Stationery, that’s my thing. I have a deep-rooted desire to shop for all kinds of papers, envelopes, nice folders, binders or notebooks. I silently check for necessity, receive a rational no-go from my subsystem – and still buy it. Of course. It plays little significance that five other folders, binders or notebook are desperately waiting to be put to good use in my filing cabinet at home. With Munich’s first Muji store, the temptation for paper goods has gotten even stronger, and I permanently stock up on very simple notebooks and more. One of these notebooks has been dedicated to culinary ideas: Its cover is decorated with a drawn pot, which is a pretty solid statement of my drawing skills or lack thereof (…), yet is has become indispensable. It travels wherever I go, and within the last year, its pages have been filled with ideas and recipes that deserved a second thought.
Now whenever I’m in need for an inspirational spark, I just flip through the pages and quite often it doesn’t take more than four or five lines to read (with a one-dish-per-line ratio) until I have mentally settled on my next kitchen project. Just like a few weeks ago, when the title ice cream strawberry/balsamic vinegar sounded like the perfect and very necessary wake up call for our still hibernating kitchen tool. I even remember when and where I took the note: Our friends Sherry and Bob had taken us to Bi-Rite Creamery, where we had tried different flavors from the sample spoons they very accommodatingly handed over the counter until we stopped at balsamic strawberry, salted caramel and roasted banana. Ice cream heaven! Every spoonful a delight, somehow the strawberry creation left the most notable impression and last Saturday I tried to recreate it.
The million dollar question: Should I opt for a quick cream version or stick with a classic custard ice cream? I chose the latter. And quite rightly so! The custard version adds a complexity to the strawberry-balsamic flavor, that I’m not sure a simple cream version can live up to. Just make sure to use the best balsamic vinegar you can afford and not to add too much of it. The vinegar should accentuate the strawberry flavor nicely, but not suffocate it. Highly recommended for ice cream afficinados!
Heat the milk in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the stove and allow to cool down for about some minutes.
Whisk together egg yolks and 70 g of the sugar in a bowl until most of the sugar crystals have dissolved and the color becomes light and pale. Pour the warm milk over the egg and sugar concoction while constantly stirring (slowly, otherwise you will end up with foam). Reheat the custard mix slowly while continuously stirring/scraping the bottom of the pot until it has noticeably thickened and coats the back of a spoon or heatproof rubber spatula, but do not let it boil. Remove from heat and let cool down.
Meanwhile prepare the strawberry puree: Coarsely chop the fruits, sprinkle with the remaining sugar and lemon juice and let rest for a few minutes before you process them with a handheld blender until the puree is smooth. Separate about 50 g in an extra, small bowl and chill in the fridge (covered) for later.
Once the custard is cooled down, add the strawberry puree, the crème double as well as the heavy creme and stir well. Season to taste with a good aged balsamic vinegar (don’t overdo it, you only want a pleasant hint) and refrigerate until chilled.
Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a plastic container when done and layer it with tablespoons of the remaining strawberry puree. Freeze until firm.
Strawberry ice cream with balsamic vinegar
Recipe Source: own creation
Prep/cooking time: about 30 min., plus chilling and freezing
Ingredients (serves 3-4):
3 egg yolks (L)
100 g sugar
200 ml milk
250 g fresh strawberries, cleaned and hulled
2 tbsp lemon juice
125 g crème double
75 g heavy cream
2-3 tbsp balsamic vinegar (the best you can afford)