Here we are again! My favorite time of the year to be in Zagreb, when the city smells delicious because of the little red stands almost at every street corner… The strawberry season!
Not only are strawberries delicious, but they lend themselves to all kind of culinary inspiration, from the classic jam to a more adventurous salad with arugula and balsamic vinegar, and of course different kind of cakes, like this one or the American-style rhubarb and strawberry pie I ate at Lari & Penati. Over the last year, my go-to strawberry recipe was what I call the “strawberry soup”: finely diced berries marinated with a touch of sugar and lemon, delicious as is, with chopped mint, or even basil leaves. No need to cook, the juice the strawberries let out becomes the soup itself. Tasty on its own, it becomes totally delicious spooned over some fresh skuta cheese, for example, or vanilla ice-cream.
But my favorite strawberry dessert, the hit recipe that never fails to have people ask for it, is the strawberry ice-cream. With crème aux œufs and clafoutis, it is one of those family desserts that were traditionally prepared by my maternal grand-mother. If I remember well, my grand-mother found this recipe in the booklet that came with her new refrigerator back in the 50′s and it soon found its place among the family favorites. We didn’t have a freezer when I grew up, so the Sunday lunches where she would bring my favorite treat were always special for me. Actually, I remember she would usually bring two desserts, strawberry ice-cream for me and crème aux œufs for my sister…
For 500 g of ripe, washed strawberries without their stems, you will need:
* The juice of one lemon (for the color)
* 300 g of icing sugar
* 100 g of mileram (or crème fraîche if it’s available. Liquid cooking cream will work too but the ice-cream will be less creamy and we really don’t want that, do we?)
You will also need a baton mixer for this recipe, or any kind of processor allowing you to puree the fruits.
First, dice the strawberries. You don’t have to chop them finely since you’ll use the mixer later.
Add the lemon juice, then the sugar and mix well: the strawberries should start melting in the sugar.
Add the cream and mix well one more time. Using the mixer, puree the strawberries until you have a really smooth liquid mix. This step is very important, since if there are bits of fruits left, they will become like ice cubes when freezing.
Pour in forms, plastic tubs, etc. and place one night in the freezer. Any container that can take cold temperatures will do – here I used heart-shaped silicone forms. The ice-cream will keep up to a year in the freezer, allowing you to indulge in your favorite fruit all year long… if you manage not to eat it right away!
Let the ice-cream thaw a little bit so it it easier to scoop or cut, and enjoy on a warm spring day!