Strawberry and Black Pepper Ice-Cream
This is so easy to make – no syrup or custard involved, just ricotta, a little double cream, lemon juice and sugar. There's a bit of heat from the pepper, but it's subtle and slow, and takes a back seat to the richness of the strawberries.
Eat the ice cream right away or, at the most, within a day or two of making. The fresh fruity flavour starts to fade after that.
Makes about 850ml
flavoursome strawberries 450g, plus extra to decorate
caster sugar 150g
lemon juice 1 tbsp
black peppercorns 1 tbsp crushed and sieved, plus a few whole peppercorns to decorate
ricotta cheese 125g
double cream (preferably organic) 2 tbsp
1) Rinse, hull and dry the strawberries (in that order), reserving a few unhulled berries for decoration.
2) Put the hulled fruit in the bowl of a food processor along with the sugar, lemon juice and pepper. Whiz to a purée, scrape into a bowl with a spatula, then cover and chill for at least an hour.
3) Slacken the ricotta with the cream, mixing well, then stir it into the strawberry purée.
4) Freeze the mixture in an ice-cream machine following the manufacturer's instructions (see below if you don't have a machine). Spoon into plastic boxes and press cling-film over the surface before putting on the lid.
5) Put the ice-cream in the fridge to soften 20-25 minutes before you want to serve it. Spoon into glass bowls and decorate with a strawberry and a single black peppercorn.
To enjoy the ice-cream at its best, you need top-quality, organic or single estate peppercorns, preferably Tellicherry or Wynad. You can buy these on-line and in good supermarkets.
To freeze ice-cream without a machine, pour the mixture into a shallow
freezer-proof container, cover and freeze for about 2 hours until beginning to harden round the edges. Tip into a bowl and beat until smooth to get rid of ice crystals. Repeat the process twice more if you have time, then freeze until completely firm.
Recipe © Christine McFadden from Pepper: the Spice that Changed the World published by Absolute Press/Bloomsbury