In one of my flower beds, I’ve managed to sneak in a few strawberry plants. In fact, most of my flower beds are fast becoming loaded with fruit. So much so, that the Pete Seeger refrain, Where have all the flowers gone?, frequently crops up in my mind when I’m out gardening.
Those strawberries of mine valiantly produce every year, but the birds (or slugs) tend to get to them before me. I think I’ve finally found a solution for guarding them – other than unsightly florescent green netting draped over bamboo stakes. But, meantime, there is a wonderful city farm nearby where you can pick your own. Best of both worlds – farm fresh, but without having to cope with the pest problem.
Strawberries have a long season here in Britain – running from South to North, from Kent and Sussex and ending with small Scottish strawberries months later. We indulge in strawberry heaven most of the summer.
No-churn Strawberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Caramel
I have two ice cream makers – the manual churning type – that simply collect dust on the shelf. These require freezing the special churning containers in advance and take up a lot space in the freezer (more space than I usually have). So when I saw this method doing the rounds, it seemed ideal. Pairing strawberries with balsamic is nothing new, but I wanted to try it in as an unusual addition in ice cream.
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 oz.) butter
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 250g. (approximately 2 cups) strawberries
- 1 Tablespoon castor sugar
- 2-1/2 cups (600ml) double cream
- 14 oz. (397g.) tin condensed milk
Make your balsamic caramel sauce by melting the butter and brown sugar in a wide pan on medium heat. I used a large frying pan. Once the sugar dissolves and there are no crystals left in the pan, slowly add the 1/4 cup milk. Let the mixture bubble and thicken (about 6 to 7 minutes). Add the vinegar, stir and continue cooking for another 2 minutes. Then, remove from heat and add the salt. Let the mixture completely cool.
While waiting for the balsamic caramel to cool, make the ice cream. First, clean, hull and chop your strawberries. Place in a bowl with the castor sugar. Mash with a potato masher and set the strawberries aside.
In a mixer bowl, put the cream and condensed milk. Using a whisk attachment, beat until soft peaks form. Fold in the strawberries and put into a freezer container or a loaf pan. Dot on the balsamic caramel and with a knife, cut into the mixture, drawing the knife back and forth in a zig-zag fashion to distribute the caramel and to break it down into bits.
Cover with clingfilm directly on the cream, and if there is a lid to the container, put this on as well. Freeze for at least 5 hours. Scoop out and serve with additional strawberries.
Notes & Evaluation:
The ice cream was nice and creamy – certainly no need to churn. However, next time, I will increase the amount of strawberries in the mix – perhaps even double. The balsamic caramel is a real keeper and added bits of contrasting flavor and texture.