By Annemarie Ahearn Photograph Benjamin Williamson
To make ice cream, you need custard. To make custard, you need patience, precision, and a little faith that the eggs won’t overcook. This particular ice cream is extra creamy and brightly flavored with one of summer’s first fruits. Be sure to buy small, sweet, local berries for maximum delectability, then grab a trusty wooden spoon — it’s time to stir!
Makes 1 pint
3 cups quartered strawberries 1 heaping cup sugar 2 cups heavy cream 1 cup half-and-half 1 teaspoon vanilla ½ teaspoon salt 6 egg yolks
In small saucepan, heat strawberries and ½ cup sugar over medium heat. Once strawberries put off juice, let cook down for about 15 minutes, until nearly jam-like, then remove from heat. In heavy-bottomed medium pot, combine cream, half-and-half, remaining sugar, vanilla, and salt. Place over medium heat until sugar dissolves, then turn off heat.
In medium bowl, whisk egg yolks. Ladle about 1½ cups warm cream mixture from pot onto yolks, whisking to combine. Slowly transfer combined yolks and cream back to pot and turn to medium-low heat. Stir slowly and continuously with wooden spoon, 6 to 8 minutes, until custard has noticeably thickened. Turn off heat and remove from burner. Quickly pour custard through fine mesh strainer into mixing bowl. Stir to cool for 1 minute.
Once strawberries have cooled 15 minutes, mix into custard. Let strawberry custard continue to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate overnight. The following day, use ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. (Alternatively, make semifreddo by lining loaf pan with plastic wrap, pouring strawberry custard into pan, covering with plastic wrap, freezing overnight, and slicing to serve, as you would banana bread.)