|Red Raspberry Ice Cream|
|Right Food for the Season - Early Summer|
|Written by Jane Ward|
My cook’s mind kicks into overdrive each Wednesday when I pick up my CSA share at Cider Hill Farm in Amesbury, and before I have even left the farm I have decided what will happen to the week’s haul. The two smooth-skinned zucchini will get turned into fritters. The chard will wilt down in some stock for soup. As for the rest, the bunch of beets and the group of small cucumbers and the green beans, I will have determined which I’ll be pickling, what will get frozen for later, and what will taste best right away, raw in a salad.
Best of all, with all of these meals and sides, I am able to make a few of one vegetable go a long way to feeding a whole family, allowing each of us a taste of the week’s wealth.
Divvying up fruit, however, proves a little trickier, especially if the favorite way of eating the fruit is whole and unadorned, given only a rinse. This past week’s small container of raspberries and first few peaches of the season made me nervous. This amount of fruit for four people? I live with someone who would consider the raspberries a snack. Er, make that a snackette. Myself, I could eat two of the peaches before someone could say “two peaches.” The fruit would have to be stretched to feed us all, but how?
A raspberry-peach kuchen would make a treat of a breakfast but baking was out of the question in the heat wave. Ditto jam-making, although I might have gotten a small pot or two of delicious and sharable preserves from the two fruits combined. Given the 90-plus degrees in my kitchen, whatever I did with this beautiful fruit would have to involve the antithesis of intense heat.
The solution came to me on the way home from the farm. The antithesis of intense heat is, of course, cold. Freezing cold. I would make something not from the raging inferno but of the deep freeze.
Black raspberry ice cream is the first ice cream I can remember eating. I’m sure I first ate vanilla ice cream as an infant, but I have no memory of that first spoonful of vanilla. The taste of black raspberry, though, lingers: sweet but sophisticated, with a musty, jammy, blackcurrant finish. Red raspberry ice cream, discovered by me much later in life, is equally delicious, though more tart, more assertive, fresher tasting somehow. The sweet but puckery Cider Hill raspberries would make some wonderful ice cream.
And the peaches?
Red raspberries and peaches are a classic combination. Think of Peach Melba, the dessert made with peach slices and red raspberry sauce. With my CSA fruit, though, I pureed the peaches, turning them and not the raspberries into the sauce. By making ice cream and an accompanying sauce from the relatively small amount of fruit, everyone had a taste from the weekly share.
The following recipe works in electric canister-style ice cream makers, and has been adapted from a recipe found in my ice cream maker’s instruction booklet. Always keep the insulated freezer canisters in your freezer and you’ll be ready to experiment with your local, seasonal fruits all summer long.
For those people who don’t have an ice cream freezer, try a frosty smoothie instead on a hot day. Both fruits purées in the recipe below can be added to ice and plain yogurt in your blender for a sippable cold treat. I have included a very basic smoothie recipe as well and, you’ll be happy to know, this recipe, like the ice cream, also makes enough to share.
Red Raspberry Ice Cream
(makes one quart )
12 ounces red raspberries, rinsed
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3 Tbsp. sugar
scant 2/3 cup sugar
¾ cup whole milk
1 ½ cup heavy cream
¾ tsp. vanilla extract
Freeze the ice cream maker’s insulated canister for at least 24 hours before making ice cream.
Place the berries in a small bowl and mash them with the back of a spoon. Add to this the lemon juice and 3 Tbsp. of sugar. Cover and refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
Remove fruit from the refrigerator. Strain one-half to two-thirds of the mixture by pressing it through a fine mesh sieve, collecting the pulp and juice in a second small bowl. This removes a good number of the raspberry seeds. Discard the seeds in the sieve, then stir together the unstrained berries and the strained juice. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl, combine sugar and milk. Whisk well until sugar is dissolved, then whisk in the heavy cream and the vanilla. Stir in the raspberry puree. Chill the mixture for at least 30 minutes.
Assemble your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Immediately pour ice cream base into the frozen canister and turn on the machine. Do not overfill. Churn ice cream for 25-30 minutes. Finished ice cream will have a soft creamy texture. Eat immediately with peach sauce, or freeze in a freezer container until you are ready for dessert.
Fresh Peach Sauce
1 pound (about 3) ripe peaches, pits removed, peeled and cut into chunks
6-7 Tbsp. sugar, depending on sweetness of the fruit
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
Place the peach chunks in a medium sized bowl together with the sugar and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
When ready to serve, puree the fruit in a blender until smooth. Serve immediately* with ice cream.
*The longer peach sauce sits, the browner it will get despite the lemon juice in the recipe. So make it right before eating.
Fresh Fruit Smoothie (serves 2 - 4)
1 recipe red raspberry puree, or 1 recipe fresh peach puree as made above for the ice creams
1 ½ cups plain Greek yogurt (a good quality vanilla yogurt may be substituted if you find plain yogurt too tart)
2 cups ice
½ tsp. vanilla extract (for raspberry smoothies), optional
¼ tsp. almond extract (for peach smoothies), optional
Add the fruit puree, the yogurt, and the extract (if you are using it) to the glass canister of your blender. Cover and blend for a few seconds to combine.
Add two cups of ice to the mixture in the blender. Cover and process until smooth. Drink immediately.