A few years ago, a friend introduced me to the idea of making ice cream with my own fresh or frozen fruit. Hilary’s ice cream recipe makes a particularly silky ice cream but requires an ice cream maker. My little ice cream maker, costing less than £50, is an insulated bowl which is placed in the freezer 24 hours before (check your freezer drawer is deep enough before purchase) along with a paddle mechanism. You can also make ice cream without an ice cream maker and there are plenty of different recipes, but I have found that the one I have included works for me.
- 225ml semi skimmed or whole milk (silkier if whole milk used)
- 175 g caster sugar (reduce according to the sweetness of the flavouring)
- 450ml double cream
- Pinch salt
- 1 egg yolk
- 1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
- Flavourings (see below)
- Mix all the ingredients apart from the flavouring together and then churn in your ice cream maker for about half an hour or more until it is light and airy.
- Fold in the flavouring and freeze for a couple of hours to reach a solid consistency.
- Take the ice cream out 15 minutes before required to soften.
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, I have found a really quick and easy recipe on the BBC Good Food website which involves mixing half a 397ml tin of condensed milk with 600ml double cream and a tsp vanilla essence. You simply mix until peaks form, add the flavouring and freeze. It isn’t quite as smooth but by the time you have added your flavouring, you don’t really notice (https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/no-churn-ice-cream).
Both make about 1 litre of ice cream once flavourings have been added.
You can add almost anything to the ice cream base. The higher the water content of your fruit, the higher the chance of ice crystals which makes the ice cream grainy. I don’t add more than 20% fruit content and puree it rather than include large pieces. Where fruit has tough skins or seeds, I cook it first to make a puree and push the puree through a sieve to remove seeds and skins. The following combinations work equally well with home grown or shop bought ingredients
- Blackcurrant. Use sieved puree. A lovely deep pink ice cream
- Elderflower. Add elderflower cordial to make a delicate ice cream
- Gooseberry and elderflower. Use sieved puree. An attractive fragrant green ice cream
- Orange ice cream. Add pureed oranges or marmalade to make a tangy ice cream. Blood oranges make a particularly attractive orange-red ice cream
- Rhubarb and ginger. Chop the rhubarb into small pieces and cook briefly to soften or completely puree. Add to ice cream along with either finely chopped fresh ginger or stem ginger and syrup
- Sloe gin. Add some homemade sloe gin. The alcohol content keeps this ice cream soft so it melts quickly. Also works well with limoncello.
- Strawberry. Puree the fruit with some lemon and icing sugar.
The joy of ice cream making is that you can experiment with flavourings and there are thousands of suggestions to be found on the internet. I use frozen fruit or store goods during the winter. Many recipes also exist for iced yogurt and granitas if you prefer to avoid cream.
The ice creams pictured are a rhubarb and ginger machine-made ice cream and a no-churn rhubarb and elderflower ice cream.