Fresh strawberries will make this ice cream a much more flavorful treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Fresh strawberries will make this ice cream a much more flavorful treat. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)

Welcoming summer with this pretty, pink frozen treat

We had company (and a special solstice birthday girl) down to visit, so we spent our weekend by the lakeshore.

The glorious solstice sun beamed down on all of us this weekend to celebrate the official start of summer.

We had company (and a special solstice birthday girl) down to visit, so we spent our weekend by the lakeshore.

There were boat rides and paddleboard excursions and quick hikes in the woods to look for signs of otters or beavers. We saw circling osprey and patrolling eagles and loons popping up to greet us as we paddled by.

We plucked lily flowers from the water and caught minnows in the shallows and clustered up to watch with horrified fascination as an enormous leech gracefully rippled past our toes. We jumped through sprinklers and ate halibut tacos with fruity salsa and sparkling drinks under the umbrellas on the sun-drenched porch.

We packed all the joys of summer into one busy weekend and put our exhausted boy to bed early when he started dozing off at the dinner table.

Last year I made rhubarb ice cream for our summer girl’s birthday. This year, because she’s taken an interest in all things pink and girly, I chose strawberry ice cream to go with the strawberry shortcakes her grandma made for her.

The strawberries at O’Brien Garden and Trees aren’t quite ready yet, but they will be soon, so keep an eye on their page and get some while they last. Their strawberries will make a much more flavorful treat, and since the color is much more vibrant, your ice cream will turn out the prettiest pink. They got picked out fast last year, so don’t wait!

Strawberry Ice Cream

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream

2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar

2 cups mashed fresh strawberries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch salt

Directions:

This recipe requires that you have a dedicated ice cream maker or mixer attachment. Prep the bowl of your ice cream maker by washing, drying and stashing in your freezer at least 24 hours before you plan to spin your ice cream. The ice cream won’t turn out if the bowl isn’t thoroughly frozen, so plan ahead and give it plenty of time.

In a large, sealable container, whisk together milk and half the sugar until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract and salt.

Wash your strawberries and pat dry, remove the stems, then roughly chop.

Transfer to a bowl and use a potato masher to thoroughly crush them. You don’t want any pieces to be bigger than a pea, so take your time.

Pour on the other half of the sugar, stir, and let sit for 20 minutes. This will pull some of the water out of the berries and create a syrupy consistency.

Whisk the strawberries into the milk and cream, then chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours. The base should be as cold as possible before going into the ice cream maker.

When you’re ready to spin the ice cream, prep the machine, take out the chilled base, then set the frozen bowl into the machine and pour in the base as quickly as possible. The colder you keep everything the better the ice cream will turn out, so move quickly.

Spin for about 15 minutes, until the texture is thick and smooth.

Transfer to a sealable container and return to the freezer for no less than 4 hours to set.

Serve in chilled bowls with a couple fresh strawberries or some whipped cream and chocolate syrup on top.

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