I confess to not being wild about strawberries and raspberries (I say this quietly, fearing it indicates some character flaw), but I do adore blackberries, olallieberries, and their kin. Pick your berry; this recipe is your formula! It produces a vividly colored light ice cream that tastes powerfully of the fruit.

Judge berries by their smell. If you can’t smell ’em, they won’t taste good. Dinged and banged berries may be too ugly for the buffet, but they will work wonderfully in ice cream as long as they’re sweet and not moldy.

Once sieved, the unfrozen ice cream mixture can be refrigerated for a day or two. Adjust it with the liqueur and lemon juice just prior to freezing. Frozen, it keeps nicely for two days.

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Ingredients

  • ¾ cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ pound fragrant sweet berries (weight after any trimming)
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons crème de cassis
  • About 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Method

  1. In a food processor, grind ¾ cup sugar until fine. Add the berries and blend to a rich purée, scraping down the workbowl 2 or 3 times.
  2. Scrape the mixture into a non-aluminum bowl and stir in the half-and-half. Taste and adjust if and as needed with the additional sugar; the mixture should taste a touch too sweet at room temperature if it is to taste perfect when frozen.
  3. Sieve the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl to eliminate any seeds. Stir in the liqueur. Add lemon juice by ½ teaspoons until the flavor rounds on your tongue.
  4. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Store with a piece of plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface. Let soften slightly before serving.

Serving Suggestions: Pile on the berries! A spoonful of fresh berries of a similar or competing sort is a great adornment for berry ice cream.

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