by Fiona Bird
This recipe takes a little time to make because you need to allow the gooseberry puree and homemade custard to cool before you make the ice-cream. The ice-cream is really yummy and you will learn how to make a quick homemade custard in the process.
If you don’t grow gooseberries, you could go and pick some at a Pick Your Own farm. Sadly the supermarkets do little to encourage us to use or sample gooseberries, we rarely see them on the supermarket shelves. However, if you are lucky, you will be able to find some gooseberries at your local farmers’ market.
Gooseberries are a little tricky to deal with, all of that topping and tailing – it isn’t as easy as a quick hull and wash (strawberries) or wash and into the mouth (raspberries). Luckily there is no need to top and tail the gooseberries used in our ice-cream recipe, as they’ll be squashed through a sieve.
Elderflowers are in flower on the hedgerows – you might like to make some homemade elderflower cordial too! This freezes well if you make it in plastic bottles. Lili uses an old family recipe which uses, elderflower heads (well shaken to remove any bugs), sugar, lemons and water with some citric acid. You will need to ask a grown up to buy the citric acid at a pharmacy. Email us if you would like Lili’s recipe.
The later, red gooseberries are sweeter and can be eaten straight from the spiky bushes, but we love the earlier green gooseberries that require some sugar and a few cookery skills.
Here is a really bad joke (another old classic) to cheer up this sour, hairy green berry that often finds it has been made a fool of (excuse the pun)…
Q: ‘What is green and hairy and goes up and down?’
A: A gooseberry in an elevator!
Okay, here’s how to make delicious Gooseberry Ice-Cream.
For the syrup:
4-5 elderflower heads
75g caster (superfine) sugar
OR simply use 75ml elderflower cordial
450g gooseberries (no need to top and tail)
For the custard:
500ml semi-skimmed milk
One tablespoon cornflour
Two egg yolks
1 Drop vanilla extract
Small balloon whisk (or wooden spoon)
Metal serving spoon
What to do:
1. If you are using elderflower cordial, you need to skip this first step. If not, put the water, well shaken elderflower heads and sugar in a pan. Bring the water to the boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Leave the heads in the syrup until the syrup is cool to get more flavour. Strain the elderflowers through a sieve and keep the syrup.
2. Wash the gooseberries and put them in a pan with your homemade elderflower syrup OR the 75ml elderflower cordial. Gently cook the gooseberries until they are soft. Do not overcook the gooseberries. You can test that the gooseberries are cooked by crushing them with a fork (you should be able to do this easily.)Leave the gooseberries to cool completely. Strain the gooseberries through a nylon sieve placed over a bowl to leave a thick puree. You will need to use a spoon to work the puree through.
3. Heat 400ml of the milk in a pan with 25g sugar. Gently bring the milk to the boil. The sugar will have dissolved.
4. In a bowl, mix the remaining 100ml milk with the corn flour and egg yolks.
5. Pour the hot milk and sugar over the corn flour and egg mixture and carefully whisk. Little whisks will keep the mixture in the bowl. Return the custard to the pan; add the vanilla essence and heat gently until it thickens, stirring all of the time until the custard coats the back of the wooden spoon. Pour the custard into a bowl and cover it with cling film, to prevent a skin forming. Allow it to cool completely.
6. Add the cooled gooseberry puree to the custard and carefully fold them together using a metal spoon. Put the mixture into an ice-cream machine and churn until it is frozen. If you don’t have an ice-cream machine you can put the mixture into a freezer safe container, and freeze it until it is slushy. Return the ice-cream to the bowl and beat it well and then return it to the freezer until it has completely frozen.