Here’s a good way of avoiding children’s demands as the ice cream van comes around. You don’t need a fancy ice cream machine to make your own – the top of your fridge or your freezer can stand in while you create your own recipes and flavours. There are different categories you might try. The most common is what the Americans call ‘custard’, or what the Italians might call ‘gelati’, namely naming a kind of custard mix out of eggs, cream and milk and then freezing it. It’s also possible just to use double cream and fruit, or Greek yoghurt and fruit. Finally making your own sorbets is another option. Here are three recipes to try.
Raspberry frozen yoghurt
This is quite diabetic friendly. Take 1 pint of thick Greek yoghurt, and 8 oz of raspberries, and mix them together. Put in the freezer until it starts to set, and then take it out and stir it to break up the ice crystals a bit. Stir at two hourly intervals or so after that. After about 8 hours you will have the most delicious frozen yoghurt with no added sugar. By the way, any really ripe fruit will lend itself to this technique.
Home made ice cream
Beat 4 egg yolks in a pan until they are creamy, then beat in 2 tbsp of hot milk. Beat in a further 500ml of hot milk, beating the mixture constantly. Add 125g caster sugar, stir it in, and then transfer to a double boiler, or if you don’t have one, use a Pyrex dish nestled in the top of a pan of hot water (not too full otherwise the hot water will splash out). Cook over a gentle heat, and keep stirring it the whole time, until it easily coats the back of the spoon you are using. Whatever you do, don’t allow your mixture to boil, or you will end up with scrambled eggs! Be really, really patient and keep stirring all the time. Once it has thickened, remove from the heat, cool, and freeze according to the instructions for frozen yoghurt.
You can adapt the flavour by adding different things as you add the 500ml of hot milk. These include: vanilla essence, rum essence and raisins (for rum and raisin, unsurprisingly), crushed strawberries, raspberries or blackberries, a dash of any liquers you might have lying around, such as Baileys or Marsala, chocolate sauce, coffee (add a bit of hot water to instant coffee before adding it), or melted Mars bars. Just stir them in.
if you have made the vanilla version, and happen to have a little espresso maker (you can get aluminium stove top ones for as little as a tenner if you shop around), you can make a lovely dessert by putting a small scoop of the ice cream into a tea cup and then pouring a portion of the hot coffee over it. Best eaten straight away. The Italians call this ‘affogato’.
Boil 125ml water with the zest of two lemons and 250g sugar. Boil the mixture, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Cool, chill, and then add 500ml lemon juice (you can use bottled, such as PLJ). Strain, and then freeze as in the above recipes. Soften in the fridge for a little while before serving.
This recipe also works well with oranges (perhaps use a little less sugar), limes, and even grapefruits, although you may need to adapt the recipe a little according to personal preferences. A dash of Cointreau in an orange sorbet, or white wine in a lemon one, makes it very grown up.