this damson ice cream, courtesy of nigel slater, is just amazing. i made it without an ice cream machine and with its mix of yoghurt and double cream, plus the usual stirring every 45-60 minutes once it’s in the freezer, until almost frozen, have helped create a lovely texture. the flavour is slightly sharp – partly due to the damsons and partly due to the yoghurt, which is just so delicious.
nigel slater’s damson ice cream (serves 4)
4 tablespoons of water
4 egg yolks
200g caster sugar
250ml double cream
250ml natural yoghurt
rinse the damsons, then bring to the boil with the water in a stainless-steel pan. it won't seem like enough water, but trust me. turn down the heat so the damsons simmer gently for 10 minutes until the skins have burst and you have a quantity of deep-purple juice. push the fruit through a fine sieve with a wooden spoon, pushing till you have nothing left but stones. leave the puree to cool.
beat the egg yolks and caster sugar till pale and creamy. warm the cream in a medium-sized saucepan then pour it over the egg and sugar, stirring. rinse the pan, then return the custard to it, putting it over a gentle heat and stirring gently till you have custard the thickness of double cream. it is essential that the mixture doesn't get too hot.
i prefer to stir continuously with a wooden spoon, right into the corners of the pan, until it is just thick enough, then i immediately transfer it into a cool bowl set in a sink of shallow cold water. the sudden cooling helps to stop the custard curdling, as does a good whisking. let the custard cool.
mix the damson puree, custard and yogurt. pour into the bowl of an ice-cream machine and churn till almost frozen. remove to a plastic freezer box and freeze till needed.
if you don't have a machine you can still make the ice cream, just place in the freezer, remove every hour, and give it a good whisk, bringing the frozen outer edges into the middle. the result will be good, but less light and creamy than that made in a machine. it needs four hours to freeze.