easy peasy

When it comes to desserts it’s no secret around here that I have a serious weakness for icecream, well all frozen treats, really. I don’t discriminate. Gelato, sorbet, granita, semi-freddo – I love them all.  A browse through the icecream & sorbet photoset on my flickr will attest to my love as will a quick scan through the dessert section of the mess has become the stonesoup recipe index. But in more recent times I know I’ve been writing about my icecream adventures less and less.

The reason for this is two fold. Firstly, it dawned on me a while ago that most people aren’t as icecream obsessed as myself to fork out a considerable amount of cash to invest in a kitchen appliance that takes up a fair bit of space and is pretty singular in it’s purpose. To keep banging on about recipes that most people didn’t have the equipment for seemed, well, a little self indulgent.

And then there’s the irony that my own beloved icecream machine isn’t really working as well as it should. The internal compressor is still solid so it has the freezing power. But for some reason, these days the churning mechanism stops itself when the mixture has only just begun to think about freezing. This means I end up spending a lot of time churning by hand which still gives good results but could be a whole lot more time efficient.

For me, the best thing to come out of all this icecream-machine sadness is that I’ve begun to seek out frozen desserts that have perfect combination of that lovely creamy silky melt-in-the-mouth texture of icecream without requiring the hardware to achieve the results.

Back in September, when Spring was in the air, I shared with you my rich dark chocolate icecream recipe. Something that is still on high rotation in my kitchen. Thankfully it just requires a bit of melting and mixing things together and a good, uninterrupted eight hour spell in the freezer to deliver a choc-aholics dream. This week, however, I’ve developed a recipe that ticks the box of not requiring an icecream machine and has the added bonus of being pretty much instantaneous to pull together. Yay Jules.

It’s the type of dessert you can do at the seriously last minute. Something you can rely on to please the crowd. Something that you can whizz up when you get home from work at 7.15pm and have guests arriving at 7.30pm.

Between you and me, if my experience last Monday is anything to go by, those vital fifteen minutes are well worth spending on whizzing together some frozen fruit, sugar and cream and popping it in the freezer before anyone arrives. After you have passed a very pleasant evening sharing some wine, putting your guests to work stirring the risotto, having a good old laugh and enjoying the fruits of your combined labours,  you can surprise everyone by announcing grandly that even though it is Monday night that there is dessert. And better yet it’s relatively healthy if anyone’s up for it.

raspberry gelato
serves 4

You have a few choices with this dessert. I tend to whip up a batch as soon as I get home from work and then pop it in the freezer to firm up a little while my guests are eating main course. It also gives me a chance to pop my serving dishes in the freezer so everything is lovely and crisp when it comes time to serve.

If you’re more in a ‘just in time’ frame of mind you can leave it until just before you’re ready for dessert. Just whizz it all together and serve straight from the food processor. You could even enlist your guests to help with the process. The texture will be a lot softer, more like soft serve icecream, but no less delicious.

Of course when it comes to fruit – raspberries are only just the beginning. It’s pretty much up to your imagination. I’m toying with the idea of freezing some fresh figs if only I could stop eating them long enough to get them frozen. The only thing you’ll need to do is adjust the amount of sugar to balance the natural sweetness of your chosen fruit. Raspberries are pretty tart so if you’re using sweeter fruit I’d start with about ½ the amount of sugar suggested below and add to taste.

The cream is really optional here. It adds a lovely creaminess but if you’re after a fresher and more waistline friendly(!) option by all means leave it out but you might need to play around with the sugar levels.

300g (10oz) frozen raspberries
1/3C (approx 70g or 2 1/2oz) sugar or to taste
1/2C double cream (48% milk fat minimum)

Place all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until you have a smooth creamy mixture that looks like soft gelato. Taste and add extra sugar if you think it needs it.

Freeze for a few hours or enjoy pronto.

Note. If your raspberries are really solid frozen it may take a while for them to defrost enough to puree with the sugar and cream. You will have a grainy mixture to begin with but keep going and soon it will all be gelato heaven.

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