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Strawberry and Balsamic Ice Cream with Sweet Strawberry and Mint Salsa

The addition of balsamic vinegar to dairy products such as cream and ice cream tempers the richness and adds a subtle flavour. Couple this with its affinity with strawberries and you have something in this ice cream that is both exquisite and unique. This is a great party dessert – and you can test your guests on whether they recognise the hidden ingredient.

 
 

This recipe is taken from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection. It has also appeared in Sainsbury's Magazine (May 1996).

Method

First of all, roughly chop 12 oz (350 g) of the strawberries and place them in a bowl. Sprinkle in the balsamic vinegar, stir well and leave them to marinate for about 30 minutes.

While that is happening, you need to make a sugar syrup.

To do this, place the granulated sugar and 2 fl oz (55 ml) of water in a small saucepan. Then put it on a gentle heat and allow the sugar to dissolve completely, stirring from time to time – this should take about 5-6 minutes.

When there are no sugar granules left, let the syrup come up to simmering point and simmer very gently for a further 5 minutes.

Now whiz the prepared strawberries and the sugar syrup together in a food processor until you have a smooth purée. Then you need to strain the purée through a nylon sieve (metal tends to discolour) into a bowl to extract the seeds.

Next, mix the purée with the whipping cream and either put the whole lot into an ice-cream maker to freeze-churn, or if you don't have an ice-cream maker, pour the mixture into a shallow polythene box measuring 8 x 8 x 2½ inches (20 x 20 x 6 cm), cover with a lid and pop it into the freezer for about 3 hours. (It's impossible to be precise because freezers vary). What you need is a mixture that is half frozen; the particles around the edge will be frozen and the centre will be soft.

At this stage, remove it from the freezer and, using an electric hand whisk, beat the frozen bit into the soft bits until you get a uniform texture.

Then cover and freeze again, by which time it will be almost completely frozen. Now you need to give it a second whisk, after which the ice cream will be ready.

Whether you are using an ice-cream maker or the hand-whisk method, the next stage is to slice the rest of the strawberries and fold them into the ice cream.

Then pack the ice cream into the loaf tin and cover and freeze until needed.

(Before serving the ice cream, you need to remove it from the freezer to the main body of the fridge for about 2 hours. Then, to serve, turn it out on to a flat board, remove the clingfilm and cut it into slices)

To make the salsa, all you do is chop the strawberries into tiny, even-sized pieces.

Then gently heat the balsamic vinegar in a small pan, add the molasses sugar and continue to heat gently until all the sugar is dissolved.

Remove the pan from the heat, allow it to cool, then combine the strawberries, chopped mint and balsamic mixture.

Serve a little of the salsa and a sprig of mint with each portion of ice cream.

 

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