I don't have a sweet tooth, but I can't live without ice cream. I like a velvety vanilla or chocolate ice cream now and then, but what I crave the most is ice without the cream: give me a fruity, zingy, yoghurty, acidic sorbet or lolly, and I am putty in your hands. For example, I have a ridiculous passion for Solero ice lollies, to the point that I keep a secret stash of them in my freezer (they're tucked behind the fish fingers, if you're ever a guest in my house).
Their flavour is slightly synthetic and their neon oranges and yellows highly unlikely, but my goodness they are good: sour, sweet, crunchy and very, very good on a hot day. Plus, they're moulded in long cylinders with a flattened end, so you can gnaw on the icy bit and then, as the ice begins to melt, make rude noises as you piston them in and out of your mouth and suck out the fruity juice and... well... that's enough of that, Mavis!
I have an ice cream machine, which I've used for many years to make fruit and yoghurt ices, but it's really not worth the bother. For one, you have to put the bowl in the freezer for eight hours before you want ice cream. For another, I've lost the plastic scrapery thing that scratches the frozen mixture away from the sides of the icy bowl, so I have to hover over it with a spatula, doing the scraping by hand.
So I decided to experiment with 'instant' fruit yoghurt ice creams. That is, ice creams that don't need to be churned or mixed as they freeze. You peel, cut and freeze the fruit, in advance, while it's in season, chuck it in a food processor with some chilled sugar syrup and a dollop of yoghurt, give it a blitz, and it's done in 2 minutes.
Two requirements: a food processor with a sturdy blade, and a very cold freezer.
I've tried this recipe with deep-frozen mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries, blackcurrents, etc), bananas and plums (you can use any fruit, as long as it's not too fibrous), but this mixture of perfumed mango and plain yoghurt is by far and away the winner. Mangos are still in season here in South Africa, and I've frozen bucketloads of them for use in winter.
'Instant' Mango and Yoghurt Ice Cream
4-5 small, perfectly ripe mangos
3/4 cup (180 ml) sugar syrup (see below)
1/2 cup (125 ml) natural yoghurt: Greek, or Bulgarian, or full-cream maas (amasi)
the juice of a lemon
Peel the mangos, slice off the flesh and chop into cubes. Put the fruit into a metal or ceramic dish, place in the deep freeze and leave for a day or two, or until rock hard.
In the meantime, make a sugar syrup (I always keep a jug of this in my fridge for lemonades, cool drinks and ice-cream emergencies). In a saucepan, mix together equal quantities of white sugar and water. Set over a medium flame and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Boil for 1-2 minutes, decant into a jug or plastic container, then chill. (Keeps for weeks and weeks in the fridge.)
When you're ready for ice cream, take the frozen mango cubes out of the freezer. Pour 3/4 cup (180 ml) chilled sugar syrup over them and wait for a minute or so, or until the mango cubes loosen. Tip the mixture into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Add the yoghurt and the lemon juice and blitz on the highest setting for a minute or two, or until perfectly smooth and creamy.
Or put back in the freezer to enjoy for weeks to come.