Once upon a time (that would be August), on one of those lovely hot days currently fading from our memories, a girl looked in the fridge. A packet of blackcurrants looked back. Red gooseberries peered over their shoulders, and in the door sat a little pot of double cream, bought to splosh over apple pie and sadly overlooked in favour of vanilla ice-cream.
Well I didn’t want any of it to go to waste, especially the blackcurrants, and so on a whim I decided to make a little ice-cream. And while I think I might own an ice-cream maker, if I’m right it’s (a) the sort that needs to be pre-frozen, which isn’t exactly conducive to impulse cooking, and (b) in a place that involves discussing the minutiae of cupboard ownership with the family spiders. I went without.
So, just in case you fancy clinging onto the last vestiges of the summer, I have a little treat to share:
Blackcurrant or Red Gooseberry Ice Cream – Ice cream maker optional
At its bare bones this is a recipe for a custard ice cream base, taken from a River Cottage recipe, which is mixed with a stewed fruit puree. The custard recipe makes enough for both purees, or you can substitute anything else you fancy having in an ice-cream from a drop or two of vanilla extract to the ends of your imagination.
Part 1 – The Custard
Note: this makes enough custard for both purees.
You will need:
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 200ml double cream
- 200ml whole milk
Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale and creamy.
Heat the milk and cream in a pan until it’s just about to boil.
Pour the hot milk/cream over the egg/sugar mix, whisking as you do. (You need to do it this way around to stop the egg being scrambled).
Pour it all back into the saucepan and place over a low heat, whisking gently but constantly until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Take it off the heat and allow it to cool, stirring occasionally to stop a skin forming.
Divide into two roughly equal portions.
Part 2 – The Flavours
For Blackcurrant you will need:
- 100g blackcurrants, washed
- 25g caster sugar
For Red Gooseberry you will need:
- 100g red gooseberries, washed and top and tailed
- caster sugar to taste
For each puree, put the fruit in a saucepan and add just enough water to cover the base of the pan.
Place on the heat, bring to the boil and then simmer very gently until the fruit has softened, usually about 5-10 minutes.
Push the softened fruit through a metal sieve to make the puree.
Return the puree to the pan.
Taste. How sweet or tart it is will depend entirely on your fruit. Blackcurrants are notoriously tart so you will probably want to add most if not all of the suggested amount of sugar. Red gooseberries are naturally much sweeter than their green cousins so I would taste first and then add sugar a tablespoon at a time until you think it tastes sweet enough. If you’re havering over a final spoonful it is better to be a smidgen too sweet than too tart as the big freeze will take the edge off the sweetness.
Stir the sugar to dissolve, you can place the pan briefly on a very low heat to help dissolve it, but you shouldn’t need to, the warmth of the fruit puree should do it all.
Part 3 – The Ice cream
Pour a puree into each of your portions of custard.
Taste again. (Note I said taste, not eat – try to resist the temptation to deny all knowledge of ice cream and retreat to the sofa with the pan and a spoon). You want the molten ice cream to be a smidge too sweet. This would also be your chance to tone things down a bit if you find the flavour is a bit full on. Personally I like my blackcurrants to have a punch but you could add up to another 50ml of cream to either if you wanted to.
Place each in a plastic freezeable pot with a lid, leave to cool then place in the freezer.
Every hour or so, bring the pots out, beat vigorously with a fork and return to the freezer. Do this at least four times, then leave it to freeze. Or use an ice cream maker if you have one.
Part 4 – Mmmmm!
Serving notes: You will need to take it out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before you want to eat it (depending on the temperature of your house).
Also, small children will approach you with spoons and pleading expressions while you try to take photographs for your blog. If you give in to them they will wolf it down with only an occasional break to exclaim:
Get your own spoon ready first.