It’s been a while since I shared a recipe, mainly due to my being in South Africa and working out of a kitchen with a bare minimum of baking essentials. My time there was characterised by many things, but I think I will always be remembered for the gelato I started making on a whim one hot Cape Town day.
This recipe is quite possibly the easiest thing ever and doesn’t even require churning, so I always felt bad taking credit for the rather spectacular, euphoric reactions that came from my eager taste-testers (I think we can safely blame this gelato for several late night incidents involving children’s play areas, swimming pools and show tunes). The basic recipe can be adapted to just about any flavour, the favourites so far being coconut and raspberry ripple, Nutella, chocolate and peanut butter, and chocolate and salted caramel ripple with pieces of Crunchie bar.
Today, due to the somewhat overwhelming glut of strawberries that we are currently experiencing here in the West Country, I’m going to share my recipe for Eton Mess Gelato, but I’ll explain how to adapt it.
This part of South-West England has always been known for it’s ability to produce spectacular crops of strawberries, to the extent that during the Victorian era, the railway serving the local villages was named the Strawberry Line, after it’s main export to London. This year and my Mum’s back garden are no exceptions to this fine tradition, and we are currently picking more strawberries than we know what to do with.
After exhausting the usual strawberries and cream, and pavlova options, I turned to gelato, and I must say that the slight sharpness of this year’s crop works really very well in an ice cream. I’m sure shop-bought ones would work just as well, especially now that they are in season, but the quantities of fruit can be varied in this recipe if it doesn’t taste quite strawberryish enough for you. If you find yourself feeling a little tigger-like an hour or so after eating this, then please just go with it and remember to send me your stories afterwards.
Cheats Eton Mess Gelato
Smooth, creamy strawberry ice cream with ripples of strawberry and meringue pieces
Basic Gelato Mixture
500ml double cream
1 tin (395g) of condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For Eton Mess Flavour
500g strawberries, hulled and chopped into medium-sized pieces
50g caster sugar
4-5 drops of rose water
A squeeze of lemon juice
3-4 meringue nests (shop bought works best)
To make the Gelato
- Place the chopped strawberries in a bowl, sprinkle over the sugar, add the rose water and lemon juice, and leave to macerate for 30mins.
- Using an electric whisk or free-standing mixer, whisk together the cream, condensed milk and vanilla until thick (about the consistency of soft-serve ice cream).
- Take 2/3 of the strawberries and purée them in a blender.
- Stir the strawberry purée into the gelato, making sure it is thoroughly mixed.
- Pour the gelato into a 2 litre container.
- Crush the meringue nests into fairly chunky pieces and mix with the remaining strawberries.
- Quickly stir the strawberry and meringue mixture into the gelato, creating a ripple effect.
- Place in the deep freeze for at least 8 hours, although best left overnight.
To turn the basic gelato recipe into chocolate gelato, add 50g cocoa powder to the mixture once thick, and whisk in on a slow speed until evenly distributed.