Strawberry Fennel Ice Cream

This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Strawberries.

Amanda & Merrill's Testing Notes: 
You would think that the key ingredient in this ice cream would be the fragrant fennel pollen, but it's actually the agave nectar. It makes for a featherlight custard and a sweetness that recedes to the shadows, allowing all the attention fall on the berries. The fennel does its work, too, and we liked how gluttonforlife let it infuse the ice cream without overpowering it. If you can't get fennel pollen, don't sweat it -- just add ground anise seed or fennel seed in the same proportion. - A&M

I haven't been very active on Food52 of late as I've been on a rather intense journey discovering the benefits of raw milk, lacto-fermentation and ancient grains—perhaps a bit out there for this crowd? But I came up with this recipe using raw cream, eggs straight from the farm, agave nectar and fennel pollen that tastes just like spring. The beautiful pink color comes from a puree of strawberries but there are also chunks of whole berry to add texture to the creamy base.

Makes about 5 cups


  • 1 3/4 cups heavy raw or organic cream
  • 3 fat strips of lemon zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel pollen
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large free-range eggs
  • 2/3 cups plus 3 tablespoons agave nectar, separated
  • 3 cups ripe strawberries, trimmed and halved
  • 1 cup strawberries, trimmed and cut into chunks
  • juice of 1/2 lemon


  1. Combine cream, zest, fennel pollen and salt in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and discard zest. Ask a question about this step.
  2. Whisk eggs with 2/3 cup agave nectar in a bowl, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and an instant-read thermometer registers 170°. Do not boil! Ask a question about this step.
  3. Immediately pour custard through a fine sieve into a metal bowl, then cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Ask a question about this step.
  4. While custard is chilling, purée strawberries with lemon juice and remaining 3 tablespoons agave nectar until smooth, then force through fine sieve to remove seeds (or not, this step is optional) into chilled custard. Stir purée into custard. Ask a question about this step.
  5. Freeze in ice-cream maker. About ¾ of the way through (time varies depending on your machine), stir in strawberry chunks. Finish freezing, then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.

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