One of the most joyous things about summer for me is the abundance of fresh fruit. Seasonal British-grown fruits are a particular joy – that pleasure that comes from missing them when they are gone and anticipating them just before they are back once again… and then, here they are!
Blueberries are one such fruit but I only came to love them in recent years – their taste is much more subtle than many of the sweet bright berries I favoured as a child, not to mention the wonderfully perfumed and intense tropical fruit imported from warmer climes.
Over the years I’ve become such a fan of these unassuming blue pearls. They’re lovely eaten straight from the punnet – that little squirt of juice as they pop in your mouth followed by their mild grapey taste. They’re also perfect scattered over yoghurt or muesli for breakfast, cooked into pancakes drenched in maple syrup or dropped like jewels into a baked tart or cake.
Calling this recipe Blueberry Custard Ice Cream is probably a tautology, since custard is the classic base for many traditional ice cream recipes, I don’t really need to mention it… But the flavour of the custard base really comes through – the marriage of egg-enriched dairy and sweet tart blueberries making a frozen treat that puts me in mind of eating blueberries bobbing about in a bowl of custard. So there you are – Blueberry Custard Ice Cream!
Some of the recipes I’ve seen online are illustrated with photos of vivid purple ice cream – I have no idea how they achieve so bright a colour since the recipes I’ve checked include neither food colouring nor freeze-dried blueberry powder. Fresh whole blueberries have a gorgeous purple-blue skin but the flesh inside is pale green; when blended, the resulting fruit puree is a pretty purple-burgundy but that colour is quickly muted when combined with cream or custard. The higher the ratio of fruit to cream or custard, the more intense the colour will be but if you use fresh blueberries, don’t expect really colourful ice cream.
Another alternative is to substitute bilberries, a closely related berry which looks very similar to a blueberry on the outside but has purple-red flesh inside – indeed I wonder if bilberries have been used in many of the ‘blueberry’ recipes I see online?
Blueberry Custard Ice Cream
For the custard base:
- 225 ml milk (I used semi-skimmed, but full fat is fine)
- 225 ml double cream
- 4 large eggs
- 60 g sugar
For the blueberry puree:
- 240 g fresh blueberries
- 120 g sugar
For the blueberry stir-in:
- 120 g fresh blueberries
- 2 tbsp vodka
I often add a little alcohol to my ice creams to make the finished ice cream a little softer. You can omit the vodka if you prefer; in that case, add plain chopped blueberries to the ice cream when churning.
I used my wonderful Froothie Optimum power blender to make the custard ice cream base so the recipe method is based on using a power blender. An alternative stove top method for making the custard is provided below.
Combine all the custard ingredients (milk, cream, eggs and 60 grams sugar) in a high spec power blender, increase the speed to high and blend for several minutes. The speed of the powerful blades generates enough heat to cook the custard while continuing to mix it. Nothing catches and burns, there are no lumps and it’s very straightforward.
Once the custard is cooked, transfer to a jug or bowl and set aside.
Use a blender or food processor to blitz 240 grams of blueberries with 120 grams of sugar.
Once blended into a smooth liquid puree, combine with the custard base and mix thoroughly. (You can either pour the custard back into the blender and blitz for a few seconds or scrape the blueberry puree into the custard and mix with a spoon).
Finely chop 120 grams of blueberries and place in a small bowl. Pour two tablespoons of vodka over the chopped blueberries and set aside.
Pour the blueberry custard mix into an ice cream machine – I use and recommend the Sage by Heston Blumenthal Smart Scoop – and add the chopped blueberries in vodka. They will quickly be stirred into the mixture by the churning blades.
Most ice cream machines produce a fairly soft ice cream, so either serve immediately or transfer into a box and freeze until firm.
Alternative method for making custard base on the stove top:
Gently heat the cream, milk and half the sugar in a saucepan until it reaches boiling, then remove from the heat. Meanwhile beat the remaining sugar and egg yolks together in a large bowl. Slowly pour the hot mixture over the eggs, whisking continuously. Then pour the combined mixture back into the pan and cook gently until it thickens. Make sure you stir continuously so that the custard doesn’t catch and burn. [Now revert to step two of the instructions above].
Other delicious blueberry recipes from fellow bloggers:
- Balsamic Blueberry Parfait
- Blueberry and Almond Clafoutis
- Blueberry and Apple Smoothie
- Blueberry Fool with Pistachios
- Rhubarb & Blueberry Tarte Tatin
- Vegan Blueberry & Coconut Ice Lollies
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