Thursday, May 13, 2010


Neither A nor I really likes sour cream. Or, to be more accurate, we think of it in the same category as mayonnaise and cream cheese: good in certain contexts, but mystifying in its overall popular appeal. While sour cream is fine in a stroganoff or twice-baked potatoes, and it can be excellent in baked goods, you’re not going to catch us piling dollops of it onto our tacos or chili. I’ve become more neutral on the subject over the years; my aversion stems mainly from the quantities in which sour cream is often presented—it’s ruined so many restaurant meals by appearing unannounced in huge blobs that smother the entire plate, so you can bet that those Daisy commercials that show people happily eating it by the heaping spoonful give me the willies (similarly, although I now like a thin layer of mayonnaise on my BLTs, I still habitually resent mayo due to years of being presented with soggy sandwiches dripping with the stuff). But A harbors a distinct antipathy for many white, creamy foodstuffs, so when I announced to him that I’d found the perfect way to use up the rest of the sour cream in our fridge (I’d had to buy a whole container just for 3 tablespoons’ worth to go into his birthday cake) and the solution was making strawberry ice cream (from David Lebovitz’s indispensible The Perfect Scoop, of course), he replied, “Why would you do that?” I swore up and down that all online testimonials suggested it wouldn’t taste much like sour cream—tangier than normal ice cream, sure, but less tangy than frozen yogurt—but he remained skeptical until presented with a spoonful.

Folks, this is some good ice cream. As I predicted, the flavor wasn’t unusual—it’s just a really good strawberry ice cream, bright and fresh—but the texture sent me over the moon. I don’t know whether to thank the sour cream or perfect weather conditions, but this is the first recipe that’s turned out really thick and creamy for me right out of the ice cream maker. Thanks to lack of air conditioning, a temperamental freezer, and my refusal to bother with custard-based recipes, I’ve gotten used to homemade ice creams that taste delicious but vacillate between melty and icy. This one was amazingly light and fluffy, so much so that it nearly overflowed the bowl of the ice cream maker. I churned it while home alone on Saturday night, after returning from the pub with several beers in me, and I’m relieved there was no one around to see how greedily I licked the spatula, the beater, and even the freezer bowl, but I’m sorry that A didn’t get a chance to try this when it was freshly made. We’ve been eating bowls of it for dessert all week and it’s still fabulous, but the newly-churned version was incredible, cold, sweet, and pillowy, like strawberry whipped cream. For health purposes, strawberry frozen yogurt will remain my go-to recipe, but next time I have leftover sour cream, I know exactly what I’m doing with it.

1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon kirsch or vodka (I used kirsch)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1. Slice strawberries and toss in a bowl with sugar and kirsch or vodka, stirring until sugar begins to dissolve. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring every so often.

2. Pulse the strawberries and their liquid with the sour cream, heavy cream, and lemon juice in a blender or food processor until almost smooth but still slightly chunky.

3. Refrigerate for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Yields: About 1¼ quarts
Time: 15 minutes of active work, 2 hours of waiting, plus processing time
Leftover potential: Best when freshly made, but will keep nicely in the freezer for at least a week

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