Like many of us, I have an inherent love of strawberries. Particularly the kind that’s bursting with childlike juicy flavor.
A strawberry drink? I am there. A dessert laced with strawberries? Oh yes. A patch of strawberries for the picking? Sorry, it’s going to be gone before you know it.
As for jalapeños? I live in the Mission district in San Francisco—well-known for the ample Mexican taquieras on every corner. But more importantly, the Mexican grocery stores spilling through the streets hawking produce at lower prices than the local Whole Foods. So I have been attracted to the common produce of jalapeño. It added a kick to my chili, soups, casseroles…and various other foods. I have been known to go to a farmer’s market and pick up a single jalapeño. Upon checking out, they would always laugh at me. Just one?? Just take it! was the common response.
So when I first walked into Humphry Slocombe shortly after it opened, this was the flavor I chose. I haven’t seen it on the menu since. So when I first tasted it, it was luscious…expected. Strawberries! But then it had this sudden spicy flavor. It turned into a slow burn that almost curled into a sweet and fiery end.
When making this recipe, I was looking for relief from my disaster in eggs in custard. Unlike many chefs and cooks out there, I have this incredible inability to pay attention to the stove. I don’t quite have ADHD, but my lack of attention to detail…has led to many a disaster in making custard.
At least a week prior to the idea, I decided to buy jalapeño in bulk. In bulk because at this local asian market, no vegetables are ever sold individually. So I gave 15 to a friend and kept 5 for myself. Always ever resourceful, the idea for strawberry candied jalapeño came just like lightning.
Adapted from Local Milk
For Candied Jalapeño
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 medium jalapeño seeded and sliced
In a medium saucepan on medium heat, combine the sugar and water. Stir. Once the sugar has dissolved, toss in the sliced jalapeño. Turn off heat once the contents are boiling. Let sit until room temperature. Set aside until needed.
For the Jalapeño Sugar
1 medium jalapeño seeded and chopped
5 slices candied jalapeño
1/8 cup sugar
In a mini food processor, combine the jalapeño, candied jalapeño and sugar. I added more than 5 slices to give the ice cream more kick. Pulse until finely chopped and mixed. Set aside.
For the Strawberry Purée
(makes about twice as much as you need)
1 pint of strawberries (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/8-1/4 cup sugar, depending on your preferred sweetness
In a mini food processor (and I didn’t even clean it out after making the jalapeño sugar), combine the strawberries and sugar. Pulse until finely chopped. Set aside.
For the Base:
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
healthy pinch of cayenne (optional)
In a bowl, whisk together the milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cayenne until the sugar is dissolved. Chill thoroughly at least 3 hours or overnight. Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Five minutes until the end of churning (or when it looks like it’s almost solid), mix in the jalapeño sugar. Then scoop into an empty container. After every scoop, swirl in the strawberry puree. Let freeze. Serve with the fresh chopped or sliced strawberries.
Written in July 2012