It’s autumn and the winter is soon approaching. Days started getting really shorter and colder. That also means cooking and photographing foods are going to more difficult with sun setting soon, and having shady days more often. But I love the season and what the season provides - aubergines, courgettes, pumpkins, figs, blackberries and so on. It’s amazing, shops and malls already started stocking up Halloween and even Christmas goodies!
Blackberries usually grow in the bushes and August - September is the peak season when they are rip and plumb with maximum flavour. They are available in plenty on the streets here. The ones that grow in the wild are usually of smaller size and tarter than the ones we get from shops. But still, I wouldn’t buy them when I can get them plenty from the bushes at no cost and more importantly, organic.
Last week after dropping my son off to school, I decided to go berry picking and came back with a quite a good amount of them. I always pick them when they are in season, use some and freeze the rest for later use as they don’t stay fresh for long at all. They freeze quite well, so if you are not using them right away, freeze on the same day you pick them. I made this ice-cream on the same day of picking them to add maximum freshness to the ice cream. Even though I don’t enjoy blackberries or any berries as they are, they are really good and tastes superb in desserts and bakes. I have always wanted to make ice creams and crumble with blackberries. They are really delicious in desserts and ice creams, have wonderful flavour and impart a rich deep purple colour.
There is nothing to beat the rich flavour and creamy texture of home made ice cream. The knack of succesfully making smooth frozen desserts largely involves making sure that no large ice crustals form during freezing. That means it is necessary to periodically whisk the freezing mixture by hand or elecrtic whisk, if you do not own an ice cream machine, which will do the job for you ~ The complete Book of Desserts, Good Housekeeping.
This is my first time hands on making an ice cream and I think it turned out great. I made it without an ice cream maker, so lot of stirring was involved in the making. It’s a tough job stirring the cold and set ice cream using a fork as suggested in many recipes. And I suppose my ice cream could have been a bit softer I would think. I blame the stirring part. I don’t think I stirred well enough. I am thinking of using an electric beater next time and I hope that will make the job a lot easier yielding softer ice cream.
I usually do quite a lot of research on anything when I make it for the first time. I found many recipes online and I own a fabulous book on desserts and it has many great ice cream recipes. This recipe is made using the custard base, which is the base or building block for any icecream. Properly made, custard based ice creams yield rich and creamy ice creams. It is a bit time consuming and needs good attention but always a good way to start with ice creams. You can then modify or flavour the base with your choice later on. I have used quite a lot of blackberries as I wanted intense flavour, but you can reduce the amount to suit your taste; like a cup or so if you want it less intense.
Blackberry Ice cream without an Ice cream machine
2 cups, 300g black berries (You can reduce the amount if you want subtly flavour)
300 ml double cream
300 ml whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 vanilla pod
175g-200g sugar depending on the sweetness of the berries
For making the custard base for ice-cream:
1. In a sauce pan, heat milk and cream. Scrape in a vanilla pod and throw in the vanilla. Simmer it until the mixture is hot and starts steaming and small bubbles. Do not boil. Remove from heat and then pass this through sieve and leave aside for about 10 minutes to cool it down. Discard the vanilla pod.
2. Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, beat together the egg yolks and sugar until it is pale yellow and thick; for about 6-8 minutes. This will make a lighter, creamier ice-cream.
3. Pour the warm milk into the egg mixture in thin stream whisking the egg mixture simultaneously. Whisking so will avoid scrambling the egg from the hot milk.
4. Pour the milk in a heavy base saucepan and heat it on a very low heat stirring constantly for about 20 minutes to avoid cooking and scrambling the egg. Once the custard gets thick and coats the back of the spoon, take off the heat and let it come to room temperature. (I have placed a simmer plate beneath the saucepan to reduce the risk of scrambling the egg else you can cook in bain marie).
5. Pour the mixture into a shallow non metallic freezer container. Cover and freeze for about 45 minutes until it starts setting from the sides.
6. Spoon the mixture into a bowl and mash with a fork or electric whisk to break the ice crystals. You might need to work quickly so that ice cream does not melt completely.
7. Add the blackberry puree into this incorporating it well. Put it back to the freezer and set for another hour, take it out and mash with a fork again. Repeat this process for 4-5 times or until ice cream sets completely. Chill for further 3 hours or until firm.
8. Remove from freezer and leave it in room temperature for 15-20 minutes to soften before serving.
While the custard is setting:
1. Wash and drain the blackberries and place it on a sieve.
2. Puree the blackberries in a food processor. Pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds. Chill it and mix it with the custard based once it starts setting.