For the strawberry sauce
- Clean the strawberries and cut them into irregular pieces.
- Put the strawberries into a deep frying pan over low heat and add the sugar.
- Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon until the sugar melts and the strawberries soften.
- Remove the pan from the heat, add the brandy, the butter, the vanilla extract, and whisk well.
- Pour the sauce into a bowl and set it aside until needed.
For the vanilla ice cream
- In a pot, add the milk and half of the sugar.
- Slice the vanilla pods open with a small knife and scrape out all of the seeds. Add them to the pot along with the pods.
- Place the pot over low heat and bring the mixture to a boil.
- In a bowl add the egg yolks, the rest of the sugar, the salt, and whisk until the sugar dissolves completely.
- Remove the pot from the heat and gradually add the milk to the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the mixture doesn’t split. Optionally, you can transfer the milk to the bowl with a ladle.
- Transfer the whole mixture into the pot and boil it over low heat. Check with a cooking thermometer until the temperature reaches 85ο C (185ο F).
- Stir gently with a silicone spatula, for 3-5 minutes, until it reaches the desired temperature and it starts to thicken. To check that it is ready, you can add a little of the mixture to a plate and run your finger through it. If the line is thick enough that it stays put without running, then it is ready.
- Remove the pot from the heat and add the heavy cream so that the mixture can cool more quickly. Whisk well.
- Transfer the mixture to a 25x30 cm baking pan, passing it through a sieve so that you can remove the vanilla pods.
- Cover it with plastic wrap, making sure that it touches the surface of the mixture so that it does not form a skin, and refrigerate it for at least 6 hours. Ideally, it should be refrigerated for 24 hours.
- Add the mixture to an ice cream maker in batches (the amount added should not exceed the 2/3 mark of the machine since it will gain volume).
- Transfer the ice cream to the freezer so that it can freeze more, until needed.
For the crust
- Add the cookies into a food processor and beat them at high speed, until completely crushed.
- Transfer the crushed cookies into a bowl.
- Place a saucepan over medium-low heat and melt the butter.
- Pour the butter into the bowl with the cookies.
- Optionally, add the brandy and mix well with a spoon until the cookie gets the texture of wet sand.
- Line a 23 cm round springform pan with parchment paper.
- Spread half of the cookie crust over the bottom of the pan and press it with a glass to make it evenly thick over the whole surface.
- Add half of the ice cream on top and then a thin layer of the strawberry sauce. Follow the same process once more, keeping a little strawberry sauce to serve.
- Cover the pan with plastic wrap and press well with your hands to fill any gaps there might be inside the cake.
- Put it into the freezer for 10-12 hours until the cake completely sets.
- Remove from the freezer and use your hands to heat up the pan in order to easily take the cake out of it.
- Drizzle with the leftover strawberry sauce and garnish with a few strawberry pieces.