For those of you who follow me on Twitter, you recently heard about my earth-shattering experience with strawberry-chocolate covered pretzels (okay maybe not earth-shattering, but they were darn good). I discovered these little gems at a local speciality food store and they are my new favorite treat (besides ice cream). The little mouthfuls of goodness inspired me to make a strawberry and chocolate flavored ice cream.
I searched around for a good strawberry ice cream recipe, combined a few ideas, and with a little ingenuity I put together the ice cream recipe below. Instead of adding plain old chocolate chips, I decided to try out Stracciatella. Stacciatella is accomplished by melting chocolate and slowly adding the chocolate to the churning ice cream in a very thin stream. The result is small flecks of hard chocolate throughout the ice cream. The small pieces of chocolate quickly melt on your tongue and allow you to experience the full flavor of the ice cream and chocolate combined.
Now for the strawberries. Adding fruit to an ice cream recipe can be a bit complicated given the increased water content. I attempted to make some adjustments to the recipe to account for this increased water (increasing sugar, increasing corn starch for added water absorption, adding vodka for reduced freezing temperature), but the recipe still came out a little icey for my liking (once frozen). Good news, the strawberry taste is fantastic and the chocolate bits are a perfect accompaniment. So enjoy this recipe directly after churning, or be sure remove it from the freezer and allow it to sit out for about 5-10 minutes before scooping. Enjoy!
1 lb strawberries, hulled
2/3 + 1/8 cup sugar (157 g), divided
1 Tbsp vodka
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 oz cream cheese
1/8 cup rice syrup (you can also use corn syrup)
1/8 tsp salt
5 oz good quality chocolate (do not use chocolate chips)
Hull strawberries and place them in a small bowl with 1/3 + 1/8 cup sugar (92 g) and vodka, stirring until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
Fill a large bowl with ice water. In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch. In another large bowl, whisk the cream cheese until smooth.
Combine the remaining milk with heavy cream, remaining 1/3 cup sugar, and rice syrup in a large saucepan. Bring milk mixture to a boil. Cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves, 4 minutes. Remove from heat and off the heat, gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Return to a boil and cook over moderately high heat until the mixture is slightly thickened (draw a line on a spoon), about 1 minute. Remove from heat and pour in strawberry mixture. Use an immersion blender to blend ingredients. Be sure to blend strawberries well; too many large pieces of berries will turn into icey chunks in the ice cream.
Gradually pour the hot strawberry and milk mixture into the cream cheese and whisk until smooth. Whisk in salt. Set the bowl in the ice water bath, and let stand, stirring occasionally, until completely cold (or use the baggie trick and refrigerate until cold - see ice cream base).
Once chilled, pour ice cream base into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When near completion of churning, add Stracciatella (see below). Pack the ice cream into a plastic container when finished. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream (to prevent ice crystals) and close with an airtight lid. Freeze until firm, at least 4 hours.
Using a double boiler, melt chocolate until completely smooth. Transfer to a squeeze bottle or something else that will dispense the chocolate in a small stream. Just before churning is complete, slowly drizzle a small stream of warm chocolate into the churning ice cream. Try not to get the chocolate on the dasher. If the ice cream isn't moving very well, the chocolate may be getting caught, so move the ice cream away from the dasher using a spoon. If you have trouble with this method (or the opening of your ice cream maker is too small) you can also alternate layers of drizzled chocolate with finished ice cream as you scoop it into a container (don't stir too much or it will combine).