Summer is leaving us slowly here…………..the horse chestnut in the garden is already shedding its huge leaves, and the days are getting gradually shorter.
In truth, the weather has disappointed this year.There have been long hot dreamy days, but they have been cruelly disrupted by heavy rains, strong winds and even the odd mild tornado.
Yes, I feel quite at home here – the weather is so British.
Strawberries and cream are the quintessential British dessert, and I have combined those evocative flavours of summer with one of my favourite ingredients – Rosewater.
I suppose , like Marmite, you either love it or hate it, and I fall into the former camp and use it with abandon in my cooking.
As an unashamed collector of kitchen gadgetry, I do own an ice cream maker (the one with the inbuild chiller unit).
However the recipe can be made using a domestic freezer, with a bit of patience.
500G HULLED STRAWBERRIES.
8OOML OF FRESH DOUBLE CREAM AND MILK COMBINED (AT A PROPORTION OF AT LEAST 50/50 – I WAS A LITTLE HEAVY HANDED WITH THE CREAM AND USED 600 ML)
150G VANILLA SUGAR
8 EGG YOLKS (I USED ORGANIC)
1TBSP OF CORNFLOUR.
1. Hull and cut up the strawberries into quarters. Lay on a plate and sprinkle with the rosewater.Leave to infuse for at least one hour at room temperature. Stir occasionally to amalgamate the rosewater thoroughly.
2. In the meantime prepare the custard. Add vanilla sugar, cornflour and egg yolks to a deep bowl. Beat until mixed well.
(I use cornflour to minimise the risk of splitting the custard – other methods include the use of a double boiler, or having a sink full of cold water nearby to plunge the mixture into in the event of disaster – Cornflour is the simplest way. Honestly.)
3. Slowly heat up the cream and milk in a saucepan until it is considering its ascent up the pan sides to come to a full boil. BEFORE this happens, take the pan off the heat and pour into the egg and sugar mixture. Beat the mixture hard.
4. In a clean saucepan, return the mixture to the heat and gently heat and stir (or beat) until the mixture thickens. Remember here that we are not looking to cut it into polenta like slabs – a gentle thickening to a pouring consistency is sufficient.
5. Cool the mixture down. Do this by way of some ice in a large bowl placed below the pan, but NEVER in the fridge – this will seriously affect the operating temperature and the other food stored there.
6. After the strawberries have macerated, purée them in a blender.
7. To make the ice cream either pour into the ice cream maker and set to churn and freeze, OR pour the mixture into a plastic lidded container and place in the freezer. In this case, the mixture will need to be broken up and mixed a few times during the freezing process in order to reduce the formation of ice crystals in the preparation.
8. Serve with a few additional strawberries, in cones or wafers or simply on its own. An ice cream maker has the added advantage of allowing you to serve it “semifreddo” – a soft creamy consistency that is a stage between the liquid mixture and the fully frozen result. (see picture in the red bowl)