Strawberry Fields (Not Forever, Just For The Summer!)

Strawberries are in season.

It is, in my not at all humble opinion, the only right time of year to eat them – whenever they are in season where/near where you live, that is.   Although the ones shipped from far away can still look pretty in mid-winter, they sadly tend to have no aroma, and with strawberries, aroma is everything.  If they don’t smell good, they won’t taste good, since they have very little natural sugar, and, deconstructed, are essentially just some fiber, water, red pigment, a few vitamins and their utterly heavenly scent.

Now, to be honest, I am perfectly happy to eat them raw out of the box they came in.  Or chopped and splashed with cream.  Or with whipped cream if I have a spray can of that or can be bothered to whip it (though all right, it takes a couple of minutes max with an electric mixer!), but cream can be too cloying when it is hot and sunny out, and so one must come up with a solution.  For me, this is it.  It hardly takes longer to make than whipping the cream (well, you do need to let it freeze for a few hours, but that is no effort on your part unless your fridge runs off a hand crank!), and it is beyond worth the minimal effort (and the wait).

I won’t even begin to pretend that this is either low fat, low sugar or low calorie.  It’s none of those things, and it’s certainly not to be counted as one of your portions of fruit or veg a day.  No, this is sheer and utter indulgence, in all of its silky, creamy glory, and I am unapologetic for it.  Some things in life are not eaten for their health potential, but for the joy of them, and in that sense, I suppose this is rather substantially contributing to one’s mental well-being, but I’d be the last person to prescribe a 1L tub of ice cream to anyone as a depression treatment.  Eat this shamelessly, happily, as a celebration of summer and all the good things the world brings us to eat, or don’t eat it at all.

The basic ice cream recipe used here is based – loosely and with modifications – on Nigella Lawson’s no-churn ice cream recipes.  It is adjusted for using 40% whipping cream (she uses English double cream which is 48% fat, but you cannot get double cream here in Sweden unless you bother with a specialty store).  It can, in my view, stand being made with any none-too-acid fruit such as apricots, peaches, sweet mango, or possibly an aromatic pear.  I plan to experiment more as the summer goes by and all those come into their seasons.  And I do know this will work just as well with any sort of berries – raspberries or blueberries (wild if you can be bothered to pick!), and possibly blackberries as well (those tend to be more tart, but this does have enough sugar to compensate).  I haven’t tried making it with sea buckthorn or cloudberries (not a seasonal thought, but you can buy those here frozen – and they are hard to find fresh anywhere and anytime), but the thought has occurred to me now, and it is not easily dismissed.  Anyway, the strawberry heaven pictured above is simple and easy to make.

What you need:   (Yield ~ 1.3L of ice cream)

  • A working freezer.  One that goes to -18°C or below is advantageous here.
  • 1 – 2L worth of plastic tubs with airtight lids.  I used an empty Lindahls Mejeri Turkish yoghurt bucket and a smaller plastic tub I had around.
  • 500ml of 40% fat whipping cream, chilled
  • 150-175g (3dl) powdered sugar
  • 1dl (2 hugely heaping tablespoons) Turkish or Greek yoghurt.  I imagine the new Russian would work as well, so long as it’s 10% fat or over, and no less!
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar.  I use Dr. Oetker real vanilla one, but I guess vanillin-based one would also work (if maybe not quite as well)
  • 200-300g fresh, aromatic strawberries.

Here is what you do:

  • Blitz strawberries and vanilla sugar in a food processor.  If yours is large enough, add the powdered sugar and mix, otherwise tip into a bowl and whisk in powdered sugar.
  • Add yoghurt and whisk to combine.  Set aside.
  • Whip cream in a large mixing bowl until it forms soft peaks.  Slowly tip in strawberry-yoghurt mixture and continue whipping until the mixture is uniformly colored (in case of strawberries it turns out a lovely delicate pink) and stands up in fairly stiff waves.
  • Scrape into your tubs and freeze for 3-5 hours or until you are ready to eat it.

You can set the ice cream out of freezer (into fridge) for 15-25 min to take the worst of the chill off before serving, or just attack it with more gusto out the bucket the way I do.  Either way, it’s strawberry-cream heaven, and in my very humility-deficient opinion, one of the best things about the start of summer.

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