I have transcended into ice cream nirvana. I can without a doubt say that after 10 trials at home, I have created the creamiest, fool-proof, homemade strawberry ice cream. If you’ve been around here for a while you may know that I have a full-on love affair with Tillamook Strawberry Ice Cream, so if you can’t get that, you gotta make this strawberry ice cream at home!
It’s strawberry season and our farmers’ markets are exploding with baskets of strawberries. I normally like to go pick my own but when I can’t find the time to get out to do that, I love sourcing as locally as possible. Grocery store strawberries always taste a little “green” since they ripen more during transit. So when I can get them straight from the farm and as ripe as possible, I will eat myself sick making every strawberry recipe that my mind can fathom.
Now let’s talk about homemade ice cream. They’re not all creamy, and they’re not all super dreamy like this batch. As I’ve said in my peach ice cream post here, you really need to get your base and all the additives as cold as possible before pouring them into your ice cream maker. If you want to make the creamiest homemade ice cream, you’re going to need to follow these methods to make it happen.
No substitutions. No walking away. Pretend the ice cream is on fire, except it’s not, it’s trying to get as cold as possible and it needs you to watch over it to make sure she gets the attention she deserves.
What’s the secret ingredient to getting creamy strawberry ice cream?
VODKA. Now hear me out, I don’t drink vodka, but I do put it in my ice cream base. This recipe needs 2 TBSP of vodka and WHEN you add it in is extremely important.
We are not adding it to the base while it’s on the flame, we add the vodka in once you’ve removed the ice cream from the range (typically between 175° and 180°). This way the alcohol slowly get’s cooked off but not too much that you risk losing the alcohol properties that keep the ice cream as creamy as possible.
Molecularly (I’ll give you as much of a non-scientific explanation as possible), the ethanol in alcohol is not able to freeze in conventional freezers. So it’s always in a state of loose liquidity. Milk and cream crystals, however (due to the high water content) can freeze completely into a solid mass. So if you have a non-freezing additive (alcohol) mixed with an easily frozen component, you get a state of gelatinous chill that makes this ice cream so creamy.
The sugar and egg act as stabilizers too. Every ingredient plays a part in this ice cream’s creaminess. But I’ll spare you the boring details.
Now for the recipe, it’s gobsmackingly easy. All you need is a basic ice cream maker (like this one under $40), and some vodka to get the creamiest strawberry ice cream the internet ever came up upon.
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp vodka I used absolut elyx
- 1/2 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- 1 pint freshly picked strawberries hulled, washed, and pureed
The night before, place your ice cream drum in the freezer to chill according to manufacturers recommendation. I also recommend placing the blade in the freezer to keep everything as cold as possible.
In a saucepan over medium heat, simmer your cream, milk, sugar, and salt until dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove pot from heat. In a separate bowl, whisk your egg yolks. Whisking constantly, pour about 1/3 of your warm milk mixture into the yolks to temper the eggs. Once whisked, add your egg mixture back to the milk mixture in the saucepan and return to medium-low heat. Gently cook until the mixture is thick enough and coats the back of a spoon, should read about 170-180 degrees on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove from heat and whisk in your vodka and whisk thoroughly. Add your vanilla bean paste and whisk again.
Transfer to a fridge safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill for 4 hours over overnight before putting in the ice cream machine. The colder the base can be, the better the ice cream will yield in the final product.
Wash and hull your strawberries and place them in a blender. Blend until completely smooth.
Using a fine mesh strainer, pour the strawberry puree into a fridge safe bowl through the strainer to remove any small seeds from the strawberries.
Place the strawberry puree in the fridge to get it as cold as possible.
Turn on your ice cream maker, and add your milk mixture to the bowl. Let churn for roughly 10 minutes until soft serve consistency is reached. At this point, slowly spoon in your strawberry puree. You may have to add two spoonfuls of puree and wait for that to incoporate before you add more.
Continue adding your strawberry puree until it is fully incorporated. I added some at the last minute to leave "streaks" of strawberries.
In your ice cream storage containers, transfer the ice cream. Put in the freezer and let chill for an additional 2 hours or serve immediately if you want more of a soft serve consistency.