Fruit ice creams in August are such a treat. I have been breaking all my rules about mid afternoon snacking by taking an indulgent break about 4pm to sit out in my sunny garden with a crisp buttery cone stuffed with blackberries and cream ice cream. I have lived in Stroud Green for a couple of years and this has been the first year that I have been able to make full use of my garden. Usually we have been washed inside by calamitous storms and miserable rain. However, this summer I have loved taking advantage of everything that a British summer has to offer and that includes the ever so traditional berries and cream.
I have a small confession though, this isn’t my recipe at all, I have totally cribbed it from my father’s old collection of 1980s Taste Magazines. The recipe was completely perfect as it was, all I’ve tweaked is a bit of the method and the name. Taste referred to it as Frosted Blackberry and Caramel Marble ice cream. Now, the recipe was indeed made with a caramel but that isn’t what gives the deliciously soft, smooth ice cream its flavour, it is instead made bountiful with the sweet, plump juicy blackberries and generous clouds of cream and I think that is what needs to be celebrated about this absolutely amazing ice cream which has swiftly become one of my favourites.
One of the main things I adapted about the recipe was the preparation of the blackberries as I have a bit of an issue with seeds I’ve realised. It came from an off hand comment my mother-in-law once made about the difficulty in buying seedless jams from the farmers’ markets, so last year when I made some jams that I intended to give her I made sure I sieved out the seeds in the process. This has now become second nature to me and now I really notice and am bothered by the inclusion of seeds in jams and ice creams. I bought a homemade raspberry ice lolly from the market a couple of weeks ago and the seeds were so overwhelming that it completely ruined the treat for me. I was picking them out of my teeth for the rest of the afternoon and complaining about it to anyone unlucky enough to be in my company that day. Removing the seeds is a bit of an extra step when dealing with berries but it changes the consistency to be so much smoother that it is definitely worth it. The other upside to always removing the seeds is that you will often have a large amount of fruity gubbins leftover from the sieving process which is absolutely perfect for making infused gins and vodkas which I will be posting more about in the future since I have made a lot of them over the summer.
This recipe was a bit of a revelation for me in terms of ice cream making. I love homemade ice cream but sometimes I can’t be bothered with the hard-set stuff, the kind that you have to take it out from the freezer for 20 minutes so that you don’t snap your spoon in half desperately trying to dig at it. These 20 minutes are always an endless time of frustration for me. This blackberries and cream ice cream though is proudly soft scoop. If you fancy a teaspoon of ice cream whilst you are waiting for the toast to pop up then this is ideal. Luscious and creamy direct from the freezer. It achieves the soft set by adding liquid glucose to pureed blackberries which helps the crystallisation of the sugar and also protects the fruit, as without the sugar the blackberries would freeze solid. The ice cream base is made by whisking egg whites and drizzling in a sugar syrup to form a fluffy meringue which is what gives the ice cream its texture. Billows of double cream are then folded through, giving the ice cream richness. The recipe asks that you ripple the blackberry puree through at the end but I was a bit heavy handed and I ended up pretty much mixing it all in. In hindsight this wasn’t a mistake as it was lovely to get a pure fruity hit in each cold creamy lick.
Blackberries and Cream Ice Cream
Adapted from Taste, August 1987
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp liquid glucose
250g light soft brown sugar
4 egg whites
300ml double cream
- Pour the blackberries into a medium sized pan and heat gently with a splash of water to aid the breaking down of the berries. Once the berries have completely softened then remove them from the heat and pour into a sieve. Push the berries through, the best aid for this I think is a silicone spatula, so that all the seeds are extracted from the fruit pulp. Discard the seeds (or save to make a fruit alcohol infusion as explained above) and return the pureed blackberries back into the pan.
- Add the icing sugar and liquid glucose to the blackberry puree and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat then leave to cool before covering and refrigerating overnight.
- Meanwhile pour the brown sugar into another medium sized saucepan and add 300ml of water. Heat gently so that the sugar completely dissolves into the water. Then bring to the boil and carrying on boiling until it reaches a very thick and syrupy consistency, it should reach 112°C on a sugar thermometer and can take about 20 minutes. You must keep your eye on the saucepan at all times so that it doesn’t bubble over.
- In a large mixing bowl whisk up the egg whites until stiff, then drizzle in the sugar syrup in a slow steady steam whilst continuing whisking. The egg whites will turn beautifully glossy.
- In a separate bowl lightly whip the double cream then fold into the egg whites until they are fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with cling film and place in the fridge overnight.
- The next day pour the egg white and cream mixture into your ice cream machine and churn. For the last five minutes of churning drizzle in the blackberry puree. Once the ice cream has reached a thick milkshake consistency then decant the ice cream into tubs and freeze overnight to reach the correct set.