Last week, Tuesday brought an outrageously decadent concoction, Triple Chocolate Coffee Peanut Crunch Gelato. I still have a little bit left, and the texture is just as lovely as the day I made it. In case you needed any added incentive to make some. This week, I figured I’d dial back the decadence just a bit.
Buttermilk Mascarpone Stracciatella sounds fairly intimidating, but it’s a very accessible base–easy to make, no eggs, delicious, fairly low in fat, all things considered. The balsamic strawberry conserve is rich and complex, yet it only contains 3 ingredients. 4 if you include salt, which you should. I will admit that adding a brown liquid to red fruit doesn’t yield the most beautiful color result. The conserve is rather a dark brick red. If you want a brighter red color, use white balsamic instead. I love the intensity of “regular” balsamic and was not sad to sacrifice some vibrancy for deep, complex flavor. As the conserve cooks, it gives off an almost chocolatey vibe. If you have one of those fun oil and vinegar stores near you, try making this with chocolate balsamic.
The last component, the scary sounding stracciatella just means long shreds of…anything. Sometimes it’s streaming threads of egg in a soup. Sometimes it could be torn sheets of pasta. In this case, stracciatella refers to the chocolate “chips” that lace the base. It’s a very easy process, too. Just melt your chocolate, with or without a little bit of added fat for consistency, and then stream it into the ice cream towards the end of churning, once the ice cream looks like soft-serve. The threads of chocolate get pulled in and harden upon contact with the cold ice cream, forming long “strings” of chocolate. Much less jarring than biting down on a huge frozen chocolate chip.
I must reference my friend Debra (and The Professor) from SmithBites for some of the inspiration for this ice cream. Last week, they made a glorious Olive Oil Gelato with Rosemary and Strawberry Jam that had my mouth watering in a most unseemly fashion. I loved that they used mascarpone in their base, so I appropriated that idea. As well, I coveted their ribbon of jam. And since strawberries and balsamic are so lovely together, I threw them together in a pot and let them cook for a really, really long time. Thank you, Debra and The Professor for your beautiful ice cream. I hope you like what I have done with your idea.
The ice cream base is very smooth and creamy, but it does set up pretty hard in the freezer. Since you can’t boil buttermilk without bad things happening, you can’t really bind up any of the water contained in it. I cooked a bunch of starch with the whole milk portion to help offset that, and that keeps the ice crystals relatively small so things stay creamy. Still, expect to let this ice cream sit on the counter for a few minutes before scooping. You can also choose to vary the proportions of milk to buttermilk (I went with 1:1). Or you can leave out the buttermilk entirely, although I do love the tang it gives the base. Feel free to use all whole milk or even half and half for the dairy portion of this ice cream. If you are dairy free or vegan, go with full-fat coconut milk, maybe even with half an avocado and some lime juice thrown in for body and tang.
- 16 oz buttermilk at room temperature
- 4 teaspoons vanilla paste (you can also cook a scraped vanilla bean with the whole milk if you'd rather)
- 4 oz mascarpone cheese, softened
- 16 oz whole milk
- 10 oz granulated sugar
- 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pound strawberries, washed and with the green tops sliced off
- 4 oz granulated sugar
- 1½ Tablespoons (4½ teaspoons) balsamic vinegar
- heavy pinch of kosher salt
- 4 oz semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (you can also use good quality chips)
- 2 teaspoons coconut oil, cocoa butter if you have some or vegetable oil (if the chocolate seems a bit thick once melted. You want it to be drizzleable.)
- Place the buttermilk, mascarpone and vanilla in a large bowl topped with a fine mesh strainer. Set aside.
- In a medium saucepan over medium to medium high heat, bring milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt to a boil, whisking constantly.
- Let the mixture boil for about 10-15 seconds and pour through the strainer into the buttermilk mixture.
- Whisk until the mascarpone is melted and there are no lumps. Strain again if necessary.
- Chill to no more than 40F before churning.
- Churn according to manufacturer's directions.
- Bring all the ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat, mashing the berries against the sides of the pan as they soften.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until reduced and very jammy, about an hour. Stir occasionally to make sure it's not sticking, especially once things thicken up. You can puree the mixture, but I left mine as is for a bit more texture.
- Cool to room temperature and then chill.
- While the ice cream is churning, melt the chocolate either over a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave on medium power.
- If the chocolate seems a bit thick, melt in the additional fat.
- Place in a zip-top bag or a pastry bag fitted with a small round Tip (#2 or #3 would be ideal).
- During the last minute or so of churning, after the ice cream already is at soft-serve consistency, drizzle in the chocolate in long threads. Allow the churning action to pull in the chocolate before adding more. You may decide you don't want to use all the chocolate, and that's fine. Stop when you like the mix.
- Spread a thin layer of conserve in the bottom of your ice cream container.
- Top with ⅓ of the ice cream and spread evenly.
- Continue layering until the ice cream is gone. You will probably have some jam left, but that's okay. It is very good on toast.
- Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream and freeze until firm before scooping and serving.
I probably say this way too frequently, but on the other hand, I always mean it: I hope you make this ice cream, or make a version to call your own. It’s a great way to use up some strawberries that might be a little past their prime. And if you don’t have or can’t find mascarpone, you can absolutely substitute cream cheese.
Thank you for spending some time here today on Ice Cream Tuesday! If you have any flavor suggestions, let me know and I’ll add them to my list.