Tag Archives: ice cream

Churn, Baby, Churn! Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt

I look outside. The sky is leaden and overbearing, then it starts to lash with rain. Yup, the Great British Summer is well and truly underway, which means we’ve been enjoying the downpour for about a week now. In fact, we enjoyed Midsummer yesterday, with a flash of sun in London, which swiftly turned to cats and dogs.

But ’twas not ever thus…we were all lulled into a false sense of hope with a few weeks of sun earlier in the summer, then – wham! – the rains came, and kept coming. I often find myself wandering around humming that classic Eurythmics track Here Comes the Rain Again. Seems really rather fitting.

However…let us not forget those spectacular sunny days in late spring and early summer that we did enjoy. Why so relevant to us now? Well, it’s more than a mere memory, as it gave all those fields of soft fruit here in Britain a bit of a kick start, so we are now enjoying a bumper crop of sweet, delicious berries. I’ve been ignoring the imports, and heading straight for the fruit from Kent and Sussex.

Last summer, I made a superb strawberry sorbet (and it was superb – not being big headed), so I thought this time I would do a variation on a theme, and make strawberry frozen yoghurt. I love frozen yoghurt, as it is light and refreshing, with a welcome icy tang – perfect for a hot day. Pair this with delicious fruit and it’s a winning combination.

This recipe is one from David Leibovitz, but I pared down the method to make a bit more “mash up the fruit, then whizz in the blender, then freeze”.

So apart from macerating the fruit (the benefits of maceration explained here), it doesn’t need any cooking or messing around with hot sugar syrup. Thus, it’s perfect to make when you’re busy with other things. Plus, the colour is hot pink, so guaranteed to brighten up those rainy days.

To make strawberry frozen yoghurt (adapted from David Leibovitz):

• 450g strawberries(*)
• 130g white sugar
• 2 teaspoons vodka or limoncello
• 240g natural yogurt
• 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Put the strawberries, sugar and vodka/limoncello in a bowl, and mash roughly. Leave to stand, covered, at room temperature until the sugar has dissolved (at least 30 minutes, but as long as you can manage).

Throw the strawberry mixture, lemon juice and yoghurt in a blender. Blitz until smooth. If you don’t like seeds, pass through a strainer. If you don’t care, just leave them in.

Chill the mixture in the fridge, then freeze according to your ice cream machine.

(*) Weight after removing stalks and any bad bits.

Worth making? Love it. Love it. Love it. Quick, fresh and delicious, cream and tangy – the essence of summer. Love it!


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

Milk Gelato

What with all the plants bursting into life, the hot weather and the switch over to British Summer Time (light until eight in the evening!), time to dig out the ice cream machine. I recently saw what looked like an exciting recipe for milk gelato on Saver Magazine’s website (here). OK, so it’s not quite summer yet, but we need to get into practice. Any excuse!

This recipe reminded me of one of my favourite flavours when I was a child, which was made by Scottish ice cream producer Mackies. I always thought it was vanilla, until I actually looked at the list of ingredients and saw that there was no trace of it. This flavour was called “traditional” and was a simple milk ice cream –  just cream, milk and sugar – so it seems I was a fan of milk gelato for all those years, even if I didn’t know it.

If you are sitting there thinking hmmm, I prefer there to be a bit of flavour in there, then don’t worry. The mixture is sufficiently rich to provide a smooth, creamy gelato, so the trick is just to be sure to use fresh milk and the richest, most luxurious cream that you can lay your hands on. Just imagine serving it with raspberries, strawberries, blackberries or the rest of summer’s bounty. Exactly! Not so in need of just a little dash of vanilla now, eh?

While the resulting gelato can be frozen (eh…how else would you store it?), I think it is also served as fresh as possible, so my tip would be to prepare the base the day before serving and freeze the day you are intending to eat it. This way, the gelato will be at its best, and you will benefit from nods of approval of those devouring your creation.

To make milk gelato (just over 1 litre):

• 240ml double cream
• 720ml whole milk
• 200g white sugar
• 7 teaspoons cornflour(*)
• 1 tablespoon apricot jam, sieved(**)

Put the cream and 2/3 of the milk (480ml) into a saucepan. Heat gently until just simmering, then remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, mix the rest of the milk, the sugar and the cornflour until combined. Pour this into the hot cream/milk mixture. Stir well with a whisk, then return to the heat and cook over a medium heat for around 10 minutes (stirring all the time) until the mixture is slightly thicker. At the end, stir in the apricot jam. Be careful with the heat, as the mixture can easily boil over, and burned sugary milk is a pain to clean up…

Cover the thickened mixture with cling film (to stop a skin forming) and leave to cool. When cold, pour into the ice cream bucket, chill in the fridge for a couple of hours, and leave the ice cream machine to work its magic.

(*)  By this, I mean the stuff you use to thicken sauce, so it may be called “cornstarch” elsewhere.

(**) To sieve the jam: heat a couple of spoonfuls in a saucepan until runny. Pass through a very fine sieve (using a spoon to push it through), and use a spoonful of the sieved jam in the recipe. Don’t know what adding the jam does, but I did it, and the result was great.

Worth making? In a word – superb. Will surely be making this again as I think it would go wonderfully with summer fruits later in the year.


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things

Chocolate Sherbet (aka Ice-Cream)

With a new ice-cream machine sitting in the corner, it was just a matter of time before I got round to making something with chocolate.

The thing is, that I don’t really like thick, creamy frozen desserts. When it is warm, I prefer something light, bright and clean-tasting. So how to do this with chocolate? Surely this ingredient is the essence of all things heavy and rich?

Well, I have recently tried a few different recipes recently which have taught me quite  lot – a champagne sorbet worked well, and the strawberry sorbet was stunning. I also turned my hand to pistachio. The first attempt (a Nigel Slater recipe, which is usually a good sign)  used an egg-based custard made with double cream. The result was, to my palate, not very nice. It was thick, like eating frozen over-whipped cream, with nay a hint of pistachio. To heavy, too rich, too much egg. Just too much of everything.

My second attempt was much simpler, a gelato recipe from David Leibowitz via Chocolate & Zucchini (see the C&Z variation, see here). Rather than all those rich ingredients, this used milk thickened with just a little cornflour. The result was great – might lighter, a more fluid custard, and once it was frozen, it had just a hint of  “creaminess” from the milk but without all that weight. I also like that when it melts, it becomes a liquid, rather than staying like a thick, soft cream. Just my preference!

All this practicing has taught me that I prefer and should therefore stick to these “lighter” recipes – either sorbets, or what the Americans call “sherbets”. I like that the Americans have an extra category between sorbet and ice-cream. What makes a sherbet a sherbet and not a sorbet is the addition of a small amount of dairy (some light milk or a shot of cream). Thus, all along, I had chocolate sherbet in my mind, so I was quite happy when I managed to track down this recipe from David. Now I just need to convert my friends in London over to using this term, which is likely to be a source of further confusion as sherbet here means a fizzy powder sweet.

To make this sherbet, I decided I did not want to leave the house, so I went with the chocolate I happened to have in the cupboard, a bar of fleur de cocoa dark chocolate from Pierre Marcolini, plus a jar of pure dark chocolate shavings he sells for use in drinking chocolate. If this recipe was going to showcase the flavour of the chocolate, it made perfect sense for me to use the very best I had. I also used good Dutch cocoa powder to complement the chocolate.

As always, the need to make tweaks to the recipe overtook me, so rather than just using white sugar, I added muscovado – this lends the finished produce a more interesting flavour, with caramel notes coming through rather than just pure sweetness, just helping to round out the taste.

The base itself look and smelled wonderful. Rich aromas, and a glossy deep brown chestnut colour. Some might be tempted to drink the lot with a straw or pour directly down their throat, but as it was pushing 28°C here, that temptation was not really an issue for me. I chilled it, froze it, and tried it.

First time round, I let the mixture cool on the stove, then moved it to the fridge to chill it before freezing. This worked, but during the chilling process, the mixture “separated” a little, so tiny particles of chocolate formed. Tiny, but you could feel them on your tongue. I sensed this was not right, so I put the lot back on a saucepan, heated it again, but this time put it straight into the ice-cream machine. Result? A perfectly smooth scoop which gave me a little tingle of excitement.

In my view, this is one of the best chocolate ice-creams that I have ever had. I think too often chocolate seems like vanilla flavoured with cocoa powder, or it is too creamy, or the flavour is too weak. Not an issue here. Beautiful colour and intense taste, and just perfect for the hot weather. Result? Result!

For 3/4 litre of chocolate ice-cream:

• 500ml semi-skimmed milk
• 100g muscovado sugar
• pinch of salt
• 50g cocoa powder
• 115g dark chocolate, very finely chopped
• 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1 tablespoon white rum

Place 250ml of milk, the sugar, salt and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Heat slowly, whisking all the time, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 seconds.

Turn off the heat. Add the chocolate, mix well until the chocolate has melted, then add the rest of the milk, the vanilla and the rum and stir well.

Pour the mixture into the ice-cream machine and freeze.

Worth making? This ice-cream recipe is both very easy and very delicious. Perfect for those that want their chocolate fix even in hot weather, as well as for those that like to enjoy cool things on hot days. I will make this again, and again and again this summer. Wonderful!


Filed under Recipe, Sweet Things