Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Pink Peppercorns


Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Peppercorns

Have you ever had a pink peppercorn before? I first came across them years ago when I bought one of those pretty rainbow peppercorn grinders from Trader Joe’s; it was filled with a variety of peppercorns: white, black, grey and pink. I remember taking all the pink ones out like a psycho woman and thinking how cool I’d be to make a girly version of cacio e pepe.

I was sort of bummed to find out that pink peppercorns didn’t actually taste all that peppery, and were actually more floral than spicy. The cacio e pepe didn’t really turn out how I’d hoped, but I was still obsessed with those pink peppercorns. I never forgot, man!

Strawberry and black pepper is a match made in heaven. It’s a popular pairing that you might’ve already seen in jam or cakes or pies. So I figured the teeny spicy notes in pink peppercorns and their floral attributes might work well with strawberries. AND I was right.

Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Pink Peppercorns

I tried one version where I steeped a bunch of pink peppercorns in the buttermilk custard but it didn’t really work. Their flavor didn’t really come through. I think pink peppercorns have a really subtle tasting note so adding them to the top of this ice cream is the move.

PS: If you’re Los Angeles-based, go to Amazon where you can buy them online. Any Whole Foods or gourmet market should have them, too.

Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Pink Peppercorns

The base of the recipe is a buttermilk ice cream. And I’m obsessed with it. It was so good I could barely wait for it to chill in the fridge before churning this situation. I’d sneak in the fridge with a spoon and take a spoonful one after the other. I was a mad woman. Also, can we talk about how I have to be in a bathing suit in a few weeks. I seriously hate it. HATE. I feel like I might just embrace the one piece. Is that giving up?

Let’s think about that later…let’s get back to ice cream.

The buttermilk ice cream is a winner – not too sweet, not too rich, just right. The tang works so many awesome wonders with the sweet strawberry swirl and the floral crunchy candied pink peppercorns.

If you’re going to pick something to destroy your diet with, this is your move.

Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Pink Peppercorns

Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Pink Peppercorns



Buttermilk Ice Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Candied Pink Peppercorns:

  • 3/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons, sugar (divided)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon whole pink peppercorns

Strawberry Swirl:

  • 1/2 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of salt


  • To a bowl, prepare an ice bath by adding 10 or so ice cubes and adding a few splashes of water. Set a slightly smaller bowl inside the bigger bowl and set a sieve or strain inside the smaller bowl. Set the whole ice bath contraption aside.
  • To a medium saucepan, add the heavy cream and sugar; heat over medium until the cream reaches a slight simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, remove from heat.
  • In a medium mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks together, thoroughly. Next you're going to temper the cream mixture. Whisking the entire time, add about 1/4 cup of warm cream to the egg yolks. Add the remainder of the cream to the egg yolk mixture and whisk. Return the entire mixture back to the medium saucepan and place over low heat. Cook the milk and yolk mixture, stirring constantly, until the thermometer reads 170 to 175 degrees F and the mixture appears thick and coats the back of the spoon.
  • Pour the mixture through the sieve into the bowl. Lastly, stir in the buttermilk. Keep mixing until the mixture is room temperature. Wrap the bowl in plastic and transfer it to the fridge for 4-5 hours, or overnight, until very cold.
  • While the ice cream is chilling in the fridge, let's make the candied pink peppercorns and strawberry swirl! Add two tablespoons of sugar to a small bowl. Place a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining 3/4 cup sugar and water and mix until dissolved. When the sugar is dissolved, add the peppercorns and cook for 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, remove the peppercorns from the syrup and add them to the small bowl of sugar, tossing and coating them evenly. Transfer the peppercorns and place them on a sheet of wax paper or parchment, being sure none of touching. Set aside.
  • To make the strawberry swirl, add strawberries to a food processor and pulse until pureed. Set a medium skillet over medium-low heat and add the strawberries, sugar and pinch of salt. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, and until reduced by about half. You should end up with a little over 1/2 cup strawberry concentrate. Place in the refrigerator until you're ready to use.
  • Churn the mixture into the bowl of your ice cream maker, according to your ice cream maker's instructions. When the ice cream is done churning, transfer one third of the ice-cream to a container and drizzle about one third of the strawberry swirl over it. Repeat the process, layering with the remaining ice cream and strawberry swirl. Top with the pink peppercorns. Freeze the ice cream until hard, about 8 hours or so.

Strawberry Swirl Buttermilk Ice Cream with Candied Pink Peppercorns

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  • Avatar
    Reply thecitygourmand June 13, 2013 at 12:54 am

    Candied pink peppercorns, how brilliantly peculiar!

  • Avatar
    Reply Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe June 13, 2013 at 2:44 am

    Believe me or not I didn’t even know pink peppercorns existed! Now you totally got me thrilled…strawberry and pepper?! Sounds weird but in a very interesting and delicious way. You can be sure that this ice-cream will be in my kitchen asap, girl!

    xo, Elisa

  • Avatar
    Reply Tieghan June 13, 2013 at 5:15 am

    Never had a pink peppercorn, but now I need to scour amazon for them! What a creative ice cream and SO pretty!

  • Avatar
    Reply Kelsey @aslolife June 13, 2013 at 5:57 am

    I’ve totally seen those pepper grinders at TJ’s but never would have thought of separating them and using the pink ones–love it!

    • Adrianna Adarme
      Reply Adrianna Adarme June 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      I actually didn’t separate them for this ice cream. I went out and bought pink peppercorns–too much work! But I did just add some links above as to where you can find them ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar
    Reply Marie @ Little Kitchie June 13, 2013 at 6:03 am

    How cute do those peppercorns look?! Love!

  • Avatar
    Reply cindy June 13, 2013 at 6:42 am

    girl! candied peppercorns?! you are killing it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gloria Phillips (@simplygloria1) June 13, 2013 at 6:57 am

    How creative is this! I would of done the same thing at the store and grab all of the pink ones! I love how you described the taste of the peppercorns…now I need to go find some. No Trader Joes here… but I’m an online shopper like you wouldn’t believe! Have a great weekend coming up!

  • Avatar
    Reply Roxana | Roxana's Home Baking June 13, 2013 at 8:05 am

    Candies pink peppercorns! Wow! That sounds so good, especially as a topping for the buttercream ice-cream

  • Avatar
    Reply Aimee St.Germain (Cooking the Strip) June 13, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Love this combination. The color of the strawberry with the pink peppercorns is so pretty. I love desserts, but not ones that are super-sweet. This sounds right up my alley! Great recipe!

  • Avatar
    Reply Grace @ Earthy Feast June 13, 2013 at 9:41 am

    Pretty, pink and peppery!
    P.S. I would totally choose digging into ice cream week and a cute, classy one-piece over a two-piece and missing out on all this good stuff!

  • Avatar
    Reply steph@stephsbitebybite June 13, 2013 at 10:02 am

    Loving the little pop of pink peppercorns!

  • Avatar
    Reply Eileen June 13, 2013 at 10:52 am

    Pink peppercorns grow on trees all over our neighborhood! I may have to go harvest some of them for this amazing-sounding ice cream ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar
    Reply Jocelyn (Grandbaby Cakes) June 13, 2013 at 11:53 am

    How stunning is your ice cream? Wow! No words. Really gorgeous.

  • Avatar
    Reply Laura (Tutti Dolci) June 13, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    I’m so intrigued by the candied peppercorns!

  • Avatar
    Reply tina June 13, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    THis is amaze balls!!! woman how do you come up with these delights??? You totally shut.this.down!!!! genius!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar
    Reply Jamaica June 13, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Oh you are a savior! I just moved to a house that has a huge tree that is full of pink peppercorns. I was trying to figure out what to do with all those little pink spicy orbs, and you came along with this fab solution! On a related note, if anyone wants some pink peppercorns, help yourself to our tree. Please.

  • Avatar
    Reply Jayne June 13, 2013 at 6:50 pm

    Peppercorn! In ice cream! Novel idea. I’ve never thought of this flavour combo. Over in Kuching, Borneo we have pepper candies. I can imagine how these candied peppercorn would taste.

  • Avatar
    Reply ileana June 13, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    This is crazy gorgeous! Also, I really want a pink peppercorn tree.

  • Avatar
    Reply Dave @ Fit Chef Chicago June 13, 2013 at 8:48 pm

    Looks amazing! I feel like pink peppercorns are really under-appreciated and under-used. Love them in ice cream!

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    Reply erin June 14, 2013 at 3:21 am

    your photographs are beautiful.
    I love trying different flavour combinations, and I think this one is absolutely gorgeous!

  • Avatar
    Reply Mary June 14, 2013 at 6:21 pm

    Love your photos! And I am dying to make buttermilk ice cream ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Avatar
    Reply Tad June 15, 2013 at 12:16 pm

    This is indeed a yummy combo! I made it earlier this week, but only now got around to tasting it. Brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

  • Avatar
    Reply Nicole June 15, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    Funny, I just made buttermilk ice cream earlier this evening then going through my email I came upon your recipe. Mine didn’t turn out so great … yours looks much better! I wish I had read my emails before attempting the ice cream ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Avatar
    Reply Jokubas June 18, 2013 at 12:40 pm

    Oh I crave these Ice-cream right now! Not because of hot summer but because of this great recipe. Now I am in a position to buy an ice-cream maker, that I haven’t got yet ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Reply Sophie July 3, 2013 at 4:01 am

    What a very appetizing special ice-cream, home-made! Yummmm! I love your new take on this tasty looking ice-cream! ๐Ÿ™‚

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    Reply Marla Meridith March 20, 2014 at 7:20 am

    This is both genius & gorgeous!

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