Strawberry Ice Cream with Balsamic and Pepper
Strawberries, Balsamic and Pepper
The Italians have long known that strawberries, balsamic vinegar and a little fresh pepper is a match made in heaven. So as I made my inaugural batch of homemade ice cream in my new Cuisinart ice cream maker and was whisking mashed strawberries with sugar, milk and cream, this tried and true Italian combination hit me as the perfect twist to bring this ice cream from very good to fabulous. The balsamic vinegar reduction and pepper is very subtle, but it gives this cold treat a little twist and leaves you wondering "what makes this ice cream sooooo good?"
Balsamic Vinegar Reduction
I use balsamic vinegar reduction for its sweet flavor and thick consistency. You can purchase a balsamic vinegar reduction or make your own. To make your own pour a cup of vinegar into a sauce pan, bring to a near boil over medium-high heat and then immediately reduce to low. Cook over low heat until the volume is reduced by about half. Store in the fridge. You will find all sorts of uses for this flavorful condiment. Note: you will want to turn your stove fan on when you are reducing the vinegar.
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Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker
After about 20 years I broke down and retired my old hand-cranked ice cream maker and upgraded to this highly rated model by Cuisinart. I like this model for two reasons: 1) you load in your ice cream mixture, push a button and 25 minutes later you have wonderful ice cream, and 2) it has a large 2-quart capacity. This model is highly rated on Amazon with a 4 1/2 star average from more than 2000 ratings. Cuisinart also offers a slightly less expensive model, also with a 4 1/2 star average from more than 2800 ratings, but this unit only has a 1 1/2 quart capacity. In our house, 2-quart capacity better fits our family's ice cream consumption.
This recipe is a variation on the Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream recipe published in the Cuisinart Recipe book that came with my ice cream maker.
- 1 pound of fresh strawberries (about 3 cups), cored and sliced into quarters
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- 1¼ to 1½ cup sugar (amount depends on sweetness of strawberries), divided
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 2¾ cups cream
- 2 t vanilla paste or extract
- 1 T balsamic vinegar reduction
- ¼ t fresh ground pepper
- Stir strawberries, lemon juice and ¼ to ½ cups of sugar together in a small bowl. Set aside and let macerate 2 hours or overnight.
- Using a hand mixer combine 1 cup of sugar and milk together, mixing until sugar is dissolved, about 2 minutes.
- Strain strawberries, reserving their juices. Mash the strawberries with a fork to whatever size chunks you prefer. Add the mashed strawberries, strawberry juice, cream, vanilla, balsamic reduction and pepper to the bowl and continue mixing to combine until the mixture is uniform in appearance.
- Pour strawberry and cream mixture into your ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer's instructions.
- When the ice cream is done it will be very soft and should be eaten immediately or transferred to another container and stored in the freezer. To serve, set the ice cream out on the counter for about 15 minutes to soften before scooping.