Tropical Popsicles



There is so much gorgeous fruit around at the moment, our fruit bowl is spilling over with pineapple, citrus, pomegranate and pears.  I was a on a shoot recently where I managed to nab a ripe papaya, some limes and a few passionfruit at the end of the day.  The passionfruit in particular smells like a tropical holiday, all white beaches and lapping waves. 

I made this for us to have as an after dinner treat with a rather garish popsicle mould set I picked up a lifetime ago but have never got around to using.  These would be perfect for kids as they are fun and sweet without any added sugar or sweeteners.  The coconut milk gives them that luscious, creamy mouth feel you want from ice cream which combined with the tropical flavours reminds me of those Solero ice cream lollies I used to love growing up.  But much better for you!


Papaya, Coconut and Lime Tropsicles (tropical popsicles)
(makes 4 ice lollies)

You will need:
1/2 tin coconut milk (200ml)
2 tbsp desiccated coconut
juice and zest of 1 lime
2 passion fruits, flesh scooped out
1 Papaya, seeds removed.


1. In a small bowl, mix together the coconut milk, desiccated coconut, lime juice and zest.  Pop in the fridge.

2.  Divide the passion fruit flesh and seeds between the four moulds and freeze for about 30 min, until just about solid.

3.  Add the coconut mixture to the moulds and freeze for about 20 minutes, until beginning to freeze.  Meanwhile, juice the papaya.  If you haven’t got a juicer, simply blitz and strain.

4.  Divide the papaya juice amongst the moulds and pop the sticks in, pushing into the coconut mixture.  Freeze until completely solid, 4 hours or overnight. 


Summertime blues- Fresh Cream

I am aware that I’ve been posting a lot of sweet things lately.  Pies, cakes, desserts and the like.  I’d like to take this opportunity to apologies for this lack of variety in both thematic and nutritional content. 
Well, I’m not all that sorry, truth be told.  And what with Spring finally deciding to get out of bed and grace us with her presence,  I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to break out the ice cream machine.   I made this crème fraîche ice cream as part of a trio of puddings for some guests recently as it works well with pretty much anything .   It is absolutely delicious, with a slight tang that cuts through the creaminess to make for something really rather refreshing.  I’d recommend it even if the sun decides never to come out again.  


Crème Fraiche Ice Cream
You will need:
450ml full fat milk
225ml double cream
4 large egg yolks
135g sugar
400g crème fraiche
1.   Combine milk and cream in a saucepan.  Place over a medium to low heat and cook without boiling, stirring occasionally.
2.     Whisk the egg yolks until smooth before gradually adding the sugar until you have a pale yellow coloured mixture that leaves a ribbon-like trail.
3.     Pour the warm milk and cream mixture slowly over the yolks, stirring all the while.  Rinse out your pan and pour in the custard.  Return to a low heat and cook very slowly until just thick enough to cover the back of a wooden spoon.  Stir continuously and do not allow to boil.
4.        Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and leave to cool before refrigerating.  As with any ice cream mixture, it should be really cold before pouring into the machine, so leaving it overnight is probably your best bet.
5.     Stir the crème fraiche into the cold custard and mix to incorporate.  Pour into the ice cream maker (while it is running_ and churn according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Place in a seal-proof tub and freeze for a few hours at least before serving.

More Mocha Madness

This is thee first in what will probably be a long series of Leiths recipes.  We begin (as in on this blog, I have no idea what we are starting with on the course!) with basic ice cream making techniques.  This, as you may already know from my other posts, is something I’ve been keen to tackle anyway, especially since being given an ice cream maker for my birthday. 

Under the guidance of Leiths Cookery Bible, I feel this batch was my most successful yet.  Here’s what I have learnt:

1. Freezing dulls flavour.  So you actually want your ice cream base to be sweeter, zestier, stronger than you may normally prefer.  For coffee ice cream, I used some really strong instant espresso powder.

2. Chill, chill, chill everything.  This was something that had already been emphasised to me by the lovely people at St George’s Gelato and echoed by the recipe instructions.  Once you’ve made your custard or ice cream base, cool it right down in the fridge. 

3.  The bowl of your ice cream maker is really cold.  Maybe even colder than your freezer- is that possible?  So make sure it is clean before you put it in to freeze.  Trying to wipe it out once it is frozen will only result in kitchen towel/jay cloth frozen stuck to your ice cream maker bowl.  Not a good look or particularly tasty.

So here is that recipe:

Coffee Ice Cream
 from Leiths Cookery Bible

You will need:

 4 egg yolks
85g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
425ml single cream
5 tsp instant coffee powder (I used espresso powder for a slightly stronger coffee taste)

1.  Combine the cream and coffee in a saucepan and heat gently until the coffee dissolves.

2.  Into a medium sized bowl, mix together the egg yolks with the sugar and salt.  Pour the coffee-cream mixture into the bowl, stirring throughout.

3. Put the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water.  Stir continuously until the mixture is thick and custard-like.

4.  Strain and allow to cool before chilling completely in the fridge, whisking occasionally.

5.  Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Or pour into an ice tray and freeze, whisking when the ice cream is half-frozen. 

The recipe produced a delicious, creamy ice cream, but quite a  lot of it.  I really feared it would end up languishing in our freezer forever if I didn’t actively do something with it.  I came up with two tasty combos.  A kind of Eton mess with blackcurrant (did you know that coffee and blackcurrant are bosom buddies? I didn’t.  Thanks, flavour thesaurus) and cardamom, coconut and coffee ice cream sandwiches.

Coffee and Blackcurrant Meringue Sundae

You will need:

 Serves 4

1 L coffee ice cream (home made as above or shop bought)
3 egg whites (leftover from the ice cream recipe)
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
Blackcurrant jam or compote


1.  Start with the meringues.  Preheat the oven to 150 degrees.  Gently heat approx 100ml of the jam or compote with a little water until you have a runny sauce.  Allow to cool. 

2.  Using a perfectly clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg whites and vinegar/lemon juice into frothy submission.

3.  Add about 50g of the sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites are firm- you should be able to tip the bowl upside down.  Add the remaining 100g of sugar and whisk to incorporate.

4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.  Spoon out 6 large, round meringues.   Using a teaspoon, carefully lace the blackcurrant sauce through the meringues, creating swirly shapes as you go.

5.  Place in the hot oven, turning the heat down to 100 degrees.  Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the meringues feel dry and easily lift off the tray.

6.  Break into pieces and scatter on top of scoops of the ice cream.  Pour over the remaining blackcurrant sauce.

Coffee, Coconut and Cardamom Ice Cream Sandwiches

You will need:

175g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
pinch of salt
120g butter, softened
90 g caster sugar
90 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
crushed seeds from 8 cardamom pods
1 large egg
150g dessicated coconut+ a bit more for decoration (if desired)
Coffee ice cream (home made or shop bought)


1.  Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2.   Combine the flour, bicarb and salt in a small bowl.

3.  Beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, cardamom and 150g of coconut in a larger bowl, until light and fluffy.  Mix in the egg.

4.  Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.

5.  Drop the batter by generous, rounded tablespoonfuls onto a lined baking tray.  Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.

6.  Bake until golden- about 8-9 minutes.  Cool completely and resist the temptation to eat them all. 

7.  Fill two cookies with a scoop of ice cream, squashing and shaping with a kitchen knife to form smooth sandwiches.   Roll the ice cream part of the sandwich in the remaining coconut.  Serve immediately or return to the freezer.  The sandwiches will keep quite happily for a few days in the freezer, but may need a little thawing time before serving. 

Honey lavender ice

And so I continue my adventures with my new ice cream maker and onto a flavour combo I’ve always wanted to try- lavender and honey.  I don’t know what it is that I love about using lavender in cooking and baking.  Perhaps it appeals to a quaintly old fashioned part of me,  that veers just a little bit towards what the swedes call ‘lillgammal’- little old or old before your time.  Perhaps this recipe is just a big homage to the little old lady in me, blue-rinsed and swathed in flouncy scarfs, reeking of lavender EDT.

Yes, lavender is very floral and sweet, so perhaps this is not a recipe that will appeal to everyone.  But I absolutely love it.  I have to admit, I’m still coming to terms with my ice cream machine, but have had some expert advice from the good people at St George’s Gelato, so I will trying some new techniques soon.  In the meantime, here’s the recipe for this floral classic- my lady in lavender.

Honey and Lavender Ice Cream

You will need:

3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
225ml semi skimmed milk
225ml double cream
3 tbsp fresh or dried lavender blossoms, stems removed
100ml honey


1.  Beat the yolks and the sugar in a small bowl. 

2.  Heat the milk until almost boiling and then pour onto the egg mixture, whisking all the while.  Add the lavender. 

3.  Place the bowl on top of a pan of simmering water over a low heat, stirring constantly as the mixture begins to thicken.  When it coats the back of a wooden spoon, it’s ready.

4.  Remove from the heat and leave until completely cooled.  Stir in the cream and the honey and pour into the ice cream machine.

5.  Leave to work its magic for about 20-30 min, until it begins to thicken and come away from the sides.  Freeze for a few hours until it reaches the desired consistency. 

Vanilla Ice

I hit the jackpot on my birthday the other week. I received some absolutely wonderful presents, including some exciting toys- a mini blowtorch for caremelizing the tops of creme brulées, an ice cream maker and a new camera- a proper posh DSLR. 
I’m hoping the camera will mean that my snaps on this blog will jump up a level, although I’ve really got to sit down and read through the manual and take some time to experiment.  Here are some quick initial shots in the meantime of some photogenic produce- chard, raspberries and peppers.  Admittedly, I have A LOT to learn, but already the difference compared to my crappy little point and shoot is remarkable. 

I also tried out my wonderful ice cream maker for the first time.  Following a quick Twitter survey, I was informed that it’s best to start with a classic and progress- so vanilla ice cream it was.  I made a custard-based one for a richer flavour and used vanilla pods rather than just essence.  With those beautiful raspberries, it was an absolute summer’s dream.  

 Custard-based Vanilla Ice Cream

You will need:

3 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
225ml milk
225ml double cream
seeds from 1 vanilla pod


1.  Begin by making the custard.  In a pan, slowly heat the milk until it almost reaches boiling point.  Combine egg yolks and sugar in a small bowl, whisking until smooth.

2.  Slowly pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking all the while.

3.  Return to the pan and stir over a very low heat until thickened.  It should be slightly runnier than custard, but still coat the back of a spoon.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool. 

4.  Stir in the cream and vanilla seeds.  Pour into an ice cream maker, following the manufacturer’s instructions.  I left mine to work for about an hour before returning the bowl to the freezer for the cream to firm up.  Best served with fresh berries or alongside a hot slice of pie.