Homemade ice cream without eggs rippled with fresh strawberry puree. It’s the smoothest vanilla ice cream Italian style with a swirl of strawberry granita: two of the best things for a summer day.
My ice cream season this year started late. Spring was malignantly cold and the summer began sluggishly; plus I took off on hols early this year and came back exhausted by the southern French canicule. What is it with people? Never happy with the weather.
In France, if it's fruit - it's a sorbet
I only discovered recently - or perhaps just realised - that the French are very categorical about their ice cream flavours. If it’s creamy, it’s never fruity. Fruit flavours are all sorbets not dairy and never the twain shall meet.
As much as I respect the French and love sorbets, I think they miss a trick. Caramel, chocolate, pistachio, stracciatella are nice but sickly, and I do like a touch of a tang in my ice cream. Everybody knows that strawberries were made for cream!
Vegan ice cream - fruit flavour
Perhaps they are being French about it – you know, ice cream all very well but you have to have rules, otherwise standards slip. Or maybe they are just practical: no French vegans need to ask unnecessary question: if it’s fruit, it’s good.
And all joking aside, maybe the reason they draw such a hard line is because adding fruit to ice custard dilutes the creaminess? It may well be so but then that’s why man created ripple.
Ripple ice cream - the best of both worlds
Ripple ice cream is no flavour or vanilla (some people think it’s one and the same) ice cream base with fruit sauce or syrup stirred into it to create swirls. It shouldn’t be evenly or smoothly blended: some fruit will mingle into the custard base, some will pool in the corners of a tub.
And since I don't care so much for vanilla, a tub of ripple ice cream after I've been at it looks like an ice age mole burrowed in it: the ripple is tunnelled out leaving mostly plain vanilla.
Raspberry or strawberry ripples?
The classic flavour is raspberry: pureed, pipless and cooked down to syrup. It makes some sense because thick, unctuous ripple will not freeze to crystals against the creamy base.
But actually, it may not be such a bad idea to have a mix of textures in your dessert, like a coarse fruit granita swirled into smooth ice cream. Plus strawberries don’t have those pesky pips that you have to discard through a sieve. Which makes the whole enterprise really, really easy.
The strawberry pulp blends into the ice cream more than syrup would but that’s quite all right as the flavour is more evenly distributed. The texture is lovely if you pay attention to it and inoffensive if you should take an exception.
And the best thing is that you can serve the ice cream with extra fresh strawberries which invariably makes everything look charmingly pretty.