Cut any large strawberries in half. In medium saucepan, combine strawberries and 1/2 cup of the sugar. Cook over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until berries are soft, stirring occasionally. Transfer mixture to blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until smooth. Cover and chill for 4 to 24 hours.
In small saucepan, combine egg, 1 cup of the half and half, and remaining sugar. Cook and stir over medium heat just until mixture coats a metal spoon(see tip). Immediately transfer to medium bowl. Stir in remaining half and half, orange peel( if desired), and almond extract. Cover and chill 4 to 24 hours.
Pour half and half mixture into freezer canister of 1 or 1 1/2 quart ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's directions, adding strawberry mixture after 5 minutes of freezing. If desired, ripen about 4 hours.
TIP: The Key to Custard: To make custard base ice creams, its important to cook the egg mixture to just the right stage. To know when to remove the cooked custard from the heat, coat a metal spoon with the custard and draw your finger down the spoon. If your finger leaves a clear trail, the custard is done.