Friday, January 12, 2007

Strawberries & Vanilla Ice Cream

When we were all between 21 and 22, Kathleen and Steven came to Philadelphia for the weekend to visit the newly married Paul and me. On Saturday night Kathleen made one of the most delicious dinners I have still to this day ever had - four steamed lobsters with a bucket of drawn butter, a salad made of chunks of iceberg lettuce, green peppers, red peppers, radishes, cucumbers, and red onion in a garlicky vinaigrette, followed by large goblets of vanilla ice cream layered with strawberries. We were young and hopeful and simply hungry for everything.

For years afterwards, this was the only dessert I ever served, and if push comes to shove, I would have to say, even all these years later having learned to bake a few good things, it's still my favorite.

Sharon, who is a pastry chef, and has eaten this many times at my table, says that ice cream and strawberries "makes a third thing." I know what she means, and if you make this, you will too. This is just as delicious made with raspberries, and if you can get just-this-minute-picked strawberries,  as I can from my local farm stand around July Fourth, it will be a revelation.

I now make my own Sweet Cream Ice Cream, which I think is very special, following instructions from Jeni Britton Bauer in Jeni's Splendid Desserts. However, I am just as happy making this with the dependable and delicious Häagan-Daz Vanilla Ice Cream, which I always have in my freezer. 

Strawberries & Vanilla Ice Cream
From Kathleen
For 4

Buy a pint (or a quart if you want lots) of strawberries. Hull, and cut them in half - or quarters if the strawberries are large and a pint of vanilla ice cream. I use Häagan-Daz Vanilla (not Vanilla Bean).

Put the berries in a bowl, and add 1 to 3 tablespoons of sugar depending on how sweet the strawberries are to begin with and how many berries you have. Use the least amount of sugar you can. Allow the berries to macerate in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Serve in wine goblets layering - berries first, then ice cream, berries, ice cream, berries - always starting with berries on the bottom and ending with berries on top.

If you use raspberries instead of strawberries, leave the berries whole.

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