Fresh or Frozen
Isn’t strawberry season glorious? There are so many things to do with this fruit, and when you pick them yourself or buy them at a farmer’s market, you don’t need to do anything to them. Well, maybe just remove the green tops and add a bit of sweetened cream. And, because I sometimes get hungry for strawberries out of season, this roasted strawberry ice cream recipe works beautifully with frozen berries. A teaspoon of rose water takes this dessert to a new level, though a teaspoon of vanilla is also delicious. The inspiration for roasting fruit for ice cream came from David Lebovitz’s blog of the same name. He is an American living in Paris and has written ten well-regarded cookbooks, including “The Perfect Scoop” on ice cream.
No-Churn Ice Cream
No-churn ice cream is all the rage these days, and I wanted to see what all the excitement was about. I first settled on a strawberry ice cream churned in the usual way, which gives a sweet and creamy, perfect ice cream. The instructions for that method are listed below. On the no-churn front, I discovered that conventional wisdom dictates that a no-churn ice cream recipe must have a combination of heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk. So my first no-churn trial used the condensed milk that I had: Eagle Brand’s caramel flavored sweetened condensed milk. I know that strawberries and caramel are a good pairing, but in this case, the caramel completely overwhelmed the strawberries.
In the next no-churn experiment, I wanted to see if I needed sweetened condensed milk at all. What if I didn’t have it on hand and wanted to make ice cream with the no-churn method? I made no-churn ice cream using the same ingredients as with the machine churned recipe. Yes, it was eatable but pretty icy and I probably wouldn’t make it again. Sweetened condensed milk is used in place of churning to make ice cream creamy. You will have a slightly denser but still pleasing texture compared with churned ice cream. Similar to gelato, and what is bad about that?
Bottom line: you do not need an ice cream machine to make very good homemade ice cream. The method of aerating the milk and cream in the blender (food processor or mixer), combined with the sweetened condensed milk, milk powder, and alcohol all help make no-churn ice cream a smooth and creamy treat.
Eggless & No Pre-Chill Time
What I especially love about this recipe is that because it is eggless, I don’t need to cook the milk and cream mixture on top of the stove. I do strongly recommend that you roast your fruit, however. This step prevents the strawberries from becoming fruity ice pockets, and roasting the berries intensifies the strawberry flavor. Even with less than perfect fresh or frozen specimens, your ice cream will still be yummy. I also like that you don’t need to “age” or pre-chill the ice cream before churning.
Two Texture Helpers
Whether you go churn or no-churn, I recommend that you add two tablespoons each of milk powder (dried milk to most of us) and some sort of alcohol. The milk powder helps to give your homemade ice cream a pleasing creamy texture. And the alcohol keeps it from freezing as hard as a rock like homemade ice cream tends to do. Vodka or white rum are two neutral options, and if you want a pairing to enhance the berries, you might consider Cointreau for an orange twist, a banana liqueur might be fun, or even your favorite brandy won’t go amiss.
Have Fun with Garnishes
One of the outside-of-box garnishes that surprised me was how good a light dusting of toasted, ground Sichuan peppercorns is. I know not everyone keeps this spice stocked in their pantry, but I encourage you to try it if you do. I always feel the need for some texture with whatever I am eating, sweet or savory, so I always top my ice creams with nuts. And if feeling especially indulgent, some crumbled cookies like my cardamom cookies with rose water, or pretzels. The combo of pretzels and ice cream is a favorite food memory from my childhood. If you haven’t tried it, you must!
I hope you make roasted strawberry ice cream and put your twist on it. Both the churn and no-churn methods give you a memorable strawberry ice cream. And if you are happy with a soft-serve consistency, you can be eating ice cream in 3ish hours; 4 to 5 hours tops. You will see how easy it is, and your friends and family will be so impressed.
See the Notes below before you cook.
Roasted Strawberry Ice Cream (No Churn)
Roast the Fruit
- 12 ounces strawberries ~ Up to 16 ounces, fresh or frozen
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup ~ Or one tablespoon granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice ~ Or limes juice, or balsamic vinegar
Ice Cream Base
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 cup full-fat milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon rose water ~ Or 1/4 tsp rose essence, or 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon sea or table salt
- 2 tablespoons milk powder ~ Optional
- 2 tablespoons vodka ~ Light rum or see Notes below; Optional
- Sichuan peppercorns ~ Toasted and ground for sprinkling
- nuts ~ Toasted or not, chopped or not
- crumbled cookies, pretzels, or graham crackers
- dried rose petals
Make Churned Ice Cream
- Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Meanwhile, gather your ingredients for roasting: strawberries, maple syrup or sugar, and lemon juice. Hull and halve or quarter the strawberries depending on the size. In a medium-sized bowl, stir the syrup or sugar, the lemon juice, and the strawberries together.
- In a baking dish roughly 11' x 7' or 9' x 9', spread the strawberries evenly in one layer. Roast until the strawberries shrink and the juices thicken. This process will take 30 to 45 minutes, depending on whether the berries are fresh or frozen.. Stir at the 15-minute mark and again 15 minutes later. Start checking more frequently. See the Notes below on recommended pan sizes.
- Move the roasted strawberries from the pan and into the food processor, scraping and mixing in all those delicious juices. Allow the roasted strawberries to cool. This step can be done a couple days ahead. Meanwhile, measure all the other ingredients. Add to the blender, a 1/2 cup of the milk. Process for a minute or until the strawberries are broken down.
- Add the rest of the milk, cream, sugar, salt, rose water or vanilla, and the milk powder and alcohol, if using. Blend for 2 to 3 minutes on high, until you have a foamy texture somewhere between a milkshake (thick pancake batter) and soft peaks whipped cream. You will see the mixture increase in volume as you go, and this is a good thing. If you blend the base too long you will have denser ice cream and, even farther still, you might even have the beginnings of butter.
- Taste this mixture for sweetness and rose water or vanilla, and add more to your taste. I find many ice cream recipes call for 3/4 cup of sugar, but I think 1/2 a cup is perfect.
- Pour the ice cream into the ice cream maker and follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.
- Using sweetened condensed milk: follow the ingredients and method above EXCEPT use one can of sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces) and skip the 1/2 cup sugar.
Finishing the Ice Cream
- You will have approximately 1 quart of ice cream. Store it in air-tight containers in the freezer. If you love soft serve ice cream, for the churned method you may have soft-serve immediately. For no-churn ice cream, start checking the texture after 2 hours in the freezer.
- For solid scoopable ice cream, take a peek in 3 to 4 hours, and for firm ice cream, wait 5 hours or more. If the ice cream is frozen firm, take it out of the freezer 30 minutes before you want to serve it for easier scooping. Garnish or not, as you wish. See some ideas listed above in the ingredients section.
- Alcohol flavoring ideas: Besides neutral options like vodka or white or light rum, you might consider orange-flavored Cointreau, banana liqueur, or even your favorite brandy.
- About the optional milk powder and alcohol: These two ingredients help make the texture creamier (milk powder) and the alcohol prevents the ice cream from freezing into a rock-hard brick. These are optional ingredients, but if you skip the alcohol, your ice cream will be much harder. If you skip the milk powder, the final result will be icier and not as creamy.
- Another texture helper: The quicker you freeze the ice cream the less likely ice crystals will form. If you have room in the freezer, you can divide the ice cream and chill in 2 to 3 smaller containers.
- If you want to make your own condensed milk, visit Robyn Stone's blog add a pinch to see how to make condensed milk at home.
- Roasting pan size: If you use a pan too large, the juices that seep out along the margins will begin to burn.
- Other fruits to try with the roasting method: peaches, apples, nectarines, and plums.
- Instead of a blender, use a stand mixer: You will need to puree the fruit in a personal blender or food processor. Then use the same method as with the blender.
- Instead of a blender, use a food processor: Use the same process as with the blender. Keep an eye on the thickness of the mixture and be sure not to overprocess.