There is still snow and ice on the ground here in Virginia, yet here I am sharing an ice cream recipe with you all while I bask in the warmth of my fireplace. I can’t believe that just a few days ago I returned from a week’s vacation exploring Hilton Head Island and Savannah. Though not exactly bikini, sun bathing weather, the days ranged from the high 60’s and even soared into the low 80s. The nights rarely strayed below 50. With the lovely early spring-like weather in abundance, I spent a lot of time riding my bike and playing in the sand. I even dared a little wading into the still very cold Atlantic waters. Between the sunshine filled days and all my activity, I definitely worked up a sweat. Though in Savannah my favorite cool down treat was Georgia peach sangria to go, which I’d sip delightedly under the beautiful oaks of the city’s famous squares, in Hilton Head I’d ride my bike up the beach to Coligny Plaza to place myself in the giddy conundrum of choosing one ice cream from nearly 100 different flavors. It is no surprise that I returned home with ice cream, pretty beverages, and summer time on my brain. Let’s get back to that ice cream now, shall we?
Most of you know I purchased myself an ice cream machine last summer when I shared my Lighten Up the Churn Chocolate Hazelnut Ice Cream. I absolutely loved how the lightened up custard base (aka French style ice cream) turned out and so I kept experimenting with it. You know me, I love to play with flavor. However, I’m not much of a garlic ice-cream type girl myself, but I wanted to try something savory. The idea made me think of my strawberry bruschetta, where I took sweet strawberries and gave them a savory twist with tarragon, black pepper, and goat cheese. Why wouldn’t the same idea work with ice cream? So I decided to give it a go and created a goat cheese base in which I added the remaining elements of my bruschetta dish. It worked beautifully!
The smooth base had a slight tang from the goat cheese, off-set by both the sweet strawberry flavor as well as the fruit’s added chunky texture. Although I couldn’t discern the black pepper as I could in the bruschetta, the tarragon gave all this creamy goodness a cleansing burst of freshness. And what a pretty ice cream it made, too!
Now what are some of your own favorite recipes that you think would make an awesome ice cream flavor?
Strawberry Tarragon & Chèvre Ice Cream
- 1 cup small diced strawberries
- ¼ cup Chèvre (goat cheese), crumbled for easier melting
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tbsp freshly chopped tarragon
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper (optional)
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided in half, plus 1 tablespoon separated
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 12 ounce can evaporated low fat milk
- 1 vanilla bean, halved and seeded
- pinch of sea salt
- 3-4 egg yolks
- In a medium bowl, combine diced strawberries, 1 tablespoon sugar, chopped tarragon, and ground pepper. Toss to mix, then set aside while preparing the Chèvre ice cream base.
- In a saucepan, combine whole milk, evaporated milk, 1/4 cup sugar, corn syrup, and sea salt. Whisk to combine
- Next add the vanilla seeds and pod to the milk mixture.
- Heat the milk mixture gently over medium heat to 180° Fahrenheit. You’re looking for tiny bubbles around the edge, NOT a boil. Remove from heat.
- Set aside for at least 10 minutes to allow milk mixture to cool.
- While milk mixture is cooling, whisk egg yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in a medium bowl.
- After milk mixture has cooled at least 10 minutes, begin to gradually add milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.
- Return entire mixture to the saucepan. Turn stove to medium heat.
- Stir Chèvre into warm milk, allowing cheese to melt into mixture. It will be lumpy at first, but will smooth out once the cheese melts.
- Stirring constantly, continue cook the ice cream base until it reaches 160° Fahrenheit.
- Place a mesh sieve over a large mixing bowl and strain ice cream base. Discard the vanilla bean pod and any other solids.
- Fill another large bowl with ice cubes. Place the bowl containing the ice cream base over the ice.
- Allow ice cream base to cool, about 20 minutes.
Replace the following steps with the instructions that came with your particular ice cream maker.
- Turn on the ice cream maker and carefully pour the ice cream base mixture into the frozen freezer bowl.
- Pour strawberry mixture into the freezer bowl with the base. NOTE: Typically, ice cream mix-ins are added in the last five minutes of the process, but I wanted the strawberry and tarragon flavors to infuse into the base. You can wait to do this until later if you wish.
- Allow the the mixture to churn and thicken into a soft serve like, creamy texture, approximately 35-40 minutes.
- Divide ice cream into freezer safe, air tight containers. Cover and freeze until ice cream is firm, about 3 hours.
Be sure to check out my Lighten Up the Churn recipe for other notes.