Ice cream could well be the perfect summer dessert: suitably cooling, sweet enough to give sun-ravaged spirits a lift and available in every flavour imaginable. Now, that's all well and good when a cone of gelato is restricted to an occasional holiday treat, but what about when you become a Baskin Robbins regular, intent on adding chopped nuts, chocolate sprinkles and whipped cream to that double scoop of rocky road?
Well, ice cream is generally made from a custard base, which means it contains egg yolks, sugar and plenty of cream or whole milk. Although this makes for a calorific combination, it's not all bad - the eggs and dairy products provide both calcium and protein. Do try to steer away from cheap varieties, though, as more often than not these contain vegetable fats and butters, artificial colourings and flavourings, emulsifiers and stabilisers. The following recipe uses less sugar than normal, omits the eggs and cream entirely and doesn't require an ice cream machine. It is also very simple to make and is ready in a matter of minutes. You can vary the type of berries (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries all work well on their own) and it's a great way of using up a browning bunch of bananas - simply peel, chop and freeze them until you're ready to use.
Ice cream minus some of the calories Serves 4
500g frozen mixed berries
75ml low-fat crème fraîche
2-3 tbsp caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split
Tip the frozen berries into a food processor, then add the crème fraîche, two tablespoons of sugar and the seeds from the vanilla pod. Blitz for one to two minutes, then stop and scrape the sides of the food processor down. Continue to blend until you have a thick, semi-smooth, frozen mixture. If it seems too solid, add a splash of water and blitz again. Taste and add more sugar if you think it is necessary. Either serve immediately or pour into a container, cover with a lid and store in the freezer until you are ready to use.