There is nothing more sublime than the simple elegance of classic shortbread and strawberries and cream.
In this version, it is all wrapped up in a lovely ice cream sandwich, accentuated by lemon zest.
Classic Shortbread with Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
Serving Size – 2 people
¾ pound salted butter, softened to room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3½ cups flour, sifted
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons extra fine lemon zest
Fresh Strawberry Ice Cream
2 pints of strawberries, hulled and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup sugar, divided in half
3 cups half and half
1 vanilla bean, whole
5 large eggs, separated
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons Grand Marnier, optional
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
In a large bowl, mix together butter, sugar and vanilla until well creamed. Sift flour and salt and add to butter mixture. Using an electric beater set on low, mix until dough begins to come together. Scrape dough out of bowl onto a surface dusted with flour. Shape into a flat disc about 1-nch thick. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out the dough just under ½-inch thick and cut with either a round or heart-shaped cookie cutter (or the top of a drinking glass). Sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Cool completely before assembling the ice cream sandwiches. Makes 2½ dozen cookies.
Note: It is very important that the butter is very soft. If it is not, the dough will not come together and will resemble a crumb topping.
Place strawberries in a non-reactive bowl. Mix in ½ cup of sugar and lemon juice. Let sit in refrigerator 2 hours or overnight. When ready to make ice cream, drain excess juice from strawberries and set aside.
In a heavy saucepan, heat half and half and vanilla bean until just boiling. Meanwhile, separate 5 eggs, reserving egg whites for another use. Whisk eggs, sugar and salt in medium bowl. Slowly add hot half and half and vanilla bean. Be patient, if you add it too quickly, the custard (eggs) may curdle. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly just until mixture coats the back of the spoon. (Do not boil or custard will curdle). Strain custard; add whipping cream and Grand Marnier, if using. Mix well. Place in a 1½ to 2 quart plastic container in the refrigerator for a minimum of 2 hours or until well chilled. Churn in an ice cream maker per the manufacturers instructions. When set, remove from ice cream maker and put in a plastic (airtight) container in the freezer until half frozen, 1- 2 hours. When ice cream reaches a soft frozen consistency, place a generous scoop on bottom cookies, top with top cookie, press down slightly and wrap tightly in plastic wrap, return to freezer until ready to eat.