaspoons of the sugar while you prepare the custard.
|Making the Custard Base|
2. Combine the sugar, mint leaves, heavy cream, and whole milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly until it is hot and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.
3. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl. Add a little bit of the hot milk mixture into the eggs and stir. Gradually add small amounts of hot milk to the egg yolks until you have about equal amounts of hot milk and eggs and milk. You don’t want to pour the eggs directly into the hot milk or your eggs will scramble. Not pretty.
4. Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan. Gradually heat the milk mixture over medium to medium high heat, stirring constantly, and being careful to not let the mixture come to a boil. You will notice the custard will gradually thicken.
|The custard test … does your line look like this?|
5. When the custard is thick enough that you can draw a line on the back of your spoon (see photo) – your custard has thickened enough. Remove from heat.
6. Let your custard cool down before you use it in your ice cream machine or ice cream ball. Ideally, I like to keep it in the refrigerator for a few hours before I pour it into my ice cream maker.
|Fun containers from William-Sonoma|
7. Don’t add the strawberries into the custard until you are ready to pour everything into your ice cream maker. Follow the directions on your favorite ice cream machine and watch it turn into beautiful strawberry mint ice cream! Enjoy!