Since moving to Strasbourg, I have become obsessed over checking the weather forecast to make sure that Mother Nature is behaving herself. For a few weeks, it appeared that Mother Nature was very generous and gave us some gloriously hot days (perfect for me but judging from the number of complaints from the general population, it may have been a tad too hot).
The Hot Hot weather would be perfect for an ice cream making session, I thought…
Well, think again, said Mother Nature as the temperature plummeted…
Fresh strawberry juice - perfect base for the farewell-to-summer-ice-cream!
I guess our hot days are over but the sun is still shining and making ice cream is a good fun way to bid farewell to summer, especially if you incorporate beautiful market fresh strawberries and fancy-it up with some balsamic vinegar jelly.
The ice cream recipe that I love to use is from a Spice magazine (summer 2009 issue) and I was actually quite sad to read that they will no longer be publishing. I frequently purchased Spice magazine as I loved the way that they showcased Western Australian local produce and the growing foodie scene. A great publication that will definitely be missed.
Strawberry Ice Cream
- 1 cup milk
- 1 vanilla pod
- 125 mL caster sugar
- 6 egg yolks
- 500 mL cream
- 400 g of strawberries
Cut the vanilla pod length-wise and scrape out the seeds. Place the vanilla seeds and pod with milk in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and cool.
Infuse the vanilla into the milk
In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar together until light in colour and creamy. Add the warm vanilla-infused milk to the egg mixture, making sure to stir all the time. Return the whole mixture to the saucepan and heat very gently until the mixture becomes thickened i.e. coat the back of a wooden spoon.Remove from the heat and place in a separate bowl. Cover with cling-film and re-refrigerate. Clean, chop and puree the strawberries. You may want to strain the strawberry juice to remove the seeds but I think that the seeds add a good texture and make the ice cream look authentically homemade.
Mix the strawberry puree into the vanilla custard together with cream.
Once well-chilled, add the cream and churn according to ice cream maker instructions. I have a little ice cream maker that I managed to sneak past Mr G when we moved – I am sure that he would have never let me bring an ice cream maker all the way from Perth to Strasbourg! Well, the joke was actually on me as we only have a teeny-tiny fridge with an even tinier freezer, which means that whenever I have an ice cream making craving I have to ask a nearby friend for the use of their freezer overnight. Luckily, my friends are very obliging!
My favourite part - churning the ice cream!
Strawberry ice cream!
The combination of strawberries and balsamic vinegar is a classic one and one that my family frequently enjoys. So I thought that I could add a bit of a molecular gastronomy touch to the old favourite by making balsamic jelly, both in the form of thin sheets and “shoelaces”.
- 150 mL good balsamic vinegar
- 2 g agar agar
- bowl of ice cold water
- A large syringe
- 30 cm length of silicon tubing
Ingredients and tools required for making balsamic vinegar shoelaces. Looking at this photo makes me think that the "tools" has a slight medical feel.
Place the balsamic vinegar in a saucepan. Add the agar agar and stir well. Heat the mixture until boiling. Remove from the heat and suck up some of the hot liquid using the syringe.
Suck up the hot balsamic vinegar into the syringe.
Attach the nozzle of the syringe to the end of the silicon tube and carefully push the liquid through the tube until it just reaches the end. Place the filled silicon tube into a bowl of ice water. The gel should set in approximately 3 min.
Gently push the liquid through the silicon tube, until it just reaches the end.
Place the filled silicon tube into a bowl of ice cold water, until the agar agar sets the balsamic vinegar (approx 3 min).
Before I go on, I would like to preface this by stating that I studied the DVD that was provided with my Cuisine R-evolution kit and saw that the preparation of the shoelaces was relatively easy. However, as Mr G and I soon discovered, making the balsamic shoelaces was not that simple as trying to push the shoelaces out of the silicon tubes required some muscle and when force was applied for the shoelace extrusion, the noises that resulted made one think of a flatulent guinea pig! None the less, we succeeded in obtaining some good shoelaces and the whole exercise proved that it does not matter how old one is, silly-farting noises will always be amusing.
Okay, enough of that – once set, take the syringe and empty it of any liquid, fill it with air and attache it to the end of the silicon tube and with some force, push the shoelace out of the tube.
Remove the set balsamic shoelace by pushing with an air-filled syringe.
Alternatively, if you feel that the shoelaces are not going to be successful (as I did … with trying to force them out of the tube and being doubled-over if fits of giggles, I thought the shoelaces were never going to happen!). One could pour some of the hot balsamic liquid onto a plate and spread thinly. Once cooled, cut squares of sheets out of the thin layer to garnish the strawberry ice cream.
The back-up plan - balsamic vinegar sheets, cut into squares.
Fortunately for me, both the balsamic vinegar shoelaces and square jelly sheets worked out and thus I managed to plate up in two different ways. Firstly, by making a checkered pattern on the plate, followed by scoops of ice cream and garnished with cubes of fresh strawberries.
Preparing the checkered pattern of balsmaic jelly squares on th plate.
Strawberry ice cream, with balsmic jelly sheets and fresh strawberries.
The second plate consisted of arranging the balsamic shoelaces in a circle, followed by mini-scoops of ice cream being placed in the middle and finely garnished with fresh strawberries.
Strawberry ice cream, with balsamic shoelaces and fresh strawberries.