Jeni's Splendid Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream

How to make Jeni's Splendid roasted strawberry buttermilk ice cream

I have two favorite words when it comes to ice cream, and those words are "Jeni's Splendid."

Jeni's Splendid is an artisan ice cream company out of Columbus, OH. I've never eaten ice cream from her shop. I've never eaten it from the grocery store. But I've been making ice cream using her method (using recipes from her cookbook as well as online) for the past 2 years.

I first heard about Jeni's Splendid from a very dear friend of mine, also named Jenny, who pulled out the most delicious homemade noyaux ice cream when I was at her place for dinner. She'd been using Jeni's Splendid recipe and kindly emailed me a handful of variations so I could get started myself.

It was a revelation. For years I struggled with ice cream recipes. Egg custards made ice creams richer than I wanted, but straight milk/cream versions came out too icy or sickly sweet using my countertop ice cream churn. I wanted a recipe with really pure cream flavor, not too sweet, and silky smooth.

The trick with Jeni's Splendid is using just a little tapioca starch as a thickener as well as a touch of cream cheese. These two additions give you the creamy body of a custard based ice cream without the heaviness. Brilliant. And while homemade ice cream does involve a handful of steps, the recipe is pretty easy to make and the results are so worth it.

Strawberry Buttermilk Ice Cream
Recipe Adapted from Jeni's Splendid Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart

1 pint strawberries
1/2 cup sugar (you may need less depending on sweetness of your berries)
3 tblsp lemon juice
1 1/4 cups whole milk
2 tblsp tapioca starch (you can sub cornstarch if you don't have tapioca)
2 oz cream cheese, softened
pinch of fine salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tblsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 375 F

Hull and slice strawberries and place them in an ovenproof dish with the sugar. Stir together and roast 10 minutes. Let cool slightly then puree with the lemon juice in a food processor or an immersion blender.

Measure 3/4 cup of the berries and reserve/refrigerate the rest. Makes a great topping for pancakes, waffles, etc.

Mix about 2 tblsp of the milk in a small bowl with the tapioca starch to make a slurry. In a mixing bowl (I prefer metal, you'll see why soon) whisk the cream cheese and salt until smooth.

Combine the remaining milk, cream, sugar and corn syrup in a 4-qt saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Let it boil for 4 minutes then pull it off the heat and whisk in the starch slurry. Return back to the heat and boil (stirring constantly, now with a spatula) until the mixture has thickened slightly, it only needs about a minute.

Gradually add the hot mixture to your cream cheese, whisking it to keep it nice and smooth. Add your buttermilk and the 3/4 cup of strawberry puree.

Your mixture is now ready, but before you can churn it into ice cream, you need to cool it down. You can put the mixture in a big ziplock bag and then submerge that bag in ice water. That works pretty quickly, but I tend to make a mess. Instead, I fill a really big bowl with ice water then set my metal mixing bowl inside that bowl and just stir the ice cream mixture until it cools down. You can also just refrigerate the mixture and churn it later.

Either way, once your mixture is cold (it usually takes a half hour or so) churn that mixture into ice cream following your ice cream maker's instructions. My little maker takes about 30-35 minutes. Once it's done, move the ice cream into a storage container (I like the little white coated paper pints) and freeze for 4 hours before serving.

You can serve with the remaining strawberry puree. I prefer it plain, cold, tangy, sweet and perfect.