Each week my local market has a stall filled with beautiful berries and I always have to stop and buy a small box or two, sometimes raspberries or most often, plump blueberries. As I reached for some absolutely giant jubilee blueberries, the stall holder also presented me with a huge container of the most beautiful fresh strawberries. They were not the giant, overgrown variety often sold in supermarkets, but little ruby red, absolutely gorgeous gems. Even though they were rather tiny and a little uneven in size, they had the most divine pure strawberry aroma.
When I saw the container of strawberries at the market I knew instantly that they had to be used for an ice cream. The colour was so beautiful and they were just calling out to be mixed with cream. To make the strawberry flavour even more intense, I roasted the strawberries with a touch of raspberry vinegar and a little Greek basil. I really wanted to add the beautiful berries themselves to the ice cream for some texture, so roasting them helped to concentrate the sugars to get rid of excess water content, so that the ice cream itself would not be too icy.
When making the base for the ice cream, I decided to add some NOY NOY - a brand of unsweetened evaporated milk that is popular in Greece. The unique flavour of this milk is one that always brings back tonnes of memories for Mr K, mostly of childhood school holidays Greece visiting family and friends.
Roasted strawberry and Greek basil 'NOY NOY' ice cream (παγωτό φράουλα)
300ml thickened cream
200ml 'NOY NOY' milk (or unsweetened, evaporated milk)
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled
1 teaspoon of raspberry vinegar
1/3 cup icing / confectioner's sugar
A small bunch of Greek basil
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Mix the berries with the raspberry vinegar and basil, lay them out in a baking tin. Place the tin in the oven and slowly roast them until they release their juices (about 30 minutes).
2. Reserve a little of the strawberries and their juice for later. Put the rest of the strawberries and their juice into a food processor and pulse to your desired consistency (if you want the texture completely smooth, process to a purée and strain through a muslin lined sieve before adding to the cream mixture).
3. Whisk the cream until light and fluffy. Pour in the evaporated milk and strawberries. Add the confectioner’s sugar and mix well.
4. Add to your ice cream machine and follow the manufacturers instructions; or pour the mixture into a container, cover with a lid and place in the freezer overnight or for at least 8 hours.
5. Place the reserved strawberries and their juice in a small milk pan, add a teaspoon of the icing sugar and a sprig or two more of the Greek basil. Cover with a cartouche a cook on a gentle heat and simmer until the juice becomes thick and syrupy. Serve over ice cream.