Warmer weather is finally here and that can only mean one thing–ice cream! Though for some of us, eating ice cream is a year-round pleasure (guilty), there’s nothing like celebrating the arrival of the summer season with a scoop of something yummy. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with traditional ice cream flavors, why not shake it up with something a little outside of the box? Luckily, we’re in the throes of strawberry season so finding some ripe, juicy berries won’t be hard at all.
This ice cream definitely flies in the face of most familiar ice cream recipes and, though it may sound quirky (read: totally weird), it’s delicious and guaranteed to become one of your favorites. The addition of black pepper gives the ice cream a bit of a spicy/savory kick that serves as a perfect complement to the overall sweetness. Did you know that salt and pepper actually pair really well with fruit and desserts? Both condiments work with your tastebuds to enhance the sweet flavor–gotta love science, right?
So, first things first–you must roast the strawberries, add a few ingredients and then follow your ice cream maker’s instructions to put everything together. Honestly, the hardest part of this recipe is waiting for the ice cream to freeze.
ROASTED STRAWBERRY AND BLACK PEPPER ICE CREAM
To roast the strawberries
2 pints strawberries, hulled and quartered
2 tablespoons agave nectar (or sweetener of choice, like honey, sugar, etc.)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine strawberries and agave (or sweetener of choice) in a large baking dish and mix together.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until soft and bubbling.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
To make the ice cream
3 c. half-and-half
2 c. sugar
1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. ShopRite vanilla extract)
A few turns of coarse black pepper from a pepper mill (or to taste)
9 whole large egg yolks
3 c. heavy cream
2 pints roasted strawberries
2 tbsp sugar
Stir together the half-and-half and 2 cups sugar in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Split the vanilla bean, scrape out the insides, and add it to the mixture (or add the vanilla extract). Add the black pepper. Heat the mixture until it’s hot but not simmering or boiling.
In a large bowl, beat the egg yolks vigorously with a whisk until they start to lighten in color, about 2 minutes.
Next, grab a ladle of the hot half-and-half mixture and very slowly drizzle it into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking the whole time. (The purpose of this is to temper the egg yolks; be careful not to allow them to curdle.) Repeat with a second ladle of hot half-and-half mixture, making sure to whisk the whole time.
Pour the tempered yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the half-and-half mixture and stir gently with a wooden spoon for 2 to 4 minutes, cooking it slowly until it’s thick enough to coat the spoon.
Pour the thick liquid through a fine mesh strainer and into a clean bowl. Add the heavy cream to the bowl and stir gently to combine. Refrigerate this mixture for 2 hours, or until chilled.
Meanwhile, combine the strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a blender. Puree until smooth (or you can stop just short of smooth if you want a little texture.) Pour the pureed strawberries into the chilled custard mixture and stir.
Now pour this mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze it according to its directions. (You may have to do it in two batches depending on its size.) After it freezes, transfer it to a freezer-safe container and freeze it for at least 4 hours, or until frozen firm.