I scream, you scream, we all scream for… berry ice-cream. Cooling on a summers day, perfect with crumble on a winters day, the best form of bribery I know and so delicious. It is really good food and very easy to make without fancy machines.
Who doesn’t like ice-cream? I am sure there is someone out there who ‘won’t touch the stuff’, but they do not live in our home. At our place ice-cream is usually homemade and it is always good!
When I decided to write about ice-cream this week I realised I did not really know much about the history of it. I was really amazed at how long we have been eating this wonderful treat and where it came from.
Ancient civilizations have served ice for cold foods for thousands of years. The BBC reports that a frozen mixture of milk and rice was used in China around 200 BC. The Roman Emperor Nero had ice brought from the mountains and combined it with fruit toppings. These were some early chilled delicacies
In the Persian Empire, people would pour grape-juice concentrate over snow, in a bowl, and eat this as a treat. This was done primarily when the weather was hot, using snow saved in the cool-keeping underground chambers known as "yakhchal", or taken from snowfall that remained at the top of mountains by the summer capital Ecbatana. In 400 BC, the Persians went further and invented a special chilled food, made of rose water and vermicelli, which was served to royalty during summers. The ice was mixed with saffron, fruits, and various other flavours.
Arabs used milk as a major ingredient in the production of ice cream and sweetened it with sugar rather than fruit juices. It was flavoured with rosewater, dried fruits and nuts.
Maguelonne Toussaint-Samat asserts, in her History of Food, that "the Chinese may be credited with inventing a device to make sorbets and ice cream. They poured a mixture of snow and saltpetre over the exteriors of containers filled with syrup, for, in the same way as salt raises the boiling-point of water, it lowers the freezing-point to below zero.Some distorted accounts claim that in the age of Emperor Yingzong, Song Dynasty (960–1279) of China, a poem named Ode to the ice cheese was written by the poet Yang Wanli. Actually, this poem was named Ode to the pastry is a kind of food much like pastry in the Western world) and has nothing to do with ice cream. It has also been claimed that, in the Yuan Dynasty, Kublai Khan enjoyed ice cream and kept it a royal secret until Marco Polo visited China and took the technique of making ice cream to Italy. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cream)
Who ever thought up the idea in the first place deserved a medal.
Kia makona, Mawera Karetai x
250g berries, plus extra to serve
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs (size 7), plus 4 egg yolks
*You could make some meringues with the leftover whites*
600ml double cream
1. Place the raspberries and 2 tbsp of the sugar in a small pan. Cook on a medium heat until sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 mins until thickened, then push through a sieve into a bowl and discard the seeds left in the sieve. You have now made a berry coulis.
2. Place the eggs, egg yolks and remaining sugar in a bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk to combine, then place over a pan of gently simmering water – make sure the bowl isn’t actually touching the water. Beat with the electric whisk for 3-4 mins until thick and pale. Remove from heat and continue beating until cool.
3. In another bowl, whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks, then gently fold into the cool egg mix until just combined. Pour the mix into a shallow container or dish that can be frozen.
4. Gently swirl the raspberry coulis through, cover with cling film and freeze for at least 6 hrs.
** Extra to the recipe
5. To make meringues, beat the whites to a stiff peak, add in 115gms caster sugar and 115g icing sugar one third at a time. Beat until sugar is dissolved. Pipe or spoon enough for a serving onto a baking sheet and bake at 100C for 1.25 hours. Serve two meringues sandwiched together with whipped cream – lovely with a swirl of your homemade coulis through it.