My pal Books holds these epic BBQs at her home every summer, and I've had the bad luck of having to work or have prior engagements every time she's invited me to one. UNTIL NOW.
In honor of my first Books BBQ, I wanted to make a really special dessert. Something with some luscious berries...and something that could use up the buttermilk that I used to make my friend Eric's birthday cake (Red Velvet with Cream Cheese).
A small digression about buttermilk, if you would indulge me....why the HELL do they only sell it in quarts?? I don't use that much buttermilk when I cook/bake and only a pint would suffice. The shelf life ain't that long either! HIGHWAY ROBBERY, I SAY. Whew, it was good to let that out.
So....Strawberry Buttermilk Balsamic Ice Cream, anyone? Now, originally, I used this recipe. But, I made a few changes.
First, the recipe says to puree the fruit, and put it in cheesecloth and drain for a half hour. Then, squeeze out the excess liquid (if your fruit is watery, it will make your ice cream icy and not creamy). I don't have cheesecloth at my house. I didn't have any clean white t-shirts around either (I've used a hanes/fruit of the loom/whatever brand cheap t-shirt, new of course, in lieu of cheese cloth before, and it worked okay). I also tried using a coffee filter...and that worked abysmally. So, I just used a metal strainer.
Then the recipe says to only heat up the buttermilk, salt, and sugar. A 1/2 cup of buttermilk...is not a lot. I was scared that I might burn the sugar, so I dumped in the heavy cream and heated both milks, plus salt and the sugar.
The recipe also pointed out that because buttermilk has a low fat content, the ice cream might come out icy regardless of how much wateriness I removed from the fruit. I wasn't trying to make ice milk! I wanted ICE CREAM. What other milk did I have that could give me some insurance? I panicked...I didn't really want to go up to the market for whole milk. The cupboard gave me my answer: evaporated milk!
Evaporated milk has had most of it's water removed, about 60%, so I figured that a little bit couldn't hurt. I decreased the amount of buttermilk by a tablespoon or so and put in of that. After that, it was was french style ice cream making as usual:
Mixing egg yolks :
Tempering them into the hot milk mix (add some of the hot liquid slowly to the eggs, making sure to whisk the entire time, then whisk in the warmed eggs into pot of hot milk):
And letting it thicken to the point where it coats the back of a spoon:
Obviously, I'm not being that detailed, so if you need a step by step breakdown, check out my earlier post about vanilla ice cream here.
I left the milk cool a little bit, and then added fresh lemon juice, vanilla, the strawberry puree, and the balsamic vinegar. I added a little more than the tablespoon asked for because I just love the stuff THAT MUCH.
How pretty does that look?
I made this ice cream on a Thurday, and I churned it late on Friday, which was the perfect amount of time to let this age in the fridge. After a 20 minute freezing session, I put it back into the plastic container, pressed some saran wrap onto it's surface to keep out funkiness, and covered it with its top. Stick in the freezer until it's rock solid.
I served it with Chocolate Buttermilk cake with cream cheese frosting and sliced strawberries....a perfect end to a food and fun-filled BBQ.
This is probably one of the best ice creams I've ever eaten. The texture wasn't icy in the slightest...in fact, it was almost like a frozen mousse. Rich, but light and smooth. The tang of the vinegar and buttermilk magnified the strawberries' summer flavor...it was a HUGE hit. Try it!