Roasted Strawberry-Miso Ice Cream
I was always on the frence about fruit-based ice cream made with eggs. Yes, you got that right. I wrote “Frence,” which is my subconscious speaking (or writing), most likely because I’ve got both France – and fresh strawberries – on the brain these days.
After rhubarb, strawberries are the first sign of spring at our markets. And while there are plenty of different types out there, I wait for the glorious day that the apple vendors from Picardie arrive at my market with barquettes of fragrant red berries that are so ripe they’re red all the way through when you slice them in half. Another bonus is that when you buy two baskets, they give ya’ a deal on the second. So, of course, I pick up two.
Some fruits lend themselves to bring cooked, such as apricots and peaches, but I’m on the fence (not “frence”this time) about strawberries. Their texture and bright flavor are big parts of their appeal and I tend to leave them out of baked goods, preferring them fresh.
However, I was reading an article in The Wall Street Journal that talked about pairing miso with desserts and my curiosity was piqued. Included was a simple vanilla ice cream with miso, which got my attention because I liked the idea of what they said would add “a rich butterscotch flavor” to ice cream. And I had hunch that the savory idea of roasted fruit or berries might be a nice pairing with salty, fermented white miso. So I made up a custard, stirring in some white miso, roasted some strawberries, then churned everything up.
One issue I’m asked about frequently from people who make ice cream, is that they’re vexed when they add chunks of fruit to ice cream, which become frozen solid after spending some time in the freezer after churning. (Short answer: fruit is around 90% water, and we all know what happens to water when you put it in the freezer.) So the best solution is either to add macerated fruit at the end of churning and eat the ice cream quickly, or serve the fruit as a sauce, which is my usual modus operandi.
So roasting the berries in sweetener is a way to get the sugar into the berries (sugar inhibits freezing) – so there you have it. Another bonus is that when I pulled the roasted strawberries out of the oven, their flavor concentrated with a few spoonfuls of golden syrup and a touch of balsamic vinegar. I was thrilled with the flavor, and did everything I could to keep my spoon away from them.
Even though I got the strawberries right, finding the right miso was a challenge. I had hoofed it over to Belleville, to one of the massive Asian supermarkets, and was completely flummoxed when I couldn’t find the saikyo miso recommended for the ice cream. So there I was, hunched over my iPhone, Googling the various types of white miso while I dodged weekend shoppers, running their shopping cart wheels over the feet of the poor guy trying to figure out what it says on all those Japanese miso pouches.
I picked the lightest one I could find, shinshu shiro miso. (If you don’t know your miso either, I posted some links about miso varieties below that you can read before you’re standing in the busy aisle of the supermarket.) I later discovered, with my (marginally) better Internet connection at home, that the miso I used was more fermented than others. But if you can get the saikyo miso recommended in the original article, it’s probably best to use that. If you’re not convinced you’ll like miso in your ice cream, you can make this one without it, just using the roasted strawberries. (Unless you eat them all first!)
Related Links and Recipes
Know your miso (Bon Appétit)
What’s the difference? White, Yellow and Red Miso (The Kitchn)