Am I ever going to graduate to the proper, egg custard ‘bring to the boil then boil again’ – or whatever the method of cooking is – kind of ice cream? I seem to be making quite a few assorted flavours every summer but they are all cheat’s ices.
It might be an overhang from my childhood – they say the memories of ice cream you had as a child are never surpassed, but mine easily are. I grew up in the bleak east of Europe and thought ‘vanilla’ referred to ice cream of no particular flavour. The common (and only, if truth be told) ice lollies were made mainly of water, the –now suddenly trendy again – ice sandwiches would melt, ice and wafer alike, before you were halfway through; and of the flake-like soft ice, incongruously called ‘Italian’, the less said, the better. Pistachio! Mango! Cookies and cream! Give me a break.
I will eventually stir up my custard one day, mix it lovingly into milk and add some amazing flavours to it. What delays that venture is the fact that I’m not really that into ice cream. I love frozen yoghurt and sorbets but full-on, smooth-as-silk, twelve-hundred-calories-a-scoop is not my thing. What’s more, I don’t like to eat ice cream in a civilised way – to me it’s predominantly a lickable treat: lollies or in the worst case cones. Ice cream with a spoon? Feels wrong, like a boiled egg with a knife and fork.
For the moment, my whiz-it-and-churn-it type of ice cream, with mango. Make sure the fruit is as ripe as it can be; apart from the insufficient sweetness, unripe mango smells a bit off-putting. The vanilla essence is there just in case, to cover up.