We all scream for Ice Cream!

I love homemade ice cream. Ever since I got an ice cream machine about 8 years ago or so, I have been a convert. There is truly nothing like it. It is so different than anything you can buy in a store, and with an ice cream machine, it's very easy. A lot of the recipes I make use a custard base which involves heating milk and eggs to a certain temperature and then cooling everything down in an ice bath, followed by refrigerating. And though this isn't hard, it is time consuming and definitely makes for a bit of a mess to clean up. However, this ice cream recipe has no cooking, no worrying about heating the eggs too much and scrambling them (I've definitely done this), no waiting for it to cool down so you can put it in the machine, and way less clean up! It tastes like heaven, if heaven were strawberries and cream. I'm sure you are saying to yourself "Well of course it tastes like strawberries and cream, it's strawberry ice cream!" But really, when you buy strawberry ice cream, it never tastes anything like a real strawberry. And even worse, it usually has fake flavoring and red dye. So, yes, when I made this for the first time, I was surprised. I kept saying over and over "it really tastes like strawberries and cream"! It is so delicious, I dare you to stop eating it. And with strawberries at the height of their season, there is no excuse not to make it this weekend. Today even! Make it! You will thank me, I promise.

I've adapted this recipe from one that came with the Cuisinart ice cream maker.

Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream

Makes about 14 - 1/2 cup servings

3 cups fresh ripe strawberries, stemmed and sliced
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (don't skip this! It really adds a brightness)
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 3/4 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Stir gently and allow the strawberries to macerate in the juices for 2 hours. Place the strawberry mixture in a food processor and puree. (Alternately, you can use a blender).

Add the milk and the remaining 1 cup sugar and process until sugar is completely dissolved, this may take a few minutes (I usually test it with my fingers to make sure you don't feel any "grit"). Add the heavy cream and vanilla and process again. Then pour the whole mixture into an electric ice cream maker and process according to directions (mine is done in 20-25 minutes). The ice cream will be a soft, creamy texture. You can serve it as is, but I usually transfer the ice cream to a container and freeze it for a couple of hours before serving.

Remove from freezer and let sit for a few minutes before serving (homemade ice cream freezes to a much harder consistency than store bought).

* Fresh Peach Ice Cream: you can substitute 3 cups fresh, sliced peaches for the strawberries

Now go eat it!!


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