Monday, May 14, 2007


Saturday we were up early to pick strawberries. This year we stayed local as we drove 20 mins north to Christmas Place Farms. Christmas Place is owned and operated by the Williamston Family. They have been on this land since 1947 farming mainly tobacco and grain. A few years ago they bagan to transition to more sustainable crops by planting about seven acres of strawberries. They have built a nice picnic area and a great playground, along with a few farm animals for petting. The view facing north is worth the drive.
The Willaimstons were granted the 2002 Conservation award by NC Department of Agriculture. They have woked hard to conserve the land in and around the farm. It is a beautiful place.
The berries were very good, but you could see the effects of a cool and damp week we had here in central N.C. Many berries were soft from the cool and damp weather, but we were able to find plenty of good berries.

Once home, I was craving homemade-strawberry-ice-cream. To me, strawberry ice cream with local produce screams spring in N.C. Here is my simple recipe.

Fresh Strawberry Custard Ice Cream

2 qrts fresh strawberry puree'
2 cups finely chopped fresh strawberries
2 cups unbleached sugar
11/2 teaspoon real vanilla
1/4 kosher salt
1/2 + a little extra gallon whole milk
1 qrt whole whipping cream
4 egg yolks

Puree' washed, capped and dry berries in food processor with 3/4 cup sugar and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Place 1/2 gallon milk, 11/4 cup sugar, four egg yolks in four quart heavy sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Stir mixture CONSTANTLY with medium wire wisk. After boil, turn heat to low and cook for five minutes, stirring CONSTANTLY. Take off heat and let cool for five minutes.

Mix 1/2 of berry puree' and custard together. Pour into ice cream maker, add heavy cream and vanilla into ice cream mixture. Stir well. Add second half of berry puree' and chopped berries. Pour in enough whole milk to reach fill line on maker. Process ice cream slowly to avoid large ice crystals. Remove dasher after processing, place ice cream cylinder in freezer for about four hours. Serve and enjoy!!!

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