Three years ago the beloved’s sister, SF, and her husband, The Doctor, left most-liveable-Melbourne to live and work in far away places. They packed up their house and sent their cat and their excellent kitchen appliances to the foster care of friends and family. Beige Lightening, their cat, was only a temporary foster child for us, jetsetting off to join his parents after a few months of hanging out with his furry cousins (Possum Tail and Whelan The Wrecker). Happily, the fostered kitchen appliances remain. One of these is the ice-cream machine – a Simac Il Gelataio that churns and freezes with a quiet hum that belies its speed and vigour.
If you had to write a priority list of kitchen appliances, an ice-cream machine might fall in the middle somewhere. Far less essential than a kettle, but more important to everyday life than a poffertje pan. Nothing else can do the job as efficiently (the ice-cream churning attachments for freestanding mixers are not nearly in the same league) but, on the other hand, there’s nothing else they can do. You might only use it five times a year but home-made ice-cream is approximately 450% better than the stuff from the shops (with the possible exception of Maggie Beer’s tiny tubs of joy that cost approximately 450% more per litre than Moet). You can make any flavour you fancy, to use seasonal fruits or match flavours to your meals, and you can make any quantity (only got 150 mls of cream? make half). Not yet convinced of your own need? Then beg or borrow one, or sneak into someone’s kitchen and use theirs to make this:
Blackberry Raspberry Ice Cream
300 mls of full fat milk
300 mls of cream
1 vanilla pod
6 egg yolks (I used little silkie eggs – the 6 yolks weighed in at 85 grams)
100 grams of caster sugar
Blackberry & Raspberry compote:
250 grams of blackberries
125 grams of raspberries
160 grams of brown sugar
~a tablespoon of water
Put all the ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over low heat until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is starting to break down. I used frozen blackberries and fresh raspberries, but you could have both frozen or both fresh, it really doesn’t matter, it will just take a little longer if the fruit is frozen. If it gets too liquidy, just drain a little of the liquid off. When you’re happy with it, set aside to cool while you make the vanilla ice cream base.
Put the milk and cream into a medium size saucepan. Split the vanilla pod lengthways. Scrape the seeds into the saucepan and then add the pod as well.
Over medium heat, bring the mixture to just below boiling – it will steam a little and then foam. Turn off, cover and leave to infuse for at least fifteen minutes.
In the meantime, whisk your egg yolks with the sugar until pale and thickened. When it’s ready it will fall like ribbons from the whisk.
Set a sieve over a bowl. Rest this bowl in a larger bowl with some iced water in the bottom. Set aside.
When the milk mixture has infused, remove the vanilla pod and discard it. Then add the milk mixture to the eggs and sugar, whisking continually until well combined.
Return the mixture to the saucepan over a medium-low heat.
Heat, stirring continually, until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly. This will take 6-7 minutes. Voila – vanilla custard!
Take off the heat immediately and pour through the sieve into the waiting bowl.
Allow to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Churn it in your ice-cream machine (or whosever it may be) until it’s almost set, then add the berry compote and continue churning until combined and set. Then transfer to a container (at least 1 litre in size) and freeze. Alternatively – if you want it to have a swirl/ripple effect – transfer the vanilla ice cream to a 2 litre container and swirl the berry compote through with a spoon, then freeze until set.
Now, if you can, be patient for at least a few hours. If you try it immediately, the vanilla flavour still overwhelms the berries, but a few hours later the berry flavour intensifies and is just beautiful. The beloved had hers with a dark chocolate sauce and was very happy indeed. I had mine on its own, but was imagining how lovely it might be with these chocolate puddings. Equally, serve with some fresh berries, or reserve a little of the compote to spoon over the top.
SF and The Doctor, we do miss you terribly and we will be so very happy when you come back to Melbourne, but my it will be hard to see the foster children leave home.