Scoop it up

Scoop it up

Scoop it up

First published in NewsXtra

Have the summer holidays licked by whipping up some tasty ice creams, lollies and sorbets.

By Martha Jay


Summer may be a washout so far, but a new breed of rock'n'roll ice cream will tempt you whatever the weather.

And with the school holidays approaching, there's no better time to whip up a batch.

"Nothing can compare to the epiphany you will experience when making fresh ice cream and creating your own flavours," says Matt O'Connor, author of new book The Icecreamists and a self-confessed ice cream evangelist.

O'Connor's experimental and sometimes outrageous concoctions - the gun-shaped Vice Lolly, for example, combines absinthe and holy water - are served to fans in his parlours in London's Covent Garden.

Headline-grabbing creations aside, his boutique ice cream recipes are based on the traditional Italian gelato, made with eggs, milk and cream for a smooth, creamy 'mouthfeel'.

And he says there are many good reasons to make your own. "Most bog-standard ice cream is made with vegetable fat and hasn't seen a cow in its life. The only thing manufacturers are milking is you, not the bovine," he writes.

By using good-quality ingredients and fruit in season, you can create a sophisticated, flavoursome batch that's a million miles away from a Mr Whippy, in just 20 minutes plus freezing time.

And, O'Connor says, it will be a fraction of the price of the so-called "luxury" ice creams in the supermarket, which contain stabilisers and emulsifiers.

The book has a frozen dessert to suit everyone, from refreshing sorbettos and ice lollies to grown-up ice cream cocktails.


First things first

No ice cream maker? Here's what to do:

1. Prepare the mix according to the recipe.

2. Chill as instructed, then pour the mixture into a plastic container, cover with a lid and place in your freezer for 50 minutes.

3. Remove from the freezer and beat with an electric whisk or stick blender to remove any ice crystals. Return to the freezer.

4. Over the next 2-3 hours, remove from the freezer every 30 minutes or so and whisk or beat again. Finally, leave until completely frozen.

Try these funky flavours for a taste experience that goes far beyond plain vanilla...


The custardy suite

(Traditional Italian crema ice cream)

250ml (8fl oz) full-fat milk

125ml (4fl oz) double cream

4 egg yolks

88g (3¼oz) caster sugar

Pinch of sea salt

Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil.

Pour back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the fridge.

Once cooled, cover the mixture and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4C). Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions or whisk by hand.

When the churning is completed, use a spoon or spatula to scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).


Glastonberry

(Seasonal berry sorbetto)

120ml (3¾fl oz) water

120g (3¾oz) caster sugar

650g (1¼lb) fresh or frozen summer fruits (raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, etc), sieved if frozen

Juice of 1 lemon

Shot of raspberry cordial

Dash of grenadine (optional)

Dash of aged balsamic vinegar (optional)

Pour the water into a saucepan and add the sugar. Place over a low heat and bring to the boil, whisking often, until the sugar dissolves. Add the summer fruits, reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 10 minutes, continuing to whisk until the liquid turns into a syrup.

Pour the syrup into a heatproof bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes.

Add the lemon juice and shot of raspberry cordial, then sieve the mixture carefully to remove any pulp and seeds. You'll be left with a thick, rich liquid. If you'd like to spice up your sorbetto, add a dash of grenadine and aged balsamic vinegar now. Cover and refrigerate, ideally overnight, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4C).

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions or whisk by hand.

When the churning is completed, use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sorbetto into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2-3 hours).


Fizz must be love

(Pink Champagne ice lollies)

(Makes 6 - 8)

100ml (3½fl oz) water

100g (3½oz) caster sugar

400ml (14fl oz) pink Champagne (Laurent-Perrier rose or similar)

Pour the water into a saucepan and add the sugar. Place over a low heat and bring to the boil, whisking often, until the sugar dissolves. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 5 minutes, continuing to whisk until the liquid turns into a syrup. Set aside and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

Add the champagne and whisk together. Pour into lolly moulds, filling them about two-thirds full so that the mixture has room to expand as it freezes.

Place in the freezer for about 30 minutes, until almost solid, then insert a stick in each one. Freeze for another 30 minutes.

If you can't find pink Champagne, use ordinary Champagne and add a splash of creme de cassis.


From Rocher with love

(Praline and chocolate ice cream)

250ml (8fl oz) full-fat milk

125ml (4fl oz) double cream

2 egg yolks

88g (3¼oz) caster sugar

225g (7½oz) hazelnut chocolate spread (such as Nutella)

6 chocolate praline balls (such as Ferrero Rocher), roughly chopped edible gold balls, to decorate

Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil.

Add 150g (5oz) of the hazelnut chocolate spread and mix with a stick blender. Pour the mixture back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the fridge.

Once cooled, cover the mixture and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4C). Pour into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions or whisk by hand.

When the churning is completed, put the remaining 75g (2½oz) hazelnut chocolate spread in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20 seconds on medium, or until runny. Fold into the ice cream along with the chocolate praline balls.

Use a spoon or spatula to scrape the ice cream into a freezerproof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).

Chocoholics Anonymous can serve the ice cream with extra chocolate sauce (see below) and edible gold balls.


Choc 'n' roll sauce

(Dark chocolate sauce)

200g (7oz) dark or milk chocolate, finely chopped

170ml (scant 6fl oz) full-fat milk

2 tbsp double cream

30g (1¼oz) caster sugar

30g (1¼oz) butter, chopped into small pieces

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water, whisking all the time. Remove from the heat and whisk in the milk, cream and sugar. Return to the heat and stir gently for a few seconds. Remove from the heat again and stir in the butter a few pieces at a time until you have a smooth sauce.

Sieve and serve immediately with ice cream, or keep warm in a bain-marie until needed. Fuel-inject the sauce if you like with a slug of Grand Marnier, Amaretto or Baileys Irish Cream.

 

:: The Icecreamists: Vice Creams, Ice Cream Recipes & Other Guilty Pleasures by Matt O'Connor is published by Mitchell Beazley, priced £16.99. Available now

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