It is no secret that I have always enjoyed Valentine’s Day. Even before I ever fell in love, I always thought it was a fun day. For me Valentine’s Day hasn’t been so much about romantic love but a day to spread a little extra love and joy to friends and family. Handmade cards and sweets have always played a part. Romance is certainly good too.
I think the fact that I love to bake and have a sweet tooth might also have something to do with it. A day that celebrates all things sweet? Count me in!
My mom and I have baked all manner of heart shaped sweets together over the years. I particularly remember baking and decorating heart sugar cookies and white cupcakes with chopped maraschino cherries folded in with a hint of almond extract. I am happy to report that our tastes have been refined over the years to prefer such combinations as strawberries and rosewater. But those cupcakes did have their own charm.
A dear friend of mine, Michelle Fattore is a fantastic chef and very talented pastry chef. The two of us share a love of food and photography and have been wanting to work on something together for a while. It so happens that Michelle is a bit of a romantic too and when I mentioned Valentine’s Day and the possibility of ice cream sandwiches she was on board.
Her brain started spinning and she came back to me with a beautiful flavour combination that involved saffron, cardamom and white chocolate cookies and a strawberry rosewater ice cream. I love all of these flavours so it was a big yes from me. It is every bit as magical as it sounds. The stuff that rosy dreams are made of.
Michelle was very kind to share the ice cream recipe with me for the blog. While the cookies were outstanding, they were a little heavy on the saffron and Michelle felt they could use a little more perfecting in the kitchen. Perhaps we will revisit that recipe down the road but the ice cream is something special for sure. It is perfect all on its own or you could sandwich it between the cookie of your choice. The strawberry flavour is prominent and the rose water is subtle, coming through just at the end.
It was a beautiful collaboration and we had a fun time shooting and styling all things pink. I know Valentine’s day is a little ways away yet but I thought I would share this now in case you are on the search for something delightful to make for that someone special when the 14th rolls around. But let’s be honest who needs to wait for Valentine’s day? This ice cream is good any time. Trust me, I have been eating it for the last two days.
Thanks to Michelle for her friendship and for sharing her creative inspiration and talent for this shoot. I can’t wait to see where she goes with it all in the coming months, years. I know I will be the first in line should she choose to open something of her very own.
I will be on the beaches of Kauai for Valentine’s day this year. It doesn’t get better than that. But I promise this ice cream is a very close second.
Wishing you all love, light and something sweet on Valentine’s day this year. Now go make some ice cream!
- 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
- 1 pound (450g) fresh or thawed frozen strawberries *
- 6 egg yolks
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 4 tbsp rosewater
- juice of half a lemon
- ¼ tsp salt
- Wash and cut strawberries and place in a medium bowl, sprinkle ¼ cup of the sugar on top and let sit for 10 minutes. Blend in a blender or food processor or mash the berries with the sugar with a potato masher.
- Meanwhile heat the cream and remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a medium pot until it comes to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat.
- While the cream is warming, separate eggs and place egg yolks in a medium mixing bowl. Whisk the eggs yolks until smooth. Slowly add hot cream to egg yolks while whisking constantly.
- Pour the egg and cream mixture back into the pot. Add the blended strawberry and sugar mixture and salt. Slowly cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The mixture will begin to thicken and should form a thick coating on the back of the spoon. If you blow on the back of the wooden spoon and a ripple in the shape of a rose forms, it's ready! Remove from the heat.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Add rose water and mix again. Place the bowl in the fridge to cool. Once the mixture is cool, remove from the fridge and taste the mixture. If you would like a stronger rosewater flavour add an additional 1 Tbsp rosewater at a time until you get the desired balance. Place the cooled mixture in a sealed container and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight.
- Place cold mixture into ice cream maker, add the fresh lemon juice and churn until it has doubled in volume.
- Place the ice cream into a container, freeze and enjoy!
- * If using defrosted frozen strawberries the ice cream might not be quite as rich due to the higher water content of the frozen berries but it will still be delicious!