Desserts · Ice Cream · Requires overnight step

The Frozen Custard vs. Ice Cream Trial, Part 1: Strawberry Frozen Custard

Strawberry Frozen Custard

I absolutely love strawberry season in Upstate New York. Most of the time, I just eat them plain. They’re so incredibly delicious! A perfect balance of sweet and tart. If I’m going across the river (a half-hour drive each way) to get them, I always buy extra because I know they won’t all make it home. 

While fresh, local, in-season strawberries are already fruit perfection, needing absolutely nothing more than a quick rinse, sometimes it’s fun to turn them into ice cream. I’ve noticed there are two camps of strawberry ice cream making. Some people like the frozen custard kind and others swear by the “Philadelphia” variety. The latter uses no egg yolks. I decided to make a batch each of Strawberry Frozen Custard and Strawberry Ice Cream, in a head-to-head competition. So off I went to Kristy’s Barn to score some berries. I timed it perfectly — we’d had a few nice, sunny days. That’s when berry flavor is at its best. I made both bases as soon as I got home, so they each had an equal shot at prime berry ripeness. I let both bases cool overnight so that they’d both be the same temperature when churned. I have 2 inserts for my ice cream maker and had them both in the freezer for the whole week prior. The next day, figuring I’d controlled for as many variables as I could, I churned the ice creams. 

Extensive testing ensued. I mean really extensive. Don’t you feel sorry for my husband, a.k.a. Taster-In-Chief, and me? The things we suffer for the advancement of…No, actually, let’s be honest. We enjoyed every bite! By now, you’re either running out to get some berries for your own taste testing, or you’re wondering which ice cream won. So am I! Wondering, that is. Even after both batches are gone, it’s still hard to choose. They really are both fantastic. I lean just a hair toward the rich, decadent frozen custard, mostly because where I come from frozen custard is the gold standard. If you ever have the opportunity to visit an Abbott’s Frozen Custard, you really should. It’s sooo good! To be honest again, I truly expected Strawberry Frozen Custard to win this competition by a mile. It was a pleasant surprise to discover I loved Strawberry Ice Cream nearly as much!

If you don’t have access to an Abbott’s, and you want to make your own, either one of these recipes will serve you well. I highly recommend using fresh, local, in-season strawberries if you can get them. You won’t regret it!

You’ll find a printer-friendly version of this recipe, adapted from The New York Times Master Ice Cream, at the bottom of this page.

Ingredients:

1 SFC ingr

3 cups heavy cream

⅔ cup + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided

⅛ teaspoon + a pinch fine sea salt, divided

6 large egg yolks

1 pound fresh, local, in-season strawberries

½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Preparation:

1.) Make sure to freeze your ice cream maker bowl at least a day or two ahead of time, ideally in the back & on the bottom (coldest part of the freezer).

2.)  Mix the cream, ⅔ cup of the sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt in a 2½ quart pot over medium-low heat. Bring just barely to a simmer, & stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved. This only takes a few minutes. Remove from heat.

2 SFC heat

3.) Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly pour about a third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks. When you have it well blended, pour it back into the pot with the cream, whisking constantly.

3 SFC temper 1

4 SFC temper 2

4.) Return the pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). If you swipe your finger along the spoon, the mixture should be thick enough to not try to run in & fill the gap you made.

5 SFC cook

5.) Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean medium bowl. No matter how well you separate your yolks, there’s always still a little egg white that gets into your mix. After it cooks, it’s easy to strain out. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature, uncovered, for about a half hour.

6 SFC strain

6.) While the cream mixture cools, wash your berries and remove their hulls. Place them in the bowl of a food processor, along with the remaining 3 Tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, and the lemon juice. Process until smooth. Adjust with more sugar or lemon juice if needed to reach the desired balance of sweet and tart.

7 SFC purée8 SFC puréed

7.) Stir the strawberry mixture into the cream mixture, combining well. Cover, and refrigerate at least four to five hours, preferably overnight.

8.) Churn the ice cream mixture in your ice cream machine. Mine calls for 30-35 minutes of churning; yours may differ. Most give a range of churn times; aim for the longer end of the range. Serve now if you like it soft, or pop it in the freezer for a few hours if you prefer hard.

11 SFC churn12 SFC soft

Strawberry Frozen Custard

Ingredients


3 cups heavy cream
⅔ cup + 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
⅛ teaspoon + a pinch fine sea salt, divided
6 large egg yolks
1 pound fresh, local, in-season strawberries
½ tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions


1.) Make sure to freeze your ice cream maker bowl at least a day or two ahead of time, ideally in the back & on the bottom (coldest part of the freezer).
2.)  Mix the cream, ⅔ cup of the sugar, and ⅛ teaspoon of the salt in a 2½ quart pot over medium-low heat. Bring just barely to a simmer, & stir frequently until the sugar is dissolved. This only takes a few minutes. Remove from heat.
3.) Whisk the egg yolks together in a medium bowl. While whisking constantly, slowly pour about a third of the hot cream mixture into the yolks. When you have it well blended, pour it back into the pot with the cream, whisking constantly.
4.) Return the pot to medium-low heat and gently cook until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 170 degrees on an instant-read thermometer). If you swipe your finger along the spoon, the mixture should be thick enough to not try to run in & fill the gap you made.
5.) Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a clean medium bowl. No matter how well you separate your yolks, there’s always still a little egg white that gets into your mix. After it cooks, it’s easy to strain out. Allow the mixture to cool at room temperature, uncovered, for about a half hour.
6.) While the cream mixture cools, wash your berries and remove their hulls. Place them in the bowl of a food processor, along with the remaining 3 Tbsp sugar, pinch of salt, and the lemon juice. Process until smooth. Adjust with more sugar or lemon juice if needed to reach the desired balance of sweet and tart.
7.) Stir the strawberry mixture into the cream mixture, combining well. Cover, and refrigerate at least four to five hours, preferably overnight.
8.) Churn the ice cream mixture in your ice cream machine. Mine calls for 30-35 minutes of churning; yours may differ. Most give a range of churn times; aim for the longer end of the range. Serve now if you like it soft, or pop it in the freezer for a few hours if you prefer hard.

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