Strawberries and Wild Mint
When I arrived at the island yesterday, I was faced with a challenge that will probably seem all too familiar to any kitchen dweller in the summer. What do you do with all the fruit and berries that are a little past their plump, juicy, inhale straight from your fingers prime?
This particular day, it happened to be a pound of strawberries that somehow had been neglected the previous week. There they sat, staring at me from inside the refrigerator, daring me to make something delicious out of them before it was too late.
I did what I so often do when confronted with the endless possibilities of leftover usage. I looked around at what else might be hiding in plain sight, waiting to be transformed into something extraordinary. I quickly noticed the pint of heavy cream leftover from the whipped cream I made for an apple tart earlier that week and I knew that I was going to make strawberry ice cream.
I preheated the oven and cored the berries. I quickly cut each in half before tossing with some sugar, a vanilla bean and a splash of Grand Marnier. I let the berries macerate in the roasting pan while the oven heated up. When the oven was ready, I gave the mixture one last stir before placing it on the top rack to roast.
While the berries were cooking, I took a short walk down to the patch of wild mint that pops up through the stones near the end of the dock every summer. I cut off the ends of several hearty stems and carried them back to the kitchen. After rinsing them several times, I rolled them up in paper towels to dry while I removed the strawberries from the oven. I gingerly fished out the spent vanilla pod and transferred them into a bowl to cool.
I made some quick calculations for an ice cream base recipe that would allow me to use the cream I found as well as some leftover milk and sour cream. Then, I headed to the cabinet for my immersion blender. I added the milk and the sour cream to the slightly cooled berries and gave the mixture a quick stir before tossing in the mint leaves and letting the blender rip. I stirred in the heavy cream and transferred the finished strawberry mint cream to a sealed container to chill in the fridge overnight.
The next day, I could hardly wait to freeze the delicious concoction in my electric ice cream maker. It turns out that I had no choice but to be patient. I came in to a dark kitchen. There had been trouble with the generator overnight and I was on electricity lock down. I decided to organize the pantry while I waited and while I did, I found the final piece to the ice cream puzzle. Buried deep behind the baking supplies was a half used bag of mini chocolate chips. I could hardly believe I hadn’t thought of it earlier. Strawberry mint chocolate chip ice cream!
By the time I finished with the pantry, the generator was back up and running. I grabbed my strawberry mint cream and fired up the ice cream maker. I added the chocolate chips and waited patiently while the mixture froze. After about twenty minutes I could hear the motor starting to strain and I knew it was ready. I transferred the frozen cream into a lined container and put it in the freezer to store but not before taking a few glorious spoonfuls to reward myself for all my hard work!
Roasted Strawberry and Wild Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
1 Pound Strawberries
1 Cup Sugar
1 Vanilla Bean, split and scraped
2 Ounces Grand Marnier
1 1/3 Cup Whole Milk
2/3 Cup Sour Cream
1 Bunch Wild Mint (1 Cup, loosely packed)
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Mini Chocolate Chips
Preheat oven to 425
Combine strawberries, vanilla, sugar and Grand Marnier in an oven safe dish and roast for 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer to a heat safe container and chill slightly.
Add milk, sour cream and mint and blend until smooth.
Add heavy cream and stir well.
Chill completely in refrigerator, several hours or overnight.
Freeze in ice cream make according to manufacturers instructions.
Makes 2 quarts.