Strawberry Ice Cream |
with egg yolks (custard)

Strawberry Ice Cream | with egg yolks (custard)

July 11, 2021


© 2022 Biterkin

This is a fantastic Strawberry Ice Cream made with fresh strawberries, cream, sugar and egg yolks. The flavour is the one you will find in ice cream parlours under the name “Strawberries & Cream” and this homemade version is rather creamy and bursts with strawberry flavour. This ice cream is the best way to celebrate strawberries when they are in season, perfectly ripe and aromatic. As there is nothing like the taste of a fresh, ripe strawberry, in this recipe we do not cook them, but instead we macerate them in sugar; this way we keep them raw, and at the same time we intensify their aroma and mellow their texture.  

This a custard ice cream, which means that it is composed of cream and egg yolks cooked over the stovetop until thickened. Egg yolks are the miraculous, natural ingredient which makes for a perfectly velvety and luxurious ice cream. If you fear the ice cream might taste eggy, rest assured that it does not. The method used in this recipe does indeed cover any egg-taste, and allows the pure, beautiful flavour of the strawberries to shine through, while achieving the best mouthfeel and texture.

The Biterkin tricks to a perfect Strawberry Ice Cream:

When making custard-based ice creams at home, you may be asked to use an instant-read thermometer to check if the custard has reached the right temperature, which is around 80ºC/176ºF. This is the temperature at which the custard thickens; also, at this temperature, the eggs are perfectly safe to eat. But while it is good to have a thermometer, it is only natural that you may not have one at home.

For this reason I have developed a very simple method, which uses the laws of physics to guarantee that the custard is cooked to the right temperature. It is also the least labour-intensive one, as it does not require you to stand over the stovetop stirring until the custard  thickens. 

Instead, you only need to bring the dairy and sugar to a full boil and then pour the mixture onto the cold egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. It works every time, because by combining the right amount of boiling dairy with the right amount of fridge-cold egg yolks the custard comes to the right temperature.

For this method to work, you have to make sure that:

  1. the ingredients are properly measured; it is important that the ratio of “cold egg yolks to boiling dairy” is right
  2. the egg yolks are cold from the fridge (this is around 4ºC; 39ºF), and
  3. you bring the dairy to a full boil (this is around 100ºC; 212ºF) and immediately pour it over the egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. 

If you want a beautiful, intense strawberry flavour in your ice cream, there is only one way to go: cut the strawberries into neat slices and macerate them in sugar for a few hours.

This works like a charm, because the sugar draws out water from the strawberries, which then creates a strawberry syrup. While the strawberries lie in this syrup, they gradually soften, their flavours round up and the strawberries themselves become more aromatic and less acidic.

I do not know to explain  to you the chemistry and the whys behind this, but I can surely guarantee you that this method levels up the flavours of any strawberry you use, even the non-seasonal ones. 

Ok, this might be a no-brainer, but how many times  have you been asked in a recipe to blend the whole thing (solid and liquid ingredients), only to be left with chunks of the solids intact?

Blending has its tricks too, and for a smoother result, blend methodically: strain the strawberries to separate the solids (strawberry pieces) from the liquid (syrup). When ready to blend, start with the solids (strawberry pieces); with the blender on, add just as much syrup as needed to get it going. Leave to blend for one full minute and then gradually add the rest of the syrup, stopping the blender and scraping it with a rubber spatula, if needed.

Well, the answer is: don’t. Straining removes part of the strawberry pulp along with the seeds. This strawberry pulp is strawberry flavour and it is very much wanted in our final ice cream. It is also needed in the recipe to maintain the perfect balance of sugars in the final ice cream mixture.

If you were to strain the ice cream mixture to remove the strawberry seeds, you would have to alter the proportions of the ingredients. So my advice is to avoid straining in this strawberry ice cream recipe; this ice cream is so delicious that no one will be bothered by the seeds. And in their defence, they do add a natural and homey essence to this homemade strawberry ice cream which everyone will love.

The ingredients:

This is what you will need:

Every single ingredient plays a vital role in the recipe. Ice creams are all about balance, both in terms of ingredients, as well as their quantities. Do not play around changing the proportions of the ingredients or trying to use low-fat versions of dairy and sweeteners, such as stevia/other decreased-calorie sugars. Look out for these:

The recipe at a glance:

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Strawberry Ice Cream | with egg yolks

For best results, use a digital kitchen scale and measure the ingredients directly into the utensils, when you need them.

Avoid weighing in one utensil and transferring to another, as this causes a small, but important loss of quantity, especially in liquids.

For cup measurements:

If using cups to measure the ingredients, make sure that you thoroughly scrape the cup with a rubber spatula every time you measure something and empty it.

Use fresh, juicy, in season strawberries. The taste of this strawberry ice cream will be determined by the taste of the strawberries. So, if you want a fragrant, wonderful ice cream, so should your strawberries be.

Use regular sugar (white granulated sugar).

Do not use sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia. Also, do not use confectioner’s sugar, it is not suitable for this recipe. 

Using raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado, is not recommended in this recipe, as it tends to cover the delicate strawberry flavour.​

Use heavy cream with 35-40% fat percentage. It should be of pourable consistency. It is ok to use cream which is suitable for whipping and/or ultra-pasteurised cream, as far as the fat content is right and you like its flavour. Just check the ingredients, for it should contain no sugar (or other sweeteners).

If you live in the UK where heavy cream is not available, you can combine double cream and milk to create heavy cream.

For 500 gr (17.6 oz.) heavy cream you will need:

  • 400 gr double cream (14 oz.) (with 50% fat)
  • 100 gr/ml regular milk (3.5 oz.) (3.5% fat) *

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a large bowl, then pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula until just incorporated. You need the cream to be smooth and preferably with a pourable consistency. Resist the urge to  whisk, as it may turn into whipped cream.

This will make a “heavy cream” with around 39% fat, perfect for this strawberry ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 500 gr (17.6 oz.) heavy cream needed. 

it is recommended to weigh the egg yolks, because egg sizes (and their yolks) may vary from my country to yours. If you do not have a scale, use only egg yolks from eggs which are in the range of around 65 – 75 gr; 2.3 – 2.65 oz (whole egg, in its shell). The weight of the eggs is written on their packaging and they may be labelled as “large” or “extra large”, depending on the country they are sold in.

TIP: to separate the egg yolk from the white, do it when the eggs are cold from the fridge, as the egg yolks are firmer and are easy to handle.

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop.

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Using a saucepan with a long handle in step 1 is useful for easily pouring  the boiling milk with one hand, while whisking the eggs vigorously with the other.

Bonus tip: put a towel under the bowl with the eggs, to keep it in place while whisking.


Before starting, make sure that your ice cream maker is ready for churning when needed. This means that if it has a removable freezer bowl, it should be put in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer, usually 24 hours.

If you intend to transfer the ice cream to a container to store the ice cream, put this container in the freezer well ahead of time, too; this will prevent the ice cream from melting upon contact with it.

Step 1: Macerate the strawberries
Slice the strawberries: with a sharp knife, cut the strawberries into clean, neat slices. You do not have to worry about cutting them very thin, just slice them to a thickness you feel comfortable working with. Alternatively, you can chop them into clean, neat pieces. 

When you cut the strawberries, put your best effort to cut into clean, neat slices/pieces. We aim to cut the strawberries without damaging/smashing their flesh. 

During maceration with the sugar, the sugar will draw water out of the strawberries, this water will make the sugar melt and a nice, transparent strawberry syrup will be created.

If the strawberry slices are damaged during cutting, the syrup which will be created, will also have smashed flesh of the strawberries, in the form of strawberry pulp. These are solids which will slow down the process of sugar melting; they will also make it more difficult to know if the sugar has fully dissolved. 

Using a sharp knife is the best way to ensure that the strawberries are cut into neat pieces. In any case, resist the urge to use a multi-processor to chop the strawberries before macerating them, as this will smash their flesh instead of cutting it. 

Mix the strawberries with the sugar: in a large bowl put the strawberries slices (500 gr; 17.6 oz.) and add 1/3 of the quantity of the sugar (65 gr; 2.3 oz.; 1/3 cup & 1 Tbs.). Stir with a rubber spatula, leaving the spatula in the bowl. TIP: aim to keep the upper sides of the bowl clean of sugar, as, if it stays there, it will harden and crystallise. 

Macerate the strawberries: leave the strawberries to macerate at room temperature for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally with the spatula to help the sugar dissolve. Each time you give a stir, scrape the bottom of the bowl, bringing upwards any undissolved sugar and mixing it with the strawberries. TIP: try to avoid anything that will cause loss of sugar from the bowl, like lifting the spatula from the bowl to use it somewhere else. 

Check if all the sugar has melted and a red syrup, enough to cover the strawberries have formed: after 2-3 hours, check the bottom of the bowl to see if there are undissolved sugar crystals. If all the sugar has dissolved, proceed to the next step. If there are undissolved sugar crystals remaining, give a thorough stir with the spatula and they will most likely dissolve. If they don’t, leave it at room temperature and check again after 30 minutes. 

Step 2: Boil down the strawberry syrup

In this step we boil the syrup to remove excess water. This results in a more intense strawberry flavour which will totally cover any egg taste.

If you are short of time or you just want to omit this step, here are some alternative options:

  1. add 2 tsp. of pure vanilla extract in the blender (step 5), just before churning, or
  2. sprinkle 1 Tbs. freeze-dried strawberry powder over the strawberries while they cool down.

And that’s it, you can skip this step: put the strawberries with their syrup in a sealable container and proceed to step 3.

Strain the strawberries over a a fine mesh strainer and into a medium saucepan; you will have around 150 ml/gr; 5.3 oz of a clear red syrup in the saucepan. Tilt the strainer/gently agitate the strawberries in it to abstract more syrup, but do not press them.

Put the strained strawberries in a sealable container.

Boil down the syrup: put the saucepan with the syrup over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. As soon as the first bubbles appear on its surface, turn on the timer and leave to boil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Pay attention to the appearance of large bubbles on the surface or of the syrup taking a darker, brownish hue, in which case you should remove from the heat earlier, otherwise the syrup will burn.

Remove from the heat and pour into the container with the strawberries. Allow to cool down while you prepare the custard.

Step 3: Make the custard

Prepare the egg yolks: put the cold egg yolks (100 gr; 3.5 oz.) in a large bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Put them in the fridge to keep them cold, keeping the whisk in the bowl. Do not do this ahead of time, as the egg yolks dry quickly.

Boil the cream and sugar: place the heavy cream (500 gr; 17.6 oz; 2 cups & 2 Tbs.) and the rest of the sugar (130 gr; 4.5 oz; 1/2 cup & 2 Tbs.) in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula, until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to high and remove the egg yolks from the fridge. 

Pour the boiling cream in the egg yolks: when the cream comes to a full boil (large bubbles cover the surface), remove it from the heat, and immediately start pouring it in a slow, steady stream into the cold egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other.

When you boil the milk with the sugar, keep an eye on it to avoid boiling it for too long. Boiling causes water to evaporate; and if we let the milk boil for too long, the loss of water will disturb the balance of the recipe. The result? You may end up with a sloppy liquid vs. a fluffy ice cream after churning, as the ratio of the sugar in the final ice cream mixture will be more than it should.

Do not worry about it too much, though; just be mindful while the milk is warmed and as soon as you see the first bubbles appearing on the surface, count to 10 (as for 10 seconds) and remove it from the heat.

Stir: with a rubber spatula, stir well and thoroughly for one minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.

You have to stir the custard with a rubber spatula while it is still hot, thoroughly scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, where residues of egg yolk lie. Those residues, which you cannot see, are there and they should be incorporated into the rest of the mixture, while it is still hot. Stirring also makes the custard thicken slightly.

Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl.

Step 4: Chill the custard and the strawberries

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the custard in it, taking care that no water slips into it. Leave it to cool down for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill thoroughly: the custard and the strawberries should come to fridge-cold temperature, before you blend them and churn with the ice cream maker. To chill, use one of the two methods below (click on methods to read more):

Personally, I prefer the slow method, as during the refrigeration process, both the custard and the strawberries mature and their flavours improve. However, most people do not notice this flavour improvement, therefore feel free to follow the method which is more convenient to you.
One more thing to consider when choosing the fast method is whether you have enough ice to fully submerge the two bags. 

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, your ice cream mixture should always be thoroughly chilled. Otherwise, your ice cream maker may not be able to churn the ice cream to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. a fluffy ice cream.

Step 5: Churn the ice cream
Check the custard and the strawberries if they are thoroughly chilled, before churning: they should feel fridge-cold to the touch (or if you have an instant-read thermometer, it should read 4ºC–8ºC / 39ºF-46ºF).

Blend the strawberries: remove the strawberries with a slotted spoon, put them in a blender and blend them to a smooth pulp, adding just enough strawberry syrup to get things going. When no chunks have remained, with the blender on, slowly pour in the rest of the syrup, increase the speed to high and blend for 1 minute. Yes, you can use a stick blender instead of a regular blender, if you like.

Mix the custard with the blended strawberries: pour the chilled custard in the strawberries and blend for 2 minutes, until an homogeneous pink colour is obtained. If needed, stop the blender and scrape down the sides of the blender with a rubber spatula, then blend again until fully combined.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Churn: with the machine running, pour the cold blended strawberry mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker. 

Leave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes; (see below).

this strawberry ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy. This could take anywhere from 30-60 minutes, depending on your ice cream maker.

To evaluate if it’s ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If, upon lifting some ice cream with the spoon, a pool immediately starts forming on its edges, you will have to churn it for longer. 

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer. 

So, stop the ice cream maker when it is thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Step 6: Put in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set:: before serving the ice cream or removing it to a container for storage, you have to put it in the freezer to set. Remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine, cover with a lid and put it in the freezer to set. Setting time depends highly on the type of ice cream maker you use; see notes below for indicative times.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

This can take :

  • anywhere from 1 to 4 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which must be frozen before churning). 
  • 1 hour for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative, actual time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it every one hour or two, while it sits in the freezer. For example, with my Cuisinart ice cream maker, it takes one hour for the ice cream to set, whereas with the Krups ice cream maker it takes 3 hours. 

To evaluate if the ice cream has properly set, insert a knife into it, all the way to the bottom:

  • if it is properly set, it will be soft enough for the knife to be inserted into it, and yet have the same consistency from top to bottom
  • if it is not ready yet, it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if it is too hard for the knife to insert, you may have left it in the freezer for too long. You can still bring it to a perfectly scoopable consistency; just read the troubleshooting guide below.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it directly in the freezer to set after churning, will help it set and reach the right consistency.

Then you can serve it or transfer to a sealable container for longer storing.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and will be difficult to serve or remove to another container.

Do not worry though, you can still make it scoopable by leaving it in the refrigerator to soften. This can take :

  • 4-6 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which must be frozen before churning)
  • 1 hour for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, actual time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it every one hour or two, while it sits in the refrigerator).

After this, the ice cream will be easy to scoop and transfer to another container or serve directly from the ice cream maker.

Storage and serving

Storage: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term. To soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, put it in the refrigerator for one hour. 

If you have an instant-read thermometer, the perfect serving temperature of this strawberry ice cream is when the thermometer inserted midway through the ice cream, reads around  -11ºC / 12ºF. At this temperature the ice cream is perfectly scoopable and with the most satisfying mouthfeel.

Use a rubber spatula: 

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Use a saucepan with a long handle: 

Using a saucepan with a long handle in step 1 is useful for easily pouring  the boiling milk with one hand, while whisking the eggs vigorously with the other.

Bonus tip: put a towel under the bowl with the eggs, to keep it in place while whisking.

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