Last week I read somewhere that more ice cream is sold in the winter than in the summer. It makes sense, if you think about it: all those hot desserts. For a slice of hot fruit pie, straight from the oven, or a treacle pudding straight from the steamer, there is no better accompaniment than a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream. When you have the heating on, it doesn’t matter what the weather is like outside. That being said, I do enjoy a walk down to Gelupo on Archer Street on a frosty winter night for a couple of scoops of the Christmas pudding gelato they bring out every festive season.
We’ve always kept ice cream in the freezer during the winter months for such purposes; and recently I have taken to making my own. I considered buying an ice cream maker, but living in a London flat with a small kitchen, I don’t have the space. We had to get rid of our microwave to free up some counter room for the espresso machine, so have put an embargo on more gadgets until we move to a place with a bigger kitchen. Then I thought about an attachment for my KitchenAid, but there was also a problem: the bowl needs to be stored in the freezer and mine is packed full of everything from frozen leftover stews to the good bottles of vodka. Not suitable either.
There is, however, a third option. It’s time-consuming, labour intensive and not ideal by any means, but it does enable you to make ice cream with nothing more than a Tupperware and a fork. The reason that you can’t just make the custard base and pop it in the freezer until it sets is that freezing anything from liquid to solid creates ice crystals. The churning of the ice cream maker breaks up those ice crystals to create a smooth result. When you make ice cream by hand, the alternative way of breaking up the ice crystals is to stir the ice cream during the freezing process. Once the ice cream goes into the freezer, I take it out and stir it with a fork every half an hour for about four hours.
See what I mean about time consuming? But it is a great thing to do if you’re working from home or have a rainy afternoon indoors. Once I put the stirred ice cream back into the freezer, I set the cooker timer for half an hour and just carry on with my day.
This ice cream is an adaptation on the classic raspberry ripple. Blackberries are abundant at this time of year and grow wildly just about anywhere. We used to have a great blackberry bush by the garages opposite my flat, but since Southwark Council cut it back a couple of years ago, I get most of mine from Nunhead Cemetery. When they go out of season, I use frozen berries, which are absolutely fine to bake with. Any berries would work well in this recipe, but you might want to adjust the amount of sugar you use in the ripple; I used quite a lot here as blackberries are especially tart.
Try it with a slice of apple pie.
Blackberry Ripple Ice Cream
Note: this recipe includes a lot of time for chilling and churning, so ideally you should start it one or two days before you want to eat it. This recipe is for making ice cream by hand; if you are lucky enough to have an ice cream maker, adjust the settings according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
500ml double cream
250ml whole milk
6 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt
In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and cream to a simmer. Strip the peel from the lemons using a potato peeler and add them to the saucepan. Take off the heat, cover, and set aside for one hour.
In a separate heavy saucepan, whisk together 170g of the sugar with the egg yolks until pale and thick. Pour the lemon-infused cream through a sieve and stir into this mixture. Cook over a medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Transfer to an airtight container and allow to cool. Once cool, transfer to the fridge and chill overnight.
Meanwhile, make the blackberry ripple. Purée the blackberries in a blender then push through a sieve to extract the juice. Discard the pulp. Bring the juice to a simmer and reduce by half. Add the sugar and salt and stir in until dissolved. Transfer to an airtight container and allow to cool. Once cool, transfer to the fridge and chill overnight.
When you are ready to make the ice cream, transfer the custard base to the freezer. Remove from the freezer and stir well with a fork every half an hour for four hours. On the final stir, spoon the chilled blackberry mixture across the surface and swirl through with a knife. Be careful not to swirl too much as you will ruin the ‘ripple’ effect and end up with purple ice cream. Consume within a week.
Inspired by a recipe by Serious Eats.
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