Super Easy No Churn Strawberry Ice Cream

All You Need:

1 1/2 - 2 lbs strawberries, fresh or frozen (hulled and halved)
1-2 Tablespoons white, granulated sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 can (14 oz) Sweetened, Condensed Milk
1-2 teaspoons vanilla
some sort of storage container, 7 cup capacity
food processor or blender
a hand or stand mixer helps, too

What You Do:

First things first, we need to heighten the flavor of the strawberries while also removing the majority of the water from them. I do this in a two-step process: 

I started by mixing my strawberries (I've used fresh and frozen) with sugar and placing them in the fridge to macerate. With fresh strawberries, this process can take 8-12 hours (or up to 24). With frozen strawberries, you're also wanting them to thaw, so it's best to give them a full 24 hours. 

After they have sat in sugar for 24 hours, drain them as much as possible. But do not rinse them! And blend them in a food processor or with a blender. I have blended them smooth, as well as left them "chunky". Both work well, depending on what your preference is for the ice cream.

Once all the strawberries are pureed, the puree needs to be reduced down to a less watery consistency with a stronger flavor. Using a saucepan works, but a wide pan (like a dutch oven) is faster. Simmer the puree over medium-high heat until it can be mounded in the pan without spreading back out. It's going to look thick and gloopy and wrong, but it's right, I promise.

This cooked for another 5 minutes before I put it in the bowl to cool completely (for reference).

Once the puree has cooled completely, we can start putting the ice cream base together. Mix the sweetened, condensed milk, the vanilla, and the puree together. Vigorously fold them and semi-whip them. You want to aerate the mixture a bit while ensuring that all the ingredients are fully incorporated. 

In a separate bowl, pour in your heavy whipping cream. I hope you have a hand mixer at least, because hand whipping to stiff peaks is rough on the shoulder. Mix until stiff peaks form. With a hand mixer on high, it takes me between 3-6 minutes, depending on the humidity and ambient temperature of the house. It does help to chill your beaters and bowl in advance, but you don't have to.

At this point, we want to mix the flavor base with the whipped cream without mixing all the air out of the whipped cream. I accomplish this by slowly mixing in a "dollop" at a time at first. Scoop up a glob of whipped cream, slowly and carefully fold it into the strawberry puree mixture until it is full incorporated. I do this about 5-6 times.

After incorporating about half of the whipped cream this way, I go ahead and tip in the rest and gently fold it in. Some streaking is okay. Remember: it doesn't have to be perfect!

Once you get this part done, it's all down to freezing. Spread the mixture into a freezer-safe container with an air tight lid. Smooth the top as much as possible and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit on top. Press all the air out of the parchment paper, secure the lid, and freeze the ice cream for at least 3 hours.

Once ready to eat, allow to sit out for about 5-10 minutes before scooping. 

The Wordy Bit

I absolutely love ice cream, and I am ridiculously picky about it. I've tried the "nice creams" made with bananas and avocados and blueberries...and while they make a decent sorbet-style frozen treat, they are NOT ice cream. Ice cream is creamy and sweet and borderline decadent. That's exactly what this is! Except that you don't have to make a custard, you don't have to have an ice cream machine, and you can make it anytime!

Before I started experimenting with this, I was highly considering just caving and getting an ice cream machine. Or, at the very least, the ice cream maker attachment for my stand mixer. However, I read some bad reviews about the latter, so I just kept looking for techniques and ideas to try. Now, don't get me wrong, I love gelato...but I don't want gelato all the time, and I don't like the idea of having a custard base in all my ice creams. This method (I've made twice now, successfully) gives a consistent flavor and consistency result with no iciness--well, minimal iciness if you want to leave larger chunks of strawberry, but that's to be expected. 

After this batch is gone, I'm going to try swapping the strawberry puree out for a chocolate emulsion. I'm thinking about melting some chocolate and mixing in some cocoa powder. We do lots of dark chocolate treats in our house (hence, the brownies and chocolate chip cookies), so I'm hoping to make an indulgently dark chocolate ice cream. I'll definitely update with that in the future. 

And I know I said last week I was going to start posting about painting, too, but the weather wasn't conducive to painting where I am, so maybe I'll cycle that in starting next week. 


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