I’d be misleading you if I pretended that ice cream was a trivial thing to make, but I’d be doing you a worse disservice if I pretended it wasn’t worth it. Desserts, I rather feel, SHOULD be a bit more effort. A treat. A celebration!
This ice cream is, for me, a true celebration of English summer – it tastes like the simple joy of a perfect picnic and has a silk-and-velvet mouthfeel that is pure luxury. Homemade ice cream, additive-free and unique in flavour, is a wonderful thing to make – and with an ice cream maker and a few non-classical tricks, a reliable one too. Please don’t let the length of the recipe put you off – if you can make cake, you can easily make the ice cream base – a custard-based vanilla gelato.
If you wanted to ripple through some homemade stewed fruit (simple as leaving apples in a pan over heat to make applesauce, or caramelising bananas with some butter and brown sugar on the stove, or a saucepan of frozen berries cooked down into a sauce), you’ve already made a wonderful concoction far better, I believe, than any fruit-based ice cream because fresh fruit flavours just cannot be replicated on an industrial scale. (In fairness, I prefer bought ice creams for chocolate, caramel and nut flavours – when I’ve tried making my own, these are not better than their good quality bought counterparts. And, just to be clear – and contradicting my first paragraph – I very much enjoy a good bought ice cream, which sometimes should be in the freezer and available with absolutely no effort at all.)
But can I suggest you have a go at this version, with brown bread praline (easy to make!) and bramble jam? The buttery nutty caramel flavour is a wonderful warm counterpoint to the delicate high notes of freshly-picked blackberries, which add a lightness to the ice cream like sunbeams breaking through the trees, dappling bramble thickets with spots of dancing light.