You could say ice cream is in my genes. My dad loves it so much, it’s only natural I would inherit the taste for it. We have many a family story around my dad and his insatiable appetite for all things icy. Also, my very first job, aged 15 was selling Italian ice cream from a static van in the foyer of my local Asda. I’d work 4 hours at £2 an hour and try desperately not to lick the scoop after each customer left!
Then, after my second year of dental school (*waits a moment for the irony to sink in*) the only job I could get in my summer holiday to fund a trip to Florida with Hungry Hubby plus get me through to the next student loan instalment was actually driving my own ice cream van! It was slave labour – 13 hour days, no breaks, leaving the van was forbidden even for loo breaks and the salary worked out at less than £2 an hour!
It was one heck of a life experience from the job side of things but extremely cool (no pun intended) to be able to drive the archetypical van around with the tunes paling loudly behind me. The one perk was being able to help yourself to anything in the van to eat and drink and I may have attempted once or twice to get as much Mr Whippy style ice cream onto my cone as humanly possible. Rumour has it…
The weather has changed once again where we live and it is humid as hell and up to the early 20s, centigrade style. That’s hot for Yorkshire ;) Therefore our appetite for raspberry and white chocolate upside down puddings and the like has waned in favour of something to cool us down from the inside out. Enter the rather magical Mary Berry method for no-churn ice cream. Sadly, one of the few minor downfalls of the Apple Chapel is its teeny weeny freezer which will not accommodate the ice cream maker for my KitchenAid.
I contemplated selling it then I realised, I almost a third of the way through my contract and we may have to move again to hopefully somewhere with a proper freezer. It languishes in the back of the cupboard now so when the topic turned to icy treats as it inevitably does in the summer time with my foodie crew, my gorgeous friend Jen recommended I try this winner of a recipe from Mary Berry. She got me, hook, line and sinker with her tales of all the variations she has tried so far and how the texture has none of that breeze block, solid state that home-made, no churn ice cream tends to have.
As the old adage goes, there are more ways than one to skin a cat and the concept definitely applies to ice cream. You can Google and find a myriad of methods from simply flavouring sweetened whipped cream to making a rich egg yolk heavy custard which you churn in ice cream makers of eye-watering expense.
Maybe you want to go all Heston and stir in some dry ice to produce instant ice cream. The method I’m sharing with you today is a new one on me – you make a meringue, whip some double cream, then stir them both plus the egg yolks and you flavourings together before freezing for a few hours. It goes without saying using the best, more fresh eggs you can find is crucial both for flavour and food safety here.
Mary gives you some flavour suggestions and I went with one of them for half the batch – stem ginger. I had to really, as I had exactly the right amount of my homemade stem ginger and it’s syrup left from the last batch I made. Oh my, it was just wonderful to eat. So soft and creamy yet all the flavour of a rich gingerbread. I encourage you all to make your own stem ginger as it’s so easy and I can’t impress upon you how much better tasting it is than store-bought varieties.
Hot and spicy yet cool and icy – it would be the perfect pud after Indian or Far Eastern food for a special dinner when you want something sweet but palate cleansing to finish all that spice off with. Something like this beef vindaloo or this pork bun xao.
There’s where I started to stamp my own mark on Mary’s recipe. I should say I add a splash of alcohol to the ice cream base too as my other friend Hazzer recommended it as an “anti-freeze” to ensure you get a meltingly tender, non-icy ice cream. It works a treat and you absolutely can’t taste it is there if you use a clear spirit like vodka or in my case, Barcardi.
When I had a bottle of it, creme de cacao blanc was great in my ice creams but it’s hardly an everyday store cupboard ingredient! The second flavour I made was the old classic raspberry ripple. The fruity bit being raspberries (fresh or frozen) which are cooked with a scant amount of caster sugar and a dribble of balsamic vinegar until frothy and thickened. Once frozen it forms a sorbet-like ripple throughout the rich cream base which still has the rasp of the berry biting back at ya. Love me a bit of tart fruit sauce against creamy desserts I do.
Hungry Hubby tucked into the raspberry ripple one whereas I polished off a small freezer-safe jar full of the stem ginger flavour. He had a dollop of butterscotch sauce with his too. There is a big part of me who is tempted to skip a meal tomorrow and make a sundae with both flavours and some of the sauce. This is by far the best no-churn ice cream I’ve made so far, even batches made with my KA weren’t so sublimely textured. Yes, you are best to leave a homespun batch to “ripen” in the fridge (i.e. gently soften) – if you leave it in the freezer for days before scooping but this technique is so good, I can’t see ice crystal formation being a problem plus it tastes so moreish you won’t have in the freezer that long anyway ;)
It is, however, for the more restrained, a very easy recipe to halve and the flavourings you incorporate into the basic mix are only limited by your imagination. Dulce de leche, mint chocolate, lemon curd, Nutella, coffee, coconut lime, heck cookie dough and cherry would be in my list of flavours to experiment with! Huge thanks go out to the lovely Jen for her heads up on a cracker of a recipe :D xxx
- 4 very fresh eggs large
- 100 g caster sugar
- 300 ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1-2 tsp Barcardi or vodka
- Half a batch of the base mix
- 50 g stem ginger
- 4 tbsp syrup from the jar
- 200 g approx fresh or frozen raspberries
- 2 scant tbsp of caster sugar
- 1 tsp good quality balsamic vinegar
Separate the eggs and whisk the white to soft peaks.
With the beaters on medium, whisk in the sugar very gradually turning up to high and whisking until firm peaks form.
In a separate bowl, whisk the cream, vanilla and alcohol of your choice until it is softly whipped only – don’t takeit too far and make it too stiff.
Beat the egg yolks into the cream – this will loosen it but don’t worry too much.
Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time.
Now if making two flavours, divide equally into your two bowls from the egg white and cream whipping stage – if not, you will need to double up the ingredients for which ever you choose to use.
You can freeze at this stage for 2-3 hours if you want a plain vanilla ice cream and it will be scoop able but still softly set.
Puree the stem ginger with 1 tbsp of the syrup in a mini blender (my Bamix is brilliant here)
Add the rest of the syrup then stir through the base mix reserved for this batch.
Pour into a plastic container with roughly 750ml capacity* and freeze for 2-3 hours before using (note all freezers are at slightly different temperatures so it may take slightly less or slightly more for the ice cream to set).
Ideally do this before the base mix to allow it to cool to room temp before using.
Put the berries and sugar in a small saucepan and cook stirring constantly on medium high until they break down completely and the sauce becomes fluffy and thickened – about 10 minutes.
When thickened add the balsamic vinegar and take off the heat to cool (don’t worry bout tasting it – the vinegar is there to give life to the berries, you can not taste it in the finished ice cream).
Pour the base mix into a shallow plastic box with lid and freeze for 45 – 60 minutes until it is semi solid and scoop-able
When semi-solid, layer up big spoonfuls of the ice cream with the raspberry sauce and use a small flat bladed knife or wide skewer to ripple – don’t go too crazy or the effect will be lost and the ice cream will turn a homogenous pink. Not to heinous a crime but still…!
Again, freeze 2-3 hours until fully set.
I found my 2 pint plastic pudding basins were excellent to put each batch of ice cream in and they approach that of the high end store bought versions like Ben & Jerry’s ;) Or you could freeze individual portions in small freezer safe plastic or glass pots, my Pampered Chef prep pots were perfect for this :D