Did you know drinking buttermilk is a thing? I wasn’t aware until a few years ago when I took a baking class and remarked to the teacher that buttermilk is pretty amazing in baked goods for something that smells so rancid and he told me that his mother drinks a glass of it warm every afternoon. Like, by choice. I may have said something polite but as I didn’t get the nickname Deb No Poker Face Perelman for nothing, I doubt anyone missed how revolted I actually was. I have little doubt that I acted equally maturely in high school everyday when I friend of mine would get not a normal drink, like ice tea or lemonade with lunch, but strawberry milk. You know, the bright pink stuff that smelled like a melted Jolly Rancher. Why on earth would you drink strawberry milk if you could have chocolate milk? And yet, inevitably, here we are.
It turns out strawberry milk when homemade under the bossy guidance of Gabrielle Hamilton is unbelievably good, like a milkshake but one (if you mom is as awesome as I am, obviously) you can pass off as breakfast. Hamilton’s method has you macerate strawberries in sugar until all of their liquid is drawn out and they’re very syrupy. She insists that you use the best strawberries (i.e. the kind that are in season now) and says “don’t compensate with [rhymes with bitty] berries with more sugar, please.” Then, you take this glassy red bowl that smells like cotton candy, sunshine and joy itself, blend it until smooth, mix it with a combination of milk and buttermilk and let it steep overnight. In the morning, any of that remnant yogurt flavor of buttermilk is gone, leaving you with an ice-cold pitcher of slightly thick, creamy, lightly sweetened deep pink happiness.
One year ago: Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes
Two years ago: Pasta and Fried Zucchini Salad
Three years ago: Rhubarb Cream Cheese Hand Pies
Four years ago: Broccoli Parmesan Fritters
Five years ago: Dobos Torte
Six years ago: Strawberry Ricotta Graham Tartlets
Seven years ago: Lemon Mint Granita
Eight years ago: Breakfast Apricot Crisp
Nine years ago: Gateau de Crepes
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Tres Leches Cake + Taco Party
1.5 Years Ago: Gingerbread Biscotti
2.5 Years Ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies
3.5 Years Ago: Cashew Butter Balls
4.5 Years Ago: Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs [/donotprint]
Barely adapted from Prune
I love: 1. that this tastes like a melted milkshake without requiring the caloric intake of a pint of vanilla ice cream. 2. how straight-up 1950s retro it is. 3. that there’s another glass of this in my fridge right now and I’m not sharing it.
Yield: 4 tall glasses (restaurant-style) or just about 8 petite (ours shown are 8 ounces*) ones
1 pound strawberries, trimmed and sliced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 cups milk
1 cup buttermilk
Mix strawberries and sugar in the bottom of a bowl (or even your blender’s bowl) and let them macerate for at least an hour, or until very syrupy. The more juice they exude now, the better. Blend strawberries and juices until smooth, then pour into a pitcher along with milk and buttermilk. Stir and let steep overnight in the fridge. In the morning, mix again if needed, and pour into glasses. Repeat as long as it lasts.
Hamilton doesn’t have you blend the strawberries in her recipe but the photo appears to show blended strawberries so I assume it was a typo. Or not a typo. Regardless, I prefer it blended over having flavor-sapped strawberries slices floating about.
This is a great use for ripe-to-overripe strawberries, or basically what happens to me every time I buy them at the market, get so excited that I make big plans for them and find 48 hours later that they’re nearly past their prime.
Before you ask if you can reduce the sugar, trust me that this results in a lightly-but-not-overly-sweet strawberry milk, the furthest cry from the carton stuff. I’d warn you otherwise.
I was nervous we wouldn’t like it and only made a half-batch. This road only leads to regret.
* Those are Duralex Picardie glasses