|Easy Blender Strawberry Ice Cream|
It's not often I can say that a piece of fruit I taste nowadays is anywhere near as delicious as the fruit I ate as a child, but I have to make an exception for strawberries. Perhaps the beauties I see in the shops are genetically engineered, or maybe farmers these days just have access to better, bigger, more fragrant hybrids.
Whatever the case, I've been buying cheap strawberries in bucketloads. Last week, when I found myself facing a mountain of strawberries that I'd bought in a frenzy and forgotten (neglected, actually) to use, I thought I'd better make a batch of my mum's wonderful strawberry ice cream. But I didn't have any custard, and was too hot and bothered to make a custard from scratch. The next option was an ice based on a sugar syrup, but the thought of making such a syrup, and waiting for it to chill, defeated me.
So that's how I came up with this blender strawberry ice cream. It's dead simple to make if you have a liquidiser and, with its lovely deep-pink colour, looks and tastes heavenly piled into cones and topped with sprigs of fresh mint.
Whenever you're choosing strawberries to buy, give them a good sniff by putting your nose to the top of the box. If a heady perfume drifts from the fruit, buy them without a second thought. If there's little or no scent at at all, stick your nose back in the air and stalk away, with an infuriated air.
How much icing sugar you use will depend on the sweetness and/or tartness of your strawberries. I suggest that you start out using half a cup of icing sugar, and then add more if the mixture doesn't seem sweet enough. This ice cream is best made, luxuriously, with fresh cream, but if you're watching your diet, use thick natural yoghurt instead.
You'll need an ice-cream maker to produce a perfectly smooth ice. If you don't have such a gadget, use the freeze-and-beat method, which will result in a slightly crystalline but still most delicious ice.
(And here's another version of strawberry ice cream, this time made with ready-bought custard: Easy Strawberry Ice Cream: a taste of my childhood.)
Blender Strawberry Ice Cream
300 g ripe strawberries, hulled
½ cup (125 ml) icing sugar, or more, to taste
the juice of half a lemon
1 cup (250 ml) cream (or natural yoghurt)
Put the strawberries, icing sugar and lemon juice in a blender and blitz to a fine purée. Taste the purée, and add more icing sugar or lemon juice, if necessary. Now pour in the cream, turn on the blender, and blend at a medium speed for a minute or so, or until the mixture has thickened slightly. Don't over-blend the mixture, or you'll end up with pink butter.
Tip the mixture into the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn until frozen (or use the freeze-and-beat method; see above).
Serve immediately, topped with sprigs of fresh mint, in sugar cones or in little pre-frozen wine glasses.
Serves 6-8, in cones.