Guest Post: Collin’s Strawberry ice cream with honey-balsamic swirl

Dan “Collin” Miranda is one of my lovely friends from High school, over the summer I kept seeing his posts and pictures of all these amazing looking icecream creations. I knew that I had to ask him to guest blog, I hope you all enjoy this post. Thanks again Collin 😀 -Kristina

I’m not much of a dessert guy. I’d take savory over sweet, hands down, any day. Ice cream is my exception to this. I’m of the firm belief that any dessert worth its salt — pie, cake, muffin, waffle, doughnut, whatever — is only complete with a scoop of ice cream.

Despite a life of love, I only started making ice cream two summers ago. My girlfriend and I, on a night nearing the end of my senior year, were having a discussion about our greatest common interest: making and eating food. Ice cream inevitably entered the conversation, and we started naming any crazy flavor that entered our imagination. We came up with 102 flavors, our imaginations ending on peanut butter curry.

I requested an ice cream machine for my graduation present, and my mom, fellow ice cream enthusiast, obliged. After several unimpressive or outright failed attempts, I got the hang of making it. I began taking custom birthday requests from friends and co-workers; the experience from doing this has been invaluable and has led to such awesome creations as avocado ice cream with bits of candied bacon, and the following recipe.

The strawberry ice cream base itself is a modified adaptation of a Jeni Bauer recipe. She has an understanding behind the chemistry of ice cream that rivals Walter White’s understanding behind the chemistry of meth, and much of what I know I’ve learned through her recipes.

Yield: ≈1 quart

1 ½ pints sliced strawberries (and a few extra as a garnish or if you enjoy frozen strawberry chunks)
1 ⅓ cups sugar
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 ½ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons & 1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 ¼ ounces softened cream cheese
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
¼ cup buttermilk
2 cups balsamic vinegar
honey (I used orange blossom, but your favorite kind of honey should work just fine)

1) Put strawberries in a glass baking dish and stir in ⅔ cup of sugar. Allow to macerate for 15-30 minutes while preheating the oven to 375°F. Roast strawberries until soft — about 10 minutes. Allow to cool.

2) Blend strawberries with the lemon juice until pureed. Set aside.

3) Using a fork, mix the cream cheese and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside.

4) Also with a fork, mix the cornstarch with about 2 tablespoons of milk in a tiny bowl or ramekin. It’ll be a bit tough and gummy at first, but should become totally liquid in no time. Set aside.

5) Put milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a pot. You’ll want a rather large pot to prevent the mixture from boiling over. Using a rubber spatula, stir over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves completely. Stir occasionally until the mixture reaches a rolling boil. Immediately set a timer for four minutes and continue stirring.

6) Take the pot off the burner. Stir your cornstarch mix with a fork a bit more, then pour it into your milk mixture while stirring vigorously with a whisk. You don’t want the cornstarch to settle at the bottom of the pot; it will burn.

7) Put the pot back on the burner at medium-high heat and continue stirring using a wooden spatula. Make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot as you stir to dislodge any settled cornstarch. Return the mixture to a boil.

8) Every 30 seconds or so, use your finger to swipe a line horizontally on the back of your wooden spatula. If the line stays clear, your mixture is thick enough. Take the pot off the burner.

9) Slowly pour a little bit of the milk into the cream cheese. Whisk until you’ve gotten as many lumps out as possible. Repeat this step until you’ve poured all the milk into the cream cheese and the mixture is lump-free.

10) Whisk in the buttermilk and ½ cup of the strawberry puree. Taste. Continue whisking in strawberry puree in ½ cup increments until desired taste is reached, but be careful! If the ice cream base gets too watery, you’ll get an icier texture in the end; find a balance that works for you.

11) Cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic makes contact with top of the mixture — this prevents the milk from forming a film. Store in the refrigerator overnight, until chilled.

12) Pour the balsamic vinegar into a saucepan and cook over medium/medium-low heat. You’ll want to turn on your kitchen vents and open a window for this part; the fumes can get pretty harsh. Stir occasionally until the vinegar has been reduced to about ½-¼ of the original volume. Be patient; this could take a good while. Allow vinegar reduction to cool. It should become syrupy.

13) Mix small amounts of honey into the balsamic until desired taste is achieved. I personally enjoy mine more on the tart side; it contrasts nicely with the sweet strawberry ice cream.

14) Once your strawberry ice cream base is well-chilled, pour it into your ice cream maker and churn it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you like frozen chunks of strawberry in your ice cream, you should throw them in about 5 minutes before you’re done churning.

15) Now it’s time to pack your ice cream! Alternate between putting a few spoonsful of the honey-balsamic and a few scoops of the ice cream into your container, creating the swirl as you go. Garnish with a sliced strawberry and a drizzle of honey-balsamic. Cover with parchment paper, then the lid. Pop it in the freezer for a few hours, and it’s ready to serve!

Dan “Collin” Miranda plays video games, writes and makes food (especially ice cream). He often tries to combine these three interests with varying success. He is the founder of Sidequester.com, which he swears he’ll actually start updating again one day, OK?

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