I know that I’m bound to answer when you propose… Anything Goes-berry ice cream!
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Times have changed…
Iiiiiin olden days, the humble gooseberry was
Looked on as…
…a staple of British gardens and cooking but has, more recently, begun to fade from the national consciousness – probably because it’s a berry that must be prepared and cooked, which doesn’t fit in with today’s convenience food habits. So, for those who are unfamiliar, here is a guide to the humble goosegog (as those in the know like to call them).
A gooseberry is…
- That single person who tags along with a couple and generally makes everyone feel awkward (otherwise known as a third wheel by our many regular American readers)
- A Canadian person age 14-21 that owns a Canada Goose branded jacket and owns a Blackberry. Usually these people have parents that are very rich and wealthy. (This is from the Urban Dictionary, so must be true!)
- A variety of oversized green berries, related to currants, popular in England for inclusion in crumbles, jams and fools (the edible variety). They are not common in the US and so this entire post is probably lost on you lot.
Gooseberries are surprisingly versatile with their sharp, zesty flavour. As already mentioned, they make refreshing summer desserts (cold or hot). They are also a great accompaniement to rich fatty meats or fish – in fact, you might say Anything Goes,…. wait, isn’t there a musical with that name? (Yes – and you can read more about it on our I Spa-Ghet-A Kick Out Of You post – Ed)
Having recently found gooseberries at my local greengrocers, I bought a bag and decided to make some ice-cream with them. Gooseberries are often paired with elderflower and so I’ve made this an elderflower and gooseberry ripple ice-cream. I made the usual custard base for an ice-cream but, instead of the usual vanilla flavouring, I used elderflower cordial (having reduced the amount of sugar as the cordial is already sweet).
Now – have I mentioned my steam oven to you? (Groan… Ed.) I made the custard in this and the controlled temperature reduces the risk of making sweetened scrambled eggs. Stove-top methods are, of course, absolutely fine… There are lots of recipes available online for this, so choose one that suits you, reducing the sugar by about a half to two thirds and omitting any vanilla. When the custard has cooled, add some elderflower cordial and whisk in. You want the elderflower taste to come through fairly strongly as, when frozen, the flavour will be diminished. To give an idea of quantities, my custard (300ml cream, 300ml milk, 70g sugar and 6 egg yolks) needed 125ml cordial. The strength of your brand of cordial will also affect the quantity you use. Once you are happy with how it tastes, you can churn the ice-cream with ice-cream maker. This had been my plan, but due to mechanical failure, I had to do this by hand (freeze the custard and whisk with a fork after an hour and every half hour to break up the ice crystals).
Meanwhile, put the gooseberries, sugar and water in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until the berries have cooked down (you don’t want it too watery). Pass the fruit through a sieve and leave the resulting gooseberry purée to cool.
When the ice-cream is on it’s way to setting (but is still stirrable), pour an even layer of the cooled gooseberry mix over the top and gently fold in, creating swirls of fruit within the ice-cream – don’t take this too far so as to mix in completely or you will lose the ripple effect. Return to the freezer until set.
As gooseberry and elderflower crumble with custard is a classic dessert, I served this with a topping of crumbled up cookie (I used a plain Hobnob) for a bit of added crunch.