Legend has it that in the early nineteenth century, a freed slave named Sallie Shadd went into her family’s catering business in Wilmington, Delaware. Sallie supposedly achieved fame among the free black population there for a new dessert sensation she created with frozen cream, sugar, and fruit.
When Dolley Madison heard about this new dessert, she supposedly travelled to Wilmington to try it. The First Lady must have loved it because a "magnificent dome of pink ice cream" was served at President Madison’s second Inaugural Ball in 1813, and ice cream often appeared as the official dessert on the White House menu during her husband's two terms of office.
This recipe for strawberry ice cream, which may be similar to the one used by the Madison’s chef, is adapted from The White House Cookbook by Hugo Ziemann, a nineteenth century steward of the White House, and Mrs. F. L. Gillette, a celebrated 19th century cookbook author.
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1 quart heavy fresh cream
In a medium bowl, mix 1 cup sugar with strawberries, let stand for three hours, then mash and strain through a coarse towel.
Add 1/2 cup sugar and combine until dissolved. Beat in cream and freeze for at least three hours.