Certain phrases are like a siren’s song for a person who loves to cook.
Well-marbled sirloin. Fresh peaches. Double-thick pork chop.
They make you salivate. They make you drop what you’re doing and drive you into the kitchen on a single-minded mission. “Perfect No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream”—a recipe in this month’s Gourmet magazine—did just that to me.
When I finished the short article, I hunted around until I found my clogs, then made a bee-line for the back door to go track down some berries. No matter that we just moved and could barely see each other over the sea of boxes at the new Mouse House. I needed to make some ice cream. It was urgent.
The Angry Chef protested. “Ice cream? But Mouse, shouldn’t we be…?” (Fill in the blank. Unpacking. Organizing. Putting away my 10,000 pairs of shoes.)
“Yes! Right after I make this stuff. Gourmet says it doesn’t take long. Like 10 minutes. They say it’s perfect!”
(Have I mentioned that, even though I work in advertising, I’m ridiculously susceptible to suggestion?)
Happily, the article was accurate. This ice cream is really easy to throw together. The hard part is waiting for it to freeze completely, which takes a few hours.
I managed to locate the closest grocery store (thanks to the magic of GPS navigation on my iPhone), and made it back with a pound of good-looking strawberries in no time.
While I was out, The Angry Chef kindly fished around and found my ice cream maker, which is cherry red, making it relatively easy to locate in the mountains of cooking gear stacked in our back room.
About Philadelphia-Style Ice Cream
So, ice cream falls into two basic categories.
There’s custard-based ice cream, which starts out with a cooked egg custard. It’s rich and delicious, and is the stuff that most Americans think of first when they think of ice cream. It takes a little longer to make, and involves babysitting a mixture of eggs and milk over a water bath to be sure that it thickens enough—but not so much that it breaks into a curdle-y mess.
Then there’s Philadelphia-style ice cream—a.k.a. American-style or New York-style—which skips the custard altogether and is made from a simpler, uncooked mixture of cream, sugar, and flavorings. This kind of ice cream is completely eggless, which makes the texture lighter and the flavor more delicate than custard-based ice cream.
This particular No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream tastes exactly (no, really…exactly) like frozen strawberry whipped cream. I suppose because that’s basically what it is. And because you only puree half the mixture, it’s dotted with bonus bits of luscious berries.
Since there are only a few ingredients, be sure to use the ripest strawberries you can get your paws on.
A tip for serving No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream
While delicious, this ice cream is a wee bit chalky (weird, I know) when it’s frozen rock solid. Before serving, leave it on the counter for a few minutes to let it soften up, and it will loosen up a wee bit, making it much easier to scoop.
No-Cook Strawberry Ice Cream
Recipe from Gourmet Magazine, August 2009
1 lb. strawberries, trimmed + cut in half
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. lemon juice
pinch of salt
2 cups heavy cream
Makes about 1 1/2 quarts
Make the strawberry ice cream mixture
Grab your berries. Nip the stems off, cut them in half, and put them in a medium-sized bowl.
Toss in the sugar and the salt.
Add the lemon juice.
With a potato masher (a couple of forks would work, too), mash the berries up with the sugar.
Let the mixture sit on the counter for about 10 minutes, mashing occasionally. After a few minutes, the berries will start to let out their juice, which will combine with the sugar and make a heavenly syrup.
After about 10 minutes, your berry mixture should look about like this:
Pour about half of it into your blender. Add the cream.
Blend until smooth.
Combine the puree and the rest of the berry mixture in a bowl.
Mix to combine well.
At this point, Gourmet tells you to chill the mixture for 3 to 6 hours.
This is to be sure that your ingredients are thoroughly cold when they go into your ice cream maker. Now, my cream was cold. And so were my berries. Which meant that my mixture was cold. So, I skipped this step. (If your mixture isn’t cold, pop it in the fridge until it is.)
Plus, I really didn’t want to wait. Siren’s song, and all that.
Freeze the strawberry ice cream
Pour the berries and cream mixture into your ice cream maker.
Process according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For my Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker, this means running the machine for about 25 minutes.
After a while, the mixture should get thicker, and look kind of like soft serve ice cream.
When it’s done, it should look about like this. Give it a taste or two. (If you’re like me, you’ll need a whole custard-cup full to ensure that it’s, um, good.)
Scoop the ice cream out into freezer-safe container. I like to use a stainless steel 1-lb. loaf pan.
Smoosh it down with a rubber spatula so that it’s relatively flat.
Press a piece of plastic wrap onto the surface and pop it into the freezer.
In a few hours (overnight, at worst), your ice cream should be frozen solid.
Enjoy your ice cream!
Like I said earlier, this stuff is a little chalky in consistency when it’s frozen solid. Leave it out on the counter for a few minutes to let it thaw slightly to normal ice cream consistency.
Inhale and enjoy!