Another rainy Sunday, of which we’ve had plenty this year. With the weekend chores mostly finished yesterday, and my long run checked off the list this morning, I’m ready to sit down a while: to slow down the day’s pace a bit. The dark clouds and rain outside make staying inside rather cozy. With Frank Sinatra’s smooth, sultry voice floating through the house, Phillip relaxing in the chair next to mine, and tiny Rex curled up against me, I think the time is right for a bowl of the ice cream Phillip made yesterday. Definitely, strawberry-rosemary-balsamic ice cream with drizzled with Cabernet Sauvignon syrup and Frank Sinatra are perfect complements, just like a chocolate milk shake perfectly complements music by the early Beach Boys, and pecan pie perfectly complements music by Robert Earl Keen. Frank Sinatra’s voice and music are completely classy, a bit jazzy, and a bit romantic. As Frankie, with the help of the Count Basie Orchestra, fly me to the moon and fill my heart with song, I think about the classy flavor of strawberries, jazzed up with a hint of balsamic vinegar reduction, made somewhat romantic by the addition of Cabernet Sauvignon syrup lightly drizzled over the perfectly round, creamy delectable scoops of ice cream in the bowl.
This particular combination of strawberries and wine came about after I read a recipe for red wine caramel sauce on the Honest Cooking website. I thought about this red wine caramel sauce for several days, wondering on what dessert, or in what way, I may use it. When Phillip announced that he planned to make ice cream this weekend and asked that I suggest a flavor, I immediately thought of the strawberry ice cream he made last summer, for which he macerated and then roasted the strawberries in a syrup made with balsamic vinegar and sugar. He added finely chopped rosemary from his garden as the ice cream churned in his Cuisinart ice cream maker. The result was one of the most delicious ice creams I had ever eaten – and it didn’t even contain chocolate! This ice cream is rich with flavor, but not overly sweet. The fruity – herbal element of flavor would lend itself to the mellow, fruity flavor of red wine; I finally found a dish for which I could make the red wine caramel sauce.
Although I am the head chef in our home, Phillip is the maker of ice cream. The ice cream he makes is far superior to any we can buy in a grocery store or ice cream parlor. We haven’t, in fact, purchased ice cream since we bought our first Cuisinart ice cream freezer a couple of years ago. When we first bought the ice cream freezer, Phillip researched ice cream recipes and methods of making ice cream until he found one that attracted him. He combined a couple of different base recipes to create the one he uses for all his flavors. He’s gotten so good at making ice cream that people can now make up flavors they ask him to make, and he figures out how to make the exact flavor that’s been requested. His ice cream contains full cream, half and half, and plenty of egg yolks. At one time, I tried to make gluten-free angel food cakes with the left-over egg whites so that they would not go to waste. My gluten-free angel food cakes turned out pretty well; however, Phillip makes ice cream too frequently to warrant all the angel food cakes I had to bake. Now we either add the egg whites to omelets or scrambled eggs. At any rate, Phillip’s recipes are often mostly in his head. For this blog post he has agreed to help me fashion his recipe for this ice cream into a cogent recipe.
As for the red wine caramel sauce: I followed the recipe in this Honest Cooking post. I used two cups of the Liberty Cabernet Sauvignon that our daughter gave Phillip for Father’s Day. Instead of adding cinnamon and cloves, however, I used a small amount of ground vanilla bean. I think the vanilla bean better complements the rosemary and balsamic vinegar in the ice cream. Although I simmered wine mixture for about forty minutes, it never did achieve the caramel-like texture indicated in the photo and description that accompany the recipe I followed. It did get syrupy, and developed a more syrup-like consistency as it cooled, but it never became caramel-like. I poured the syrup into a measuring cup after I removed it from the heat, to see by how much it had reduced. It had reduced exactly by half. This red wine syrup tastes so rich and wonderful that I had to talk myself out of pouring some into a glass and drinking it straight! I will definitely find more ways to use this wine syrup.
Strawberry Rosemary Balsamic Ice Cream
Eight egg yolks
1 cup Whole-fat cream
3 cups Half and half
1 1/2 cups + 2 tbls granulated sugar, divided
1 tbls pure vanilla 1 lb Fresh strawberries
2 tbls Balsamic vinegar 5 Sprigs of fresh rosemary, about 5 inches long
1/4 tsp Finely chopped rosemary
-Hull and slice the strawberries into medium pieces. Place strawberry pieces in a bowl.
-To the strawberries, add the balsamic vinegar and sugar. Mix until the strawberries are evenly
coated with vinegar and sugar. Set aside.
-In a medium bowl, beat the eggs yolks until smooth.
-Slowly add 1 1/2 cups sugar to the egg yolks, mixing until well blended.
-In a saucepan, mix the cream and half and half; cook over medium heat until nearly, but not
quite, boiling. Remove from heat.
-Add the hot cream / half and half mixture to the egg yolk mixture by spoonfuls, briskly
whisking with each addition of the hot mixture, until all the cream mixture is blended into the
egg yolk mixture.
-Pour the blended mixture back into saucepan, stirring constantly over medium heat until the
-Remove from heat. Stir the vanilla into the mixture, and add the whole rosemary springs to
infuse the mixture as it cools at room temperature.
-When the ice cream / rosemary mixture is cool, place in the refrigerator and let sit over-night.
-While the ice cream mixture cools to room temperature, spread the strawberries evenly on a
baking sheet. Roast the strawberries in a 425 degree oven for about 20 minutes, until the
strawberries are somewhat reduced.
-Remove the strawberries from the pan and cool completely at room temperature.
-When the strawberries have cooled completely, place in the refrigerator to sit over-night. -Remove the ice cream batter from the refrigerator; remove the rosemary sprigs from the ice
-Add the ice cream batter to the ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s instructions. -Half-way through the freezing process, add the strawberries and the 1/4th tsp finely chopped
rosemary to the ice cream batter.
-Finish churning the batter. Place in a container and freeze. This recipe makes 1.5 quarts of
Red Wine Syrup
-Mix all three ingredients in a pot.
-Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved.
-Lower heat and simmer until mixture is thick and syrupy.
-Remove from heat and cool before serving.