When Strawberry Ice Cream came up on the “Food Holiday” list I thought it very odd.  Ice cream in January? Really?  I considered taking Deanna’s lead and arbitrarily assigning a different food more akin to my own tastes for today.  Ultimately I decided that I had to stay true to the spirit of the Food Holiday principal and pull out the ice cream maker.

I can’t really complain.  Ice cream is not my favourite dessert, but I do enjoy it and I like making it.  I’ve made mango cardamom ice cream to follow curried prawns and scallops. Basil ice cream was the perfect accompaniment for a warm pear tart.  I’ve made eggnog and chai spice ice cream. Why never strawberry?  The other flavours seem so exotic yet there is a reason that strawberry ice cream is one of the best selling flavours in the history of ice cream and why strawberries are used to flavour just about everything from candy to cheesecake.  They’re low in calories, high in flavour and packed full of nutrition.  I make strawberry shortcake, strawberry salsa, and strawberry smoothies.  Clearly, the time is ripe for Strawberry Ice Cream.

No hand churning for me!

Well, not quite ice cream.  Technically, I made a sherbet.  No egg thickened custard, no hours waiting for the custard to chill, just a simple fruit puree and some milk.  Well, actually 18% table cream.  The best part of any good ice cream is the texture and you need fat to accomplish that.  However, I did use Splenda instead of sugar syrup so that my diabetic grandmother could have a bowl.

Sherbet is more of a procedure than a recipe.  Puree some fruit, sweeten and spice to taste, add milk and freeze.  Can’t get much easier than that!

Strawberry Sherbet

In a blender, puree:

  • 1 lb fresh strawberries (feel free to substitute frozen)
  • Juice and zest of one orange
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar syrup (or Splenda)

Strain puree through sieve to remove seeds.

Stir in:

  • About 2 cups whole milk (enough to total 4 cups of liquid)
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Pour into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.

Notes:

  • You can substitute the whole milk with low fat milk or half and half depending on your taste and dietary requirements. 
  • You can use almost any soft fruit as a substitute for the strawberries.  Try raspberries, blackberries, peaches, or cantaloupe.
  • To make sugar syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water in a sauce pan.  Heat until sugar is completely dissolved.  Let cool.
  • The more you churn, the creamier the texture, but you can do this without and ice cream maker.  Just place in a shallow dish and freeze, stirring periodically throughout freezing process. 

Perfect in its simplicity.

So there it is; strawberry ice cream on a cold, rainy January night.  In the end it was worth the effort.  The bright flavours of the strawberries were a nice conclusion to the robust flavours of the chicken curry we had for dinner.  I think I’ll assign strawberry sherbet a more prominent spot in my no-fuss-dessert catalogue though it might not make another appearance until summer.

Bon appétit.

Della

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