A fruity semi-freddo…….

wild cherriesThere’s been a big improvement in the weather this week and it finally feels warm enough for an ice-creamy type pudding…..one of the easiest chilled puddings we like to eat in the Summer is a semi-fredo, especially when we flavour it with fruit from the garden….sadly it’s still a bit early for our raspberries but  a poke about in the back of our freezer has found a little tub of a cherry compote that I made last year with some foraged cherries…..

In the past I’ve used the cherry compote to make a very grown up tasting cherry ripple ice-cream (served with a trickle of dark chocolate sauce…. but I think crisp buttery biscuits would have been nice as well.

fragrant elderflower blossomsAlong with the cherry compote I also found a little tub with a gooseberry and elderflower compote inside and I’m wondering whether to try that in more of a possety pudding for mid-week.

The elderflowers have been a bit slow here this year but I noticed quite a lot of cloudy white billows out yesterday so I guess the week of sun-shine has helped them come on…..fingers crossed if it’s nice tomorrow we’ll head out with a basket and walking stick (helps me reach some of those higher up blossom heads)….

Semi Freddo is really easy to make, however this recipe does use raw eggs so it’s not suitable for children or anyone pregnant..

We buy all our eggs from Folland’s Organics on Norwich market, the eggs there are amazing and well worth the money, if you keep chickens or ducks yourself then your pudding is going to taste out of this world….I’ve wrote my recipe on here before, but this is a scaled down version if you don’t have a whole lot of freezer room.

unwaxed lemonsSemi-Freddo (enough for 4 pudding loving people, or 6 if you just like a taste)

Ingredients….

2 large organic eggs (separate the whites from the yolks)

350ml double cream

25 grammes of vanilla sugar

vanilla pod/fruit compote/lemon curd……

2 small loaf tins

Method….

Line the two loaf tins with clingfilm.

Beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until they become airy and pale in colour.

Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks.

Whisk the cream until it just forms a soft cloud.

Carefully add half the whipped egg whites and whipped cream into the egg yolks and sugar….and once that has only just come together, gently mix in the remaining half along with the flavouring…( I prefer to put in my flavouring now whether it’s a fruit compote, a couple of big spoons of very sharp lemon curd, a dollop of caramel syrup…….adding it now means the semi-freddo is lovely and rippled)…..sometimes I just use a vanilla bean if I’m serving the semi-freddo with fruit, and then I’ll scrape the tiny seeds out and add them to the egg yolks as I beat them with the sugar.

Gently spoon out the mixture and divide it between the loaf tins, tuck all the clingfilm over the mixture and allow it a few hours to freeze.  I tend to make it in the morning so it has all day in there.

You can take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you want to eat it, just leave it out on the side, but I prefer to take it out an hour before hand and then leave it on a shelf in the fridge….turn the loaf tins upside down and it should slide out fine….cut and serve with a drizzle of any remaining compote and some crisp biscuits or fruit.

(you can also freeze it in little silicion loaf tins which work very well too.)

 

 

 

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Foraging for fruit and a Cherry Ripple Ice Cream……

cherry harvest

Not far from where we live, just round the corner really, there’s half a dozen or so wild cherry trees and over the past few weeks when I’ve walked back from popping down to the shops I’ve stopped and picked a handful or so to eat.  There’s never been that many all ripe at once, or if there have been they’ve been too high up and only reachable if you are a bird or a squirrel.

But the week before last I noticed a whole load of dark coloured cherries all squished on the ground, and when I looked up I saw one tree that I’d have thought would have been picked clean was absolutely laden and the cherries were all ripe.  I quickly nipped home and returned with a couple of big plastic tubs and picked as many as I could reach, which wasn’t all that easy as the tree is on a bit of a slope so every time I stretched up I kept running back down the hill, no doubt I provided plenty of entertainment to anyone watching and i had a couple of dog walkers ask me what I was doing and what was I planning to make.  I’ve only ever seen one other couple pick the cherries near here so i guess people don’t realize what they are or that they’re edible…..the wild cherries aren’t as fat and plump as the ones we’ve been buying from the fruit stall on the market, but they were so good to eat, slightly tarter and very juicy.

This Summer I’ve been playing around trying out various ice cream recipes and although I don’t need to ask my boyfriend his favourite flavour (chocolate every time) I prefer a really fruity ice, but the older I get the more fussy I’ve become, even some of the posh ice creams in the shops are full of ingredients I wasn’t expecting to find so I don’t begrudge the time spent making a custard* for the ice cream base as I know I’m going to have a delicious pudding come evening.

Possibly the recipe I’ve had the best results with so far involves making a custard with full fat milk and egg yokes and adding some whipped cream.  Chocolate or a fruit puree can be added after the dessert has begun to set.  I don’t think home made ice cream keeps particularly well, so I only make enough to last us a couple of nights but I’ve made up lots of little pots of fruit puree and have those crammed in the freezer all ready to use for pudding nights.

The foraged cherries were made into a very grown up tasting Cherry Ripple ice cream, some puree was put in the freezer and some I ate with yoghurt for a rather indulgent breakfast the next day though I think it would have been very nice on warm brioche or croissants.

Cherry Ripple Ice cream

Ice-cream

500ml full fat milk

4 egg yolks

150 g caster sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

300 ml double cream

Puree

Cherries

caster sugar

(I used 750g or so cherries and to that used 150g sugar but it depends on how sweet or tart your fruit is and also on your own preference)

To make

Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan and add about half the sugar.  Stir all the while with a wooden spoon and scald the milk.

Whisk the egg yolks with the remaining half of the sugar until the yolks become pale and creamy.

While the egg mixture is being whisked pour in a little of the hot milk.  Keep whisking a nd slowly add a little more and so on until all the milk is added.

Wash the pan and then add the eggy milk back in and on a very low heat make the custard.

Stir all the while with a wooden spoon until the milk begins to coat the back of the spoon.  Once the custard has began to form, turn off the heat and then keep stirring until the custard thickens up a bit more.  (you can do this with the bowl set in a sink with cold water if you’re worried about the custard curdling)

Place in a metal bowl and set to one side.

Now whisk the cream until it’s soft and billowy.  Add to the custard in spoonfuls and stir through.  Cover with clingfilm and place in the freezer.

Rinse the cherries and tumble them in to a large saucepan, add a little water and cover with some sugar.  Bring to a gentle simmer and allow them to soften and cook for about 10 minutes or so.  Once the cherries are all soft and falling away from their stones, place them in a large sieve and press them though so you get a lovely fruity puree.

(You may find it a bit easier to sieve a couple of desert spoons full at a time as it is a bit hard going, but I’m sure this does wonders for wobbly under arms)

After an hour, take the metal bowl out of the freezer, and give the custard a good mix with either a fork or a whisk.  Cover and put back for another hour.  Repeat a couple more times until the mixture has began to firm up some.

When the custard seems like it’s a good way on the way to becoming ice cream, scoop out deep groves through the dessert and fill them with the fruity puree.  Ripple it though the rest of the ice with a spoon but don’t over do it.

Cover with fresh cling film and leave to set for another 3 hours or so.

When it’s properly set, place it in the fridge about 20/30 minutes before you want to serve, this will mean the ice cream is easy to scoop out and is a nice texture for eating.

*probably the easiest ice cream I’ve ever made used a tub of ready made custard (it was a proper posh one so really had very little other than eggs, milk and vanilla in it) and a tub of cream.  I just emptied the custard in to a bowl, whipped the cream and slowly stirred it in and then put it in the freezer, taking it out every hour or so for the first few hours.  Then I made some deep groves through the semi set dessert and filled them with a home made lemon curd, slowly rippled it through and then popped it back in the freezer.  I took it out of the freezer and placed it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before eating….eye closingly delicious and too easy for words.