5 large eggs
600g fresh ripe strawberries
Juice of half a freshly squeezed lemon (about a tablespoon)
200ml double cream
The restaurant that inspired me to start making my own pizzas (Da Michele, Stezzano, Italy) also makes their own ice cream and while I’m a sucker for their vanilla (it really is divine) Elly and Anto were completely taken with the strawberry when we visited last September. I waited until strawberry season began this year to start perfecting my own strawberry recipe and I’m really happy with this one.
The most important thing with this recipe is to use the freshest strawberries you can get your hands on, it really makes a difference to the overall flavour. They should be sweet but still have that tart bite.
So once you have strawberries, give them a rinse under running water and remove the cores. Next, purée them in a blender, until smooth and pass it through a sieve to remove the seeds, you may need to do that last step twice to remove all the seeds.
Place the strawberry purée in a pan along with the lemon juice and heat the mixture gently, as the purée warms up it will begin to give off a strong strawberry smell, just before the mixture comes to the boil remove it from the heat and put it to one side to cool.
Next separate the egg yolks. The egg whites are not needed for this recipe so you can put them to one side to be used later for and egg white omelettes or meringues. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they turn a pale yellow and have a smooth consistency.
Next bring the milk to a gentle simmer and remove from the heat. While whisking the egg mixture add the warmed milk in a slow trickle – if you add it too fast there is a chance you could scramble the eggs, which is no good for making ice cream.
Now place the egg yolk mixture over a low heat and while stirring continuously, allow this to thicken into a custard. You’ll know when it’s ready when it coats the back of a spoon easily and does not just flow off. Be careful to keep the egg mixture below 76C as the eggs will scramble at that temperature. Once you are happy that the custard has thickened, remove it from the heat, mix in the strawberry purée and place in a sealed container in your fridge and allow it to cool down as much as possible (5C or less).
While you’re waiting for the custard to cool down whip the cream to soft peaks. Once the custard has cooled completely, gently fold the cream into the custard and either follow your ice cream machines instructions to freeze it or place in a sealed container in your freezer until frozen, remembering to stir it every ten to fifteen minutes to break up the ice crystals.
Once the ice cream has frozen you’re ready to serve, be aware that this is a strongly flavoured ice cream, while sweet it also has that fantastic tart bite that just makes a strawberry, it goes great with most sweet pies and if you’re a real strawberry lover is fantastic on it’s own.
1 400g tin of peaches, drained
6 large egg yolks
125g golden castor sugar
300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped out
Another Soul Food classic, peaches are plentiful in the Deep South so it’s no coincidence that they are used in so many Soul Food recipes. This is a very subtly flavoured ice-cream so can be easily over powered if you partner it with a pie, I find it at it’s best served on it’s own or with some sliced peaches.
There are 2 options regarding the fruit the first is to purée the drained peaches and the second is to purée half and chop the rest into chunks to be added when freezing. I find that adding the peaches as chunks gives a bit more texture but the fruit chunks tend to lose their flavour when they are frozen. So I tend to go with the “purée all the fruit” option, but both work well.
Next put the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk them until they are creamy and smooth. Then add the milk, cream and vanilla seeds and whisk them together.
Pour the mixture into a saucepan and stir continuously over a low heat until it thickens into custard that coats a spoon when dipped in it. You don’t want the mixture to overheat as the eggs will scramble, so if you have a suitable kitchen thermometer, use it. Ideally you want to keep the mixture between 65C to 70C this gives a margin for error as the eggs will scramble around 75C.
Once the custard has thickened remove it from the heat and pour it into a bowl to allow it to cool.
Now if you have a home ice-cream maker simply add the peaches to the cooled custard, stirring them in well and follow your ice-cream machine’s instructions to freeze the ice-cream.
If you don’t have an ice-cream machine then simply stir the peaches into the mixture and pour it all into a sealable container suitable for use in your freezer and pop it in your freezer. It can take anywhere up to eight hours for the ice-cream to set fully and during this time you will need to stir it every 20-30 minutes while it’s freezing to prevent ice crystals forming.
If you’ve ever put some melted ice-cream back into the freezer you will know exactly why you don’t want the ice crystals forming, basically it makes it frozen flavoured custard rather than ice-cream, but that said an ice-cream maker does not have to be expensive. We pickedup one in a Lidl offer a few years back for around €30 and I saw this similar one available from Amazon. So why not treat yourself, summer is almost here and this does make the process of ice-cream making far easier 😉
This pie uses veg instead of fruit so it’s a healthy(ier) Soul Food dessert and what’s even better, it tastes great. This recipe makes enough pie filling to fill two sweet pastry pie crusts, so I usually freeze half instead of baking two pies (it’s better for my waistline:)).
To start with, heat your oven to 200C, wash your sweet potatoes and prick them all over with a fork. Then lay them out on a baking tray and pop them into the oven for about 50 minutes to an hour. When they’re done they should be soft and cooked through fully, I use a skewer or cocktail stick to check they are soft in the middle. Once they are done get them out of the oven and turn it down to 180C.
You will need to leave them to cool for a few minutes once they come out of the oven so you don’t burn your fingers at the next step, which is to peel them and get rid of the skin. This isn’t difficult, just pull at the skin and it should come off fairly easily once they’re cooked. The hotter they are the easier I find it to peel them, put it’s a fine line between hot enough and sore fingers, so be careful!
Put the flesh of the sweet potatoes into a large bowl and mash them. I find a potato masher works best but you can use a fork. Next melt the butter over a low heat and add it along with the sugar, flour, nutmeg, vanilla extract and a large pinch of cinnamon to the mashed sweet potato.
Whisk 2 eggs in a separate bowl or mug and add this to the rest, then mash everything together until it’s completely combined.
Next spoon the mixture into the pastry case and spread it around evenly. Take the left over uncooked pastry, roll it out and cut it into strips to “cover” the pie. The easiest way I’ve found to get the woven finish is to do the weaving on a sheet of greaseproof paper and then flip this onto the rest of the pie.
Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the exposed pastry. Make sure the oven has cooled to 180C and put the pie in for 45 minutes or until golden brown.
I usually serve this with either some ice-cream or whipped cream. It’s best eaten fresh, just allowed to cool for about half an hour, but it can also be eaten cold.