The weather forecasters tell us this week it’s going to be ice cream weather in England, and who am I to question them? I, therefore, expect that tonight’s edition of the local paper will have at least one photo of a girl wearing a sun hat and eating an ice cream in a park somewhere in Shropshire. It may make the front page, if it gets above 20°c today. I scoff, but in this house all weather is apparently ice cream weather. My two girls will ask for ice cream when there is snow outside. Come wind or gale, ice cream is their number one choice.
My mum very kindly left her ice cream maker at our house, which makes meeting the demands of my children very easy indeed.
Mum also has a large strawberry patch in her garden, which, when the strawberries are ready, is visited daily by two little girls who emerge with strawberry juice grins quite a bit later. Any surplus strawberries are pulped and mixed with sugar and the resulting purée is bagged up and frozen for use during the winter and spring until next year’s harvest. Hence, the making of strawberry ice cream this week, when we still have a few weeks to wait before we can visit the strawberry patch.
When strawberry ice cream is made it is inevitable that there will be cries for chocolate ice cream shortly afterwards and so that too is made. Both are absolutely delicious and really don’t taste like anything you can buy from the shops. It is definitely worth the time spent making both. The strawberry ice cream takes mere minutes, there is a little more stirring involved with the chocolate ice cream but it is definitely worth it.
The ice cream in the pictures were the just before school portions and yes, I know it is probably wrong to give your children ice cream before school, but when it is made out of such delicious things I can’t really see any harm in it. Especially when it means I get to sneak a spoonful or two as well.
The recipes for both ice creams come from Jacki Passmore’s The Book of Ice Creams and Sorbets (Salamander Books, 1992).
Chocolate ice cream
50g (2oz) good quality dark chocolate
4 egg yolks
50g (2oz) sugar
375 ml (12 fl oz) single cream
a tiny pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. In a stainless steel or heatproof glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla extract together until pale, thick and creamy. Scald the cream in a pan and then, whilst still whisking pour the hot cream slowly over the eggy mixture. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir continuously until the mixture thickens and just coats the back of the spoon. Stir in the chocolate and mix well. It takes a while for it to combine properly so keep on stirring until it is a glorious dark brown. Allow to cool.
If you have an ice cream maker, then pour the mixture into the ice cream bowl and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If not, pour the mixture into a large tupperware box and place in the freezer for an hour, take out of the freezer and using a fork beat until smooth. Repeat this process another 3 times.
After a full day in the freezer this ice cream will need to be removed from the freezer for about ten minutes before you can even begin to think about spooning it out.
Strawberry ice cream
500g (1lb) fresh strawberries
100g (4oz) caster sugar
350ml (12 fl oz) double or whipping cream
Mash the strawberries with a fork or whiz in a food processor until pureed. Add the sugar and mix well. At this point you can place the mixture in a freezer bag and it will happily freeze until you want to use it. If it is frozen, allow to defrost fully before adding the cream. Lightly whip the cream. Add the cream and mix well.
If you have an ice cream maker follow the manufacturer’s instructions. If not place the mixture into a large tupperware and place in the freezer, after an hour of freezing use a fork to beat the mixture well and freeze again. Repeat this 2 or 3 times.
Store the ice creams in covered containers.