V’s Vinegar Encounter (or the Best Strawberry Ice Cream Ever)

September 16, 2009

Strange as it may seem in the middle of September (when the only shades that graced our August skies were those of grey and greyer), the sun is actually shining today, the sky is blue and it feels like summer again. So what could be more summery than strawberries and cream?

Well, possibly Strawberry (and Balsamic Vinegar) Ice Cream. You get the strawberries and the cream but then make it all so much better by making them into ice cream. Before today, I – unlike H – had never made this ice cream. Unacquainted as I was with the ways of Italian gourmets and as one who recoils at most of Heston Blumenthal’s inventions, when H told me we were going to ruin enhance our ice cream with balsamic vinegar, I was horrified as only an ice-cream-lover who has been promised the best ever strawberry ice cream can be. It is with my own reaction in mind that I, unlike the recipe book from which this fabulous recipe came (‘Ices’ by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir (Grub Street, 1995)), put ‘and Balsamic Vinegar’ in brackets, lest anyone should not attempt this recipe and miss out on what truly did reveal itself to be the best strawberry ice cream ever!

For, today I made an invaluable discovery which has forced me to eat humble ice cream (in large quantities). By adding balsamic vinegar to the strawberries – along with a little sugar – one does not end up with a sweet-and-sour frozen experiment. Instead, the balsamic vinegar brings out the flavour of the strawberries so that the ice cream tastes like pure strawberries – it really is so, so strawberry-y – but with no vinegar aftertaste whatsoever. At the moment, the mixture is busy freezing (tastes were, of course, necessary when transferring the ice cream from the ice-cream maker to its box) and because we made so much that even the ice cream maker thought we’d overdone it, I will need to take it out in an hour or so and give it a further whisk with an electric beater. No doubt this will create some drips on the worktop that only a highly undedicated and irresponsible ice-cream-lover would allow to be swept by kitchen towel into oblivion…

This is all you need - all the components of the best strawberry ice cream!

This is all you need - all the components of the best strawberry ice cream!

 

Well, after all that build up, I suppose you’d like the recipe. We used the metric measurements, but – as Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir were kind enough to provide three versions, I’ll share those as well so that everyone the world over can enjoy this magnificent ice cream.

 

Ingredients

450g / 1 lb  Fresh Strawberries
150g / ¾ cup / 5 ¼ oz Caster/Ultra Fine Sugar
1 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
150ml / ½ cup plus 2 tbsp / 5 ¼ fl oz Whipping/ Heavy Cream (36% fat)

Makes about 875ml/3½ cups/28 fl oz

 

Method:

  1. Wash and hull strawberries, then dry thoroughly on kitchen towel
  2. Put strawberries in a food processor or blender, with the sugar
  3. Set the machine in motion and add the balsamic vinegar through the lid or funnel.
  4. Continue to blend until the ingredients have combined to a smooth purée, then pour this into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours. (At this stage we’re told “The sugar and vinegar will bring out the flavour of the fruit”   Hooray!)
  5. When ready, combine the strawberry purée and cream and either still freeze* or start the ice cream machine.
  6. If using the ice cream machine, pour mixture into the machine and leave to churn until the ice cream has the consistency of softly whipped cream.
  7. Quickly scrape into plastic freezer boxes and cover with waxed/greaseproof paper and a lid.
  8. Finally label, then freeze.

Serving straight away? Allow to freeze for 1 hour until just firm enough to serve. According to the book, you should allow about 20 minutes in the fridge before serving if the ice cream has been frozen solid but we found this was not necessary (or bearable).

 

*Still Freezing. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, do not fear! After pouring the liquid mixture into a box, check after 1 – 1½ hours. The mixture should have frozen to a firm ring of ice around the sides and base of the box, with a soft slush in the centre. Either:

  • Beat for a few seconds with a sturdy electric hand beater until the mixture forms a uniform slush

or

  1. Quickly process in a food processor to a uniform slush.
  2. Quickly return the ice to the box, cover and put back in the freezer

 

    You’ll need to repeat this at least twice, every 1-1½ hours.

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One Response to “V’s Vinegar Encounter (or the Best Strawberry Ice Cream Ever)”


  1. […] choice of flavours (listed, though not available on our visit, was Balsamic Strawberry – see previous post for details of what a good thing this is).  Taste, ingredients, location, service, variety and […]


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