I’ve been a little lax on my blog the last couple of weeks but I think I have a good excuse as I went on a wonderful holiday with my sister to Italy. I think I’ve said previously that she lives in Hong Kong with her boyfriend, teaching four and five year olds. We therefore don’t get to spend much time together and with her being back in the UK for summer holidays we thought we needed some proper catch up time. What better place to have a catch up than over a glass of Prosecco in Italy.
Italy is one of my favourite places and I went to a wonderful wedding a year ago in Tuscany where I fell further in love with the food and the beautiful fresh ingredients that are provided from the local land. I couldn’t wait to get back there enjoying the flavoursome cured meats, simple salads and juicy ripe fruit.
We spent a couple of days in Rome covering off all of the fabulous ancient sites before jumping on the train to the rolling hills of Orvieto. We were staying in a B’n’B for a week which was a traditional old farm house surrounded by their vegetable gardens and mesmerising views of the countryside.
It was a proper lesson in growing your own ingredients where the distance from garden to table is all of about 10 meters.
I don’t think we’d ever tasted or smelt peaches and tomatoes like it before.They literally oozed their flavour from the skin, the smell was just intoxicating. It was a real reminder that when your produce is that good, keep things simple and the food will do everything for you.
Of course you can’t visit Italy and not totally indulge in pizza, pasta and ice cream. We had a rule from the beginning that you couldn’t try the same flavours twice and I stuck to it all the way through until the final night where I had to have mint choc chip again (my favourite).
One flavour that I couldn’t find and was pining for was raspberry ripple ice cream. Clearly it’s not an Italian flavour and as soon as I came home I put my brand new ice cream maker (that I’d got for my birthday) to work.
With raspberries in season, I knew they would provide some tartness against the smooth sweet vanilla ice cream.
Mastering the custard making was a little challenging and I hope I improve with practice but actually it really is quite simple and with a basic vanilla ice cream as part of the repertoire, it’s possible to add a multiple of flavours to it. I can’t wait to start experimenting now as different fruits come in season.
The raspberry was bright and vibrant and was a fabulous contrast to the creamy vanilla that was super smooth (if I say so myself!).
The raspberries kept a nice sharpness even though they’d been sweetened with sugar and the swirls of raspberries looked like an artist had taken a paint brush to the luscious scoops of vanilla ice cream, painting them with bright pink swirls.
This recipe is an example of having great ingredients, keep things simple and making sure you have a big bowl ready to be filled!
Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream
For the ice cream
400ml of double cream
400ml of full-fat milk
1 vanilla pod, split, seeds scraped out with a knife
4 large free-range egg yolks
100g caster sugar
For the ripple sauce
400g fresh raspberries rinsed
2 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp water
For the ice cream, pour the cream and milk into a large saucepan, whisk in the vanilla pod and seeds and bring to the boil. As soon as the mixture is boiling, remove the pan from the heat. Remove the vanilla pod (it can be rinsed, dried and re-used in another recipe).
Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Pour over the hot milk and cream mixture, whisking continuously, until the mixture is smooth and well combined.
Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and heat over a low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring continuously, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the custard to a clean bowl. Cover the surface with cling film to prevent a skin from forming, then set aside to cool for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, for the ripple sauce, place the fruit, sugar and water into a large pan and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring regularly. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then continue to simmer for 8-10 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down.
Strain the fruit mixture through a sieve into a clean pan, squeezing any additional juice out of the fruit by pressing it down with the back of a spoon.
Return the strained fruit juice to the heat and bring it to a simmer. Continue to simmer until the mixture resembles a thick syrup. Set aside until completely cooled.
Pour the cooled custard into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions, until thick and smooth.
Spoon a third of the ice cream mixture into a lidded freezable container. Spoon over half of the cooled ripple sauce.
Repeat the process until the container has three layers of ice cream and two layers of ripple sauce. Using a blunt knife, marble the ice cream and ripple sauce lightly, then cover the container with a lid and freeze for 3-4 hours, or until solid.
Remove the raspberry ripple ice cream from the freezer and leave to stand at room temperature for 10 minutes before serving.