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Strawberry and Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

Crème fraîche tastes similar to sour cream, which can be used in this recipe, but it has a subtler flavor. French and domestic brands are widely available, but it is also easy to make crème fraîche at home: In a small saucepan, combine 2 cups non-ultrapasteurized heavy cream with 2 Tbs. buttermilk and heat gently to lukewarm. Cover and let stand at warm room temperature until thickened to a yogurtlike consistency, 12 to 48 hours. The longer it sits, the thicker and tangier it will become. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 hours before using.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups strawberries 
  • 2 cups crème fraîche or sour cream  
  • 1 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract  
  • Pinch of salt 
  • Crisp butter cookies or tuiles for serving 

Directions:

Hull the strawberries and coarsely chop them; you should have about 3 cups. In a blender, combine the strawberries, crème fraîche, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt and puree until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours.

Pour the strawberry mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and freeze until firm, at least 4 hours or up to 2 days, before serving.

Serve accompanied with cookies. Makes 1 quart; serves 6.

Note: This Philadelphia-style ice cream—that is, an ice cream made without a custard base—relies on the fat in a cultured dairy product for its smooth texture and rich flavor. Do not use nonfat or low-fat sour cream for this recipe.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Collection Series, Fruit Dessert, by Carolyn Beth Weil (Simon & Schuster, 2004)