Welcome one and all. If you are here because you made sure to come and check out this week’s post because I told you to last week, yay! Thanks for listening!
Today is all about the strawberry. Everyone I am sure has some sort of fond memory with strawberries. For me, it was dipping strawberries into the sugar bowl when no one was looking. Today’s flavor is called Strawberry³ because it is strawberry ice cream with chunks of fresh strawberries and swirls of strawberry jam. Lets get started!
Another strawberry memory I have is picking them. In the fields, crouched over and finding the perfect berry under the heavy cover of leaves. Once you eat a sun-warmed strawberry out in the field, you will never want to go back to the store-bought strawberries that are as big as your hand. If you haven’t gone picking, put it on your bucket list. All you need is yourself and an appetite because you will end up picking more than you know you ever wanted.
This year I would have to go to a brand new farm, rather than the ones I am used to in PA. I chose a farm in Ripon, which allowed me to drive along some beautiful Wisconsin country roads on a sunny day. I had all my windows rolled down and the Lumineers blasting. It was just blissful. The farm was well-organized and I loved it. I picked around 10 pounds of perfect strawberries and snacked on them the whole way home. Now was time to concoct the perfect strawberry ice cream recipe.
There is a great debacle when it comes to strawberry ice cream. Although it is the third Neapolitan flavor, it is hard to master. The main thing is that I couldn’t follow my normal method with this ice cream. It was very important that this be a Philadelphia type ice cream, which means no eggs. Eggs would have taken over the flavor and made it altogether too thick and creamy. Strawberry ice cream was sent by God to be light and fruity, not heavy. Also, if the strawberries were cooked, it would give a whole different profile to the finished ice cream. It would resemble a creamy jam, with that cooked flavor. They would have to remain fresh, as if they were just picked and plopped into the pint.
Now comes to the strawberry chunks. Because they are about 92% water, they would turn into ice cubes. Nobody wants that kind of chunk in their scoop. Instead I would soak them in alcohol to keep them soft in freezing.
The jam would be pretty simple. I would just cook up the strawberries and let them thicken with some cornstarch and lemon juice, no gelatin required. So, this was looking to be a pretty time-consuming flavor to make, but I just knew deep in my bones it would be spectacularly worth it.
Experimental Apparatus and Procedure
First things first, I would have to pick those strawberries. I am not kidding when I say I feel the deepest level of peace when I am on the farm. The list of peaceful places for me probably goes as follows: the beach, Lake George, farms and Colorado. I could sit out there for hours riding the tractor around or leisurely picking strawberries. It was just perfection.
The best recommendation for soaking the strawberries was Cointreau, but as someone newly 21, this was impossible to find. I have no idea where to look in the liquor store. Turns out they were out of stock, so I just got Triple Sec instead. I sliced the strawberries into small chunks, added sugar and the Triple Sec and let them soak for at least 2 hours. It ended up to be almost 10, but that comes later.
My new blender is getting a great workout recently, because I had to puree the strawberries. Then they had to be strained to get the solids and seeds out. It would’ve taken hours for it to all strain through if I hadn’t pushed it through with a spatula. The rest would be simple, just add some half and half and corn syrup and churn it up.
I heated up the half and half to pasteurize it, following my boss’s recommendation. So I let it reach 170 degrees for 30 seconds before taking it off the stove and pouring into the strawberry puree. As soon as I stirred it though, it started to form little clumps. And it smelled weird. I am pretty sure I curdled the half and half and the ruined my gorgeous puree.
This meant it was time to start over.
Round two was much smoother. Except that I ran out of half and half and corn syrup which required two separate trips to the grocery store. I think it was around 10 pm before I got around to churning.
How was the jam, you ask? Easy peasy. It made itself, and I let it cool and set for hours before swirling it in.
Churning was simple, and as it did so I realized I have made 3 pink ice creams in a row. And next week I was planning on making another. My freezer was about to turn into Russian Roulette of pink ice creams.
As I swirled everything in the pint, I gave it a quick spoonful of a taste. Oh. My. Word. It tasted just like a giant strawberry got squished into a pint container. I was very very impressed. If it wasn’t so late at night, I would have had a dish of soft serve right then.
Who can resist a well made strawberry ice cream? I’ll admit that it might not be the most exciting flavor if you were looking over a glass panel of tubs. It is more of an underdog flavor, for those who are craving a wholesome and realistic strawberry flavored ice cream. I thoroughly think it would win over the hearts of those who say they aren’t strawberry ice cream fans.
The experience of making this ice cream ranged from pure peace to aggravation, but in the end, I am proud. My sweat and near tears went into this ice cream (not literally, don’t worry) and I hope people enjoy it as much as I do. My ice cream shop’s mission statement will be simple: ice cream = peace and love.
Work is still fun, don’t worry. I look forward to slipping on my boots everyday and cooking up things in the lab. I do not believe I will get used to people being so kind to me. In typical Pennsylvania girl fashion, I am leery of a stranger being nice. In Wisconsin, that is just a normal Tuesday.
I am slowly hearing myself say some things with a Midwestern accent. I will have people all mixed up with my mutt of a voice: Philadelphia with touches of New Jersey and Wisconsin.
My fun fact is probably old news to some of you. I am the proud owner of a commercial sized soft served ice cream. This baby of mine is about 750 pounds and has made me smile for weeks now. I got a deal and bought it. Now I just have to figure out how to get this monster home. It’s been a journey, but I can promise you that it will be in my ice cream shop one day. The best memento I could have from this amazing state.
Life is good right now. Lab is so far from my mind and tests don’t even exist. I wish I had more to discuss with y’all, but I am just happy plain and simple. Tune in next week for another special flavor. I think you’ll like it, it converted me to a new food. Curious what I am talking about?? Come back soon! Scoop ya later!