After we were married, my husband and I lived in Milwaukee WI. I remember in my first few weeks in the new city, I didn’t work yet and would just drive around finding cool places to visit, places to eat, and I would always find myself in some not so great neighborhoods. This was before we had smart phones and I didn’t have any GPS or anything so I was just out there! I learned my way around pretty well after a little while and soon knew about one of Milwaukee’s gems – Kopp’s Frozen Custard! There are three locations in the Milwaukee area, all with uniquely designed buildings and outdoor areas. They are famous for their custard, but also make some darn good burgers too! We usually went to the Bayshore location went we lived on the east side. I think I called the flavor line once a day to check on the flavor! (414) 961-2006 is a phone number my poor brain can’t seem to let go of. We were there at least once or twice a week when they had a flavor that we just couldn’t resist. I would usually get a double scoop in a dish, but sometimes if it was a flavor I really loved, I’d go ahead and just get a pint since it was a better deal. I remember eating an entire pint of strawberry custard once. We were out running errands and I couldn’t take it home and couldn’t let it go to waste. I think I put on a few pounds that summer! My two favorite flavors of their custard back in the day were Strawberry and their delicious Butter Pecan. OH MY, that Butter Pecan! Never had anything like it! After we moved back to IL, my husband surprised me once for my birthday and ordered me a 10 pack of their custard that was shipped in a cooler over dry ice. 5 pints of each of my two favorites – strawberry and butter pecan! It was seriously one of the best gifts he has ever given me! I’m thinking I need to plan a road trip to our old stompin’ grounds this summer! Not going to lie, the whole trip may be planned around the flavor forecast at Kopp’s!
I knew when I picked over forty pounds of strawberries this summer, that I would be making my own homemade strawberry ice cream. It doesn’t compare to Kopp’s, but it’s still great. They know what they’re doing for sure and I’m still learning as I go! One thing for sure is that homemade ice cream seems to be much harder than store-bought ice cream. This is because the homemade stuff lacks all the additives that store-bought ice cream has and they can speed up the freeze time which produces smaller ice crystals, resulting in smoother and softer consistency. Since the strawberry ice cream is full of strawberries which have a high water content, this makes the rock hard ice cream even worse, but I’m not skimping on strawberries and don’t recommend that you try that either! I did not want just vanilla ice cream with some strawberries ribboned throughout. I wanted the real deal strawberry ice cream! I usually try to set the ice cream on the counter right after dinner if I knew we will be having some, or if desperate and your elbow grease is just not cutting it, you can always stick the ice cream in the microwave for a few seconds at a time to help it soften to a sociable consistency. The heating, and then refreezing isn’t the best thing for the overall consistency of the ice cream, so I try to avoid the microwave if possible. You can also help remedy the rock hard ice cream by adding some alcohol to the recipe. Some like to add bourbon to vanilla ice cream, vodka to fruit based ice creams, or you could increase the vanilla extract since that has alcohol in it as well. You could also increase the eggs. I used one egg in this recipe, but using two may help. Higher fat content can help avoid rock hard ice cream, but this is a tricky slope, because too much fat can mess up the consistency as well. Some say using gelatin or pudding mix in the recipe may help create a softer consistency and I’m definitely going to give this a try! I have a few recipes from my great-aunt Bee that are calling my name and she always used pudding or gelatin. And like most things you bake or cook, your tools are going to affect the outcome as well. The faster your ice cream maker can churn, the better. This creates more air in the mixture which helps keep the ice cream soft. Temperature of your ingredients and the temperature of your kitchen are going to affect how quickly the ice cream forms and freezes. So it looks like if you are going to try this recipe or any other homemade ice cream recipe, it may take you a few batches until you get it exactly how you want it. I’m sure your taste testers will not mind at all! Practice makes perfect, right!
Strawberry Ice Cream
Makes about 3.5 quarts.
5 C fresh strawberries – hulled and chopped
4 TBS honey
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 teas lemon juice (about 1/2 of a lemon)
2 C heavy whipping cream
1 C half and half
2 teas vanilla
In a small bowl, add 1 C strawberries and 1/4 C sugar. Stir to combine and set this aside.
In a large bowl, combine the remaining 4 C of strawberries and 3/4 C of sugar. Mash this with a pastry cutter, potato masher or fork until the strawberries are nice and juicy and have only small chunks.
Add in the honey and the lemon juice to the strawberries and stir to combine.
Keep mashing if needed until strawberries are mashed well.
In a separate bowl, combine the egg (beaten), heavy cream, half and half and beat well.
Pour in the vanilla and stir.
Pour the egg and cream mixture into the large bowl of mashed strawberries.
Stir to combine.
Carefully, pour this into chilled ice cream canister. I made a mess, so you may want to use a scoop or ladle to ladle the mixture into the canister.
Fire up your ice cream machine and process per your machine’s instructions until it is a soft serve consistency. I churned mine for about 25 minutes.
In the meantime, add the reserved cup of strawberries and sugar to a food processor and pulse until smooth.
Pour this puree into the ice cream canister and churn for another 2-3 minutes until the puree is ribboned into the ice cream. You can also do this by hand if needed, either in the canister or in the container you transfer the ice cream into.
You can enjoy the ice cream immediately for soft serve consistency, or freeze for a few hours for ice cream cone scoopable consistency.