Saturday, August 15, 2009

Strawberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Reduction, Cracked Pepper and a Sprig of Rosemary

All those ingredients and there's no added sugar.

Did you know that we could all use less sugar in our lives? Of course you did.

And did you also know that ice cream doesn't have to be so darn sweet? It's true.

If you make your own ice cream you can play with the ingredients. Just like I've done here. Balsamic vinegar and strawberries go together like milk and cookies. And I love the bite that cracked peppercorns gives to ice cream. The rosemary sprig was a last minute inspiration.

I used all Splenda because I wanted to exclude all sugar except for what occurs naturally in the strawberries and the milk products. And I wanted to see if I could discern that very slight splenda taste that sometimes can be detected in desserts. I think the balsamic reduction worked its magic as I can detect no splenda taste in this ice cream. That said, please use sugar if you wish. The measurement is the same.

And one more thing: If you have very, very sweet strawberries, you can lower the splenda or sugar to as little as 1/4 cup. Try it and see if it doesn't taste wonderfully of strawberries, not sugar, which is the purpose of making your own ice cream, isn't it?

Strawberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Reduction, Cracked Pepper and Rosemary
Christine's original recipe
4 heaping cups fresh strawberries
4 packets (1 teaspoon) Splenda
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup Splenda granular
2 cups 2% milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns (See Cook's Notes)
1 tablespoon (more if you wish) balsamic vinegar reduction (See Cook's Notes)
1 4-inch sprig fresh rosemary

Remove the stem ends from the strawberries and cut them into quarters, dropping them into a large bowl as you do so.
Sprinkle the berries with the splenda from packets, toss and let sit for 1/2 hour so the berries can juice up.
Purée the strawberries in a food processor until smooth. It will be thick. Transfer to a large measuring cup (you should have about 3 1/4 cups of purée) and place in the refrigerator to chill.
Heat the milk and the cracked peppercorns to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium-low; small bubbles will form at the edges. Do not let it boil.
Meanwhile, using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and the splenda granular on high until the mixture is pale yellow and thickened.
When the milk is ready, remove it from the heat and pour about 1/3 of it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly so the eggs don't curdle.
Return the milk-egg mixture to the saucepan of milk, whisking to blend.
Place over medium-low heat and stir constantly until it reaches a simmer and the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon. You should be able to make a track through it with your finger. Do not allow this to boil or it will curdle and you will have to begin over again. And that would be a bummer.
Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour the custard into a large glass bowl or measuring cup (I have an 8-cup measure that is perfect for this task.)
Whisk in the balsamic reduction and the strawberry puree, whisking until the custard and the strawberries are uniformly blended.
Take the rosemary sprig and swirl it into the custard, leaving it there.
Chill the custard until very cold, overnight is best.
When ready to make ice cream, remove the rosemary sprig, whisk the custard just a bit to re-blend, then process in your machine according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Cook's Notes:
This is excellent served soft right out of the ice cream maker. Or you can pack it in an airtight freezer-proof container and freeze for several hours. Remove it from the freezer at least 15 minutes before you wish to serve it.

Be sure to press a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap onto the ice cream before placing the lid on, as it will keep ice crystals from forming.

I put my peppercorns into a mortar and gently pound them with the pestle until they are coarsely cracked. Using this method, I can control just how coarse or fine I want them to be.

Balsamic reduction, or syrup, is easily made by bringing a cup of good balsamic vinegar to a boil over medium-high heat. When it has reached boiling, turn the heat down to medium and allow the vinegar to simmer until it has reduced by two-thirds. Remove from the heat and allow it to cool for a bit. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Copyright © 2005-2009, Christine Cooks. All rights reserved


  1. Fantastic. I wish I was there tasting it.

  2. Hi Cynthia and Kalyn. I'm so glad you like the ice cream.

  3. Christine, I swear, you MUST do an ice cream cookbook. I can see it now: Elegant layouts with a script for the header and a slender san serif for the text. Perhaps a thin gold line around the photos and sidebars. I am thinking of a name...

  4. Maybe you and I should collaborate, Mimi. Your description has me wanting to see it in print! :)

  5. This icecream looks so fabuloys!!

    I can nearly taste it trough my MAC!!


  6. Delicious-looking presentation.


  7. Thank you Sophie. I enjoyed visiting your blog.

    Thank you too, dear Paz!

  8. love the idea with the pepper and the vinegar. sure makes ist a very special ice cream.

  9. Two of my favorites molded into one~you made it look so easy! i don't know if i could do this without eating all of it! Your ice cream looks really creamy...a perfect dessert!

  10. Thanks Jann. I do love making ice cream. And who says I don't eat at least half of it? There's only me and Mr CC here..... :)


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