Some time ago, while at school, I won a cooking competition (the appropriately named Highland Chef). My prize, alongside my first Jamie Oliver cookbook, was an ice cream maker. It was a basic creation that consisted of freezing a round base and then pouring chilled custard on top, but it was a phenomenal bit of kit by my standards. I had never made ice cream before then.
I had watched Mum beat egg yolks with sugar and lemon for what seemed like hours before stirring in cream and freezing. She also made brown bread ice cream which I have, over time, come to adore. Then there were the blackcurrant ice blocks; delicious and with a mouth-puckering tartness but like chipping at an iceberg unless taken out of the freezer for an hour before consuming. The ice cream maker changed all that.
My first attempts matched my palate back then: Nutella with rich tea biscuits; dark chocolate with Nice biscuits; and a deeply unsuccessful hot chocolate powder stirred into vanilla ice cream (grainy).
There were the blackcurrant ice blocks; delicious and with a mouth-puckering tartness but like chipping at an iceberg unless taken out of the freezer for an hour before consuming.
Later on, though, I got into sorbets, ripples, infused custards – even a basil ice cream. It was a little magic machine. My new model is a fantastic Sage number that no doubt produces a finer result and that I would recommend to everyone, but part of me quite enjoyed my simple little frozen plastic block. There are ways around ice cream making sans machine – my mum is the best proof of this – it does, however, require more work.
If you don’t have a machine, don’t bother hand-churning every 20 minutes, simply freeze the mixture. Once solid, remove from its container, cut into blocks roughly 3cm by 3cm then chuck them all in a food processor and blitz for a couple of minutes. This will break down the ice crystals and leave you with a silky smooth result. Then all you have to do is tip the ice cream back in to its container and re-freeze.
These recipes are some of my favourite ice creams. The crème fraîche sorbet was served at a wedding last weekend, paired with a dark chocolate tart and rose wine jelly (glorified ice cream and jelly!). I also love to serve it with roasted apricots and pistachio nuts and a simple drizzle of honey. It’s a perfect pudding partner.
The mojito granita, much like the raspberry and chocolate ripple, are best served solo, cocktail-style, perhaps with an extra shot of white rum. And, when it comes to raspberry ripple, surely no one can refuse a cone and a chocolate flake?
Flora Shedden’s book Gatherings (published by Octopus) is out now and available from Telegraph Books at £25 – call 0844 871 1514 or go to books.telegraph.co.uk
Crème fraiche sorbet
Makes about 750g
- 250g caster sugar
- 75g golden syrup
- 200ml water
- 300g crème fraiche
- 200g natural yogurt
- In a pan heat the sugar, syrup and water together. Bring to boil and heat until the sugar has dissolved.
- Remove from the heat them whisk in the crème fraiche and the yogurt, until it is lump-free and you have a smooth white liquid. Set aside to cool completely.
- Churn this in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions until thickened then transfer to a plastic container to freeze for at least four hours before serving. Best used within two weeks.
Raspberry, hibiscus and dark chocolate ripple
Makes about 1 litre
- 200ml double cream
- 200ml whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 150g raspberries
- 75g caster sugar
- 2 dried hibiscus flowers
- 100g dark chocolate, chopped into small pieces
- Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan with the vanilla, bringing it gently to the boil.
- Meanwhile whisk together the sugar and eggs in a bowl.
- Once the cream mixture is boiling pour it over the eggs and whisk well. Return the mixture to the pan over a low heat, stirring continuously until thickened. Remove and allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, churn in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- While this is happening make the raspberry ripple. Heat the raspberries, sugar and hibiscus flowers together in a pan with 50ml water. Bring to the boil then remove immediately. Allow to cool before removing the hibiscus flowers as this helps with the infusion.
- Once the ice cream has thickened, mix in the chocolate and churn it for a further minute.
- Spoon half of the mixture into a plastic container then pour over half of the cooled raspberry mixture. Repeat with the rest of the ice cream and sauce, keeping back some of the sauce to serve. Using a skewer or knife, swirl in the raspberry by making wavy patterns in the ice cream.
- Cover and freeze for at least four hours before serving with the rest of the sauce.
Makes about 750g
- 500ml water
- 150g demerara sugar
- Juice of 3 large limes, the squeezed-out shells reserved
- 100ml white rum
- 20g mint
- Place the water, sugar and lime juice in a large pan.
- Cut up the juiced limes into quarters and add to the pan. Bring to the boil and boil until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the rum and half of the mint, stalks and all. Allow to infuse until cooled completely.
- Chop the remaining mint very finely. Once cooled, strain the lime mixture through a sieve then stir in the chopped mint.
- Transfer to a plastic container large enough for the syrup to fill it half-full, and place in the freezer. After 30 minutes use a fork to stir in any crystals that may have formed. Return to the freezer and keep checking and stirring with a fork it every 30 minutes. After a few hours you should have lots of fluffy white crystals.
- Either serve straight away or freeze for another couple of weeks. This can be topped up with soda water and fresh mint for a very refreshing cocktail or simply served on its own.