Although ice cream in some form has been around as long as the second century b.c., Among the earliest accounts of the frozen treat took place in Virginia in 1744 when Maryland Governor Thomas Bladen served a dessert of frozen strawberries and cream to visiting commissioners. In the coming decades, it became a favorite of such notables as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, who spent a staggering $200 on ice cream over the summer of 1790. Interest and curiosity in ice cream grew in the ensuing years, although availability was limited to only the very wealthy until the early 19th century, when the invention of the insulated ice house and the manufacture of hand-crank ice cream churns a few decades later catapulted ice cream into the mainstream.
Although these days strawberry ice cream trails behind vanilla and chocolate in popularity, I have to side with Governor Bladen on his choice. Sweet syrupy chunks of fresh strawberries churned into cold, velvety cream is the taste of summer. And once you’ve made it at home, you may never settle for store-bought again.
Strawberry Ice Cream
4 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 cups strawberries, hulled
Beat eggs yolks with ¼ cup of sugar in a large bowl and set aside.
Combine cream, ½ cup sugar and salt in a heavy pot, heat to near (but not) boiling and remove from heat.
Whisk cream into egg yolks, drizzling in very slowly to prevent curdling until fully combined.
Return mixture to pot and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, to a temperature of 180 degrees (do not allow to boil).
Allow to cool, then cover and refrigerate a minimum of 2 hours or overnight.
Before churning ice cream, combine strawberries with remaining ¼ cup of sugar and crush berries, leaving a little chunky. Allow to macerate 15-30 minutes.
Churn ice cream per manufacturer directions, adding strawberries and accumulated juices as the cream begins to freeze.
Pack finished ice cream in an airtight container and place in freezer for at least several hours until firm.