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story.lead_photo.caption Roasted Strawberry and White Chocolate Ice Cream - Photo by Kelly Brant

I initially wasn't going to write about strawberries in this week's column. I figured we had enough strawberry coverage already. But I just can't get this ice cream recipe out of my head and if I wait too long to write about it, it'll be too late.

The recipe is unusual for three reasons: roasted strawberries, roasted white chocolate and an unexpected food additive.

Roasting makes fresh strawberries taste like jam and it makes white chocolate taste like caramel. But the real secret ingredient in this ice cream is xanthan gum.

I'm not a fan of gums — xanthan, guar gum, carrageenan, locust bean gum, agar agar, cellulose gum — and when I see these things listed on certain food packages I tend to put the item back and move on until I find one that is gum-free. These gums are used as stabilizers, texture enhancers (to mimic fat) and thickening agents. In small amount they can be beneficial. Other times they make food feel slimy and can cause recipes to fail.

So when I saw xanthan gum included in this recipe I was skeptical. Isn't one of the reasons to make ice cream at home to avoid all the junk they put in the commercial stuff?

According to Tyler Malek, co-owner of Portland, Ore.'s Salt & Straw and author of Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook, he uses xanthan gum in all of his ice creams because it protects against "heat shock" by reducing the formation of ice crystals and thus allowing homemade versions of Salt & Straw's ice creams to keep for months rather than days in a home freezer. Malek is much more technical in his explanation in the book, but that's the gist.

Unfortunately, while I was able to make and taste the ice cream — it is delicious! — I didn't get the chance to test its longevity due to a mishap with my freezer door.

Roasted Strawberry and White Chocolate Ice Cream

2 heaping cups strawberries, hulled and sliced ¼-inch thick

½ cup PLUS 7 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided use

2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips (about half an 11-ounce package)

2 cups heavy cream, divided use

1 egg yolk

¼ to 1 teaspoon kosher salt (see note)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons powdered milk

¼ teaspoon xanthan gum (look for it with the specialty flours/gluten-free baking items)

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 ⅓ cups whole milk

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the strawberries, 6 tablespoons of the sugar and the lemon juice and toss to coat. Spread mixture evenly on the prepared baking sheet; let macerate about 15 minutes.

Stir the berries and then transfer the baking sheet to the oven. Bake, stirring every 5 minutes or so, for 20 minutes, or until berries are tender and syrupy but not browned.

Remove sheet pan from oven (leave oven on) and transfer the berries and their juices to a bowl. Using the back of a spoon, lightly mash the berries. Let cool to room temperature. Berries can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Line the baking sheet with a fresh piece of parchment paper. Spread the white chocolate in an even layer on the baking sheet. Bake 5 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through.

In a saucepan, heat ½ cup of the heavy cream until steaming, but not boiling.

In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of the sugar.

Transfer the hot cream to a blender and add the white chocolate, salt and vanilla; blend well. Add the beaten egg yolk and mix well. Cool to room temperature.

In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup granulated sugar, the powdered milk and the xanthan gum.

In a medium saucepan (the same one used to heat the cream is fine), whisk together the corn syrup and whole milk. Whisk in the sugar-powdered milk mixture, whisking vigorously until smooth. Place pan over medium heat and cook, stirring, until hot but not simmering, adjusting the heat as necessary. Stir until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and whisk in the remaining heavy cream.

In a lidded pitcher or other airtight container, combine the white chocolate mixture and the whole milk mixture and stir well. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled or up to 4 days.

Freeze/churn mixture in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. When ice cream is almost set, add ¾ cup of the roasted strawberries and continue churning until just mixed.

Then transfer to a freezer container and freeze solid. Let soften a few minutes before serving.

Makes about 1 ½ quarts.

Note: All kosher salt is not equal — some brands have larger, denser crystals. If using Morton use the lesser amount; if using Diamond Crystal use the larger amount. If you prefer less salty food, use even less, but do not omit it entirely.

Recipe adapted from Salt & Straw Ice Cream Cookbook by Tyler Malek and JJ Goode

Food on 05/08/2019

Print Headline: Roasted berries basis for incredible ice cream

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