How to make my grandma’s sunny iced strawberry fool (or a mess of your kids).
When invited by Waitrose Online to write a blog post with my daughter about ice cream I thought, ‘I’ll be damned if I’m letting my two-year-old make custard.’ Most of the ice cream I make at home is from a custard base, and often I just use this classic vanilla recipe which is probably the only ice cream a person needs. I mean, when you go to the trouble of making your own, it needn’t have frills to be the best.
My late grandma wasn’t one for superfluous anything either, not at home or for dessert. She lived before home ice cream makers became affordable kit, and I doubt she’d have found room for one in her kitchen either way. She loved iced desserts, however, and left a few of her favourite no-churn recipes behind when she died. While her recipes aren’t for kids in the Knickerbocker Glory sense, they are simple to make, and should be a foolproof method of making ice cream at home with little ones. Sieving and whisking after all, is much less worrisome than stirring a vulnerable custard over a hob.
I’ve featured my grandma’s apricot ice cream recipe on the blog before, but for this brief I thought I’d go about making her iced strawberry fool. Made with 1 lb of fresh fruit, you could almost say this dessert is good for you, and compared to Nigella’s strawberry ice cream, containing 10 egg yolks and 500ml of double cream per batch, it’s certainly lower in fat. Even lighter is my grandma’s strawberry sorbet recipe which I’ve also included here. (Parents take note: I wouldn’t suggest making this sorbet for small kids unless you substitute the raw egg whites for pasteurised, like Two Chicks.)
I say this should be a foolproof method of making ice cream with kids, but to be honest, I don’t know. For speed’s sake (of course you have to let the thing freeze) I prepared the iced strawberry fool on my own. I intended my daughter and I to have fun putting it together after tea, with Waitrose mini-meringue shells and a sprinkling of Waitrose freeze-dried strawberries. Trouble is, my propensity towards minimalist decoration left my daughter with nothing to do but eat her ice cream and watch me take photographs of mine. So I failed the challenge, because I didn’t involve my daughter in any meaningful part of this activity. I know she had fun, however, because she’d eaten two sugary meringue nests right after dinner, making a an Eton mess out of bedtime, and a fool out of me.
Winifred’s Iced Strawberry Fool
1 lb/450g strawberries
3 oz/85g golden caster sugar
1/4 pint/120ml double cream
To serve (optional)
Waitrose mini meringue shells
Waitrose freeze-dried strawberries
Thoroughly wash the strawberries and let them reach room temperature if stored in the fridge. Remove the stalks and cut into halves or quarters depending on the size of the fruit.
Smash the strawberries through a sieve to remove the juice and then return the fibrous fruit to the bowl and mix well. If you have a juicer at home you could use that instead, but I enjoy the different textures created by hand mashing.
Whisk in the caster sugar and set to one side while you whip the double cream. Whisk until thickened and velvety but not stiff.
Dollop a little of the sweetened strawberry into the cream and pour the rest into a shallow glass dish or Tupperware. Spoon in the cream and swirl around lightly to create a ripple effect.
Put in the freezer, or as my grandma suggests, in the fridge next to the ice compartment so that it doesn’t freeze hard. The fool will be ready to eat as soon as it is cool and slightly solidified, after an hour-and-a-half to two hours, but if you let it go over, soften by removing from the freezer a little while before serving.
To serve, use an ice cream scoop to place balls of iced strawberry fool between two meringue shells and sprinkle with freeze-dried strawberries. Alternatively, for the full Eton mess effect, crush the meringue nests in a plastic bag, stir into the lightly frozen strawberries and cream and spoon into glass serving bowls, topped with strawberry dust and sliced fresh strawberries.
Winifred’s Strawberry Sorbet
1 lb strawberries, washed thoroughly and stalks removed
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 egg whites (or 4 tbsp pasteurised whites)
Liquidise the fruit and sugar. Beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold the fruit and egg whites together gently but thoroughly and place into a freezing tray, take out and stir when half set around edges (after about 1-2 hours) and return to the freezer to reset.
Disclosure: this is a sponsored post.