One of the most useless gadgets I own is an ice cream maker. For 364 days of the year, it sits in the Sports Cupboard (named after all the golf clubs, rugby balls, roller skates, tennis rackets, shuttlecocks and other bits of sports equipment purchased, used once and then abandoned into its dark depths. It also holds all the cooking equipment I can’t fit into the kitchen or utility room, and I can occasionally be found knee deep in tennis balls and Frisbees, swearing freely and trying to find the sugar thermometer I just know I have somewhere).

Every so often I think: ‘I fancy making some ice cream.’ Then I remember the ice cream maker bowl needs to go into the freezer 24 hours before I make ice cream and normally I abandon the idea in favour of eating toast and watching bad sci fi. But once a year I dig it out, scrub off the thick layers of dust and sticky residue and freeze it. And so I make my annual bowl of ice cream, then put the ice cream maker away and just buy ice cream for the rest of the year. It’s much easier.

This year’s urge to make ice cream hit me on Friday – the recent storms have obviously put me in a summery mood. And since the best flavour of ice cream is mint choc chip and I had half a packet of mint decomposing in the fridge, the way was clear.

Simple mint ice cream
Makes 1/2 litre

300ml whole milk
75g caster sugar
Large handful of fresh mint sprigs
300ml double cream
100g very dark , preferably at least 70% cocoa solids, finely chopped

1 Place the milk, sugar and mint in a pan over a low heat. Heat, stirring frequently, until steaming hot and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat, stir in the cream and set aside to infuse for at least an hour. You can leave it in the fridge overnight – which is handy if you’ve forgotten to freeze your ice cream maker.

2 Set your ice cream maker going. Remove the mint and pour the milk mixture into the ice cream maker. Once it has begun to thicken, add the chocolate chips. Let it churn until thick, then spoon into a 1/2 litre freezerproof container and freeze until solid.

3 If you don’t have an ice cream maker, you can make this by removing the mint, stirring in the chocolate and then pouring it all into a freezerproof container. Freeze for 2 hours, then beat with a fork to break the ice crystals, return to the freezer and repeat for about 8 hours or until you give up and go and buy some ice cream.

4 To serve, let the ice cream soften for 10 minutes. It should serve 6 people reasonably, 4 people greedily or 1 person guiltily.

Tagged with: ChocolateEnglishIce creamMint

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