Sunday, May 31, 2009

Ice Cream Sunday

Early last year I started a book club at work, which has been very successful and fun. In addition to reading and discussing a book each month, we meet over a potluck lunch. I typically bring dessert, mostly because everyone requests that I be in charge of that course (no one else in my department really bakes much). One month we were reading something where the main character was of Italian descent, and I decided that, because it was summer and I didn't feel like turning on my oven, I would make some sort of ice cream.

I'm pretty sure that this was during June, because I had a refrigerator full of Michigan strawberries and needed something to do with them. In my opinion, Michigan strawberries are so much better than the big California strawberries that are available in stores right now. They have so much more flavor, and are a much deeper red throughout. So, given that I wanted to make ice cream and I had a bunch of strawberries, I made this strawberry gelato. It was so well received that there was some discussion of finding room in some budget to pay me to make gelato once a week. I hope you all enjoy it just as much!

Strawberry Gelato

4 egg yolks
1 c. granulated sugar
2 c. whole milk
2 c. pureed strawberries (about 3 c. whole strawberries) (best if made at the height of the strawberry season)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until thickened and pale yellow. Set aside.
Strain pureed strawberries to remove seeds. Push on the solids to get as much of the puree/juice as possible.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring milk to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Gradually whisk into the egg mixture. Return entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring often, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Be careful (really, really careful or else you have to start over - I know this from experience) not to let it boil. Strain into a large, clean bowl. Let cool to room temperature.
Stir in the strawberry puree and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until completely cold or overnight. Stir the milk mixture and transfer into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 3 to 4 hours, or until firm.

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