Strawberry and Black Pepper Ice Cream

1 pint fresh strawberries, washed and hulled
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup 1% milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
tiny pinch of salt
2 Tbsp whole black peppercorns, roughly crushed with a mortar and pestle (not ground)

Place the strawberries, lemon juice, and 1 Tbsp sugar in a food processor. Pulse five to ten times (1-second pulses) until they’re fairly uniform in size but NOT a puree. (You want chunks.) Set aside.

Mix the sugar and yolks together until light in texture and smooth. Combine the milk and cream and bring to a simmer (either on the stove or in the microwave). Whisking constantly, drizzle the hot milk/cream into the egg/sugar to temper it. Once combined, transfer the mixture to a pot and place over medium-low heat. Stir or whisk constantly until it reaches 170F or has thickened to the nappe stage (coats the back of a spoon), then remove promptly from the heat. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any curdled egg bits.

(The method I use to avoid all chances of curdling is to mix the eggs and sugar in a large metal bowl, and then after mixing in the milk/cream, place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisking. This longer, but you won’t have to strain it afterwards. Also, you can be somewhat less paranoid about the constant whisking of the mixture- this cooking method is gentler than direct heat.)

Stir in the pepper and salt. Cool for at least four hours (or overnight).

Strain to remove the pepper. Freeze in an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions. During the last five minutes, add the strawberries. Transfer to freezer to let harden.

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