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November 03, 2010

Seasonal recipe: Quick and easy blender strawberry ice cream

strawberry ice cream

Quick and easy blender strawberry ice cream

Jane-Anne Hobbs is a freelance journalist, editor and author; a cook, food writer and recipe developer; and a mother of three. She lived in Johannesburg for the past 17 years but recently moved, with her family, to Hout Bay.

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The shops here in Cape Town are overflowing with beautiful strawberries, each one bigger, juicier and more perfumed than any strawberry I remember from my childhood.

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 – oh, horrors – 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 by the bucketload. 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 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.

Blender strawberry ice cream

300g ripe strawberries, hulled
½ cup (125ml) icing sugar, or more, to taste
the juice of half a lemon
1 cup (250ml) 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 the lowest 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 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 six as a dessert.


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