A Midsummer Ice Cream

I COULDN'T RESIST the title when I realised my hankering for ice cream-making coincided with the summer solstice, but ice cream really, for me, is any-time-of-year, any-weather comfort food.
And, if pushed, I would say it's my favourite.
When I think of ice cream I think of the hazelnut gelato in Rome, the pistachio in Venice; the amazing "space dots" of ice cream I had in Florida, and then the best I've ever had - passionfruit in Queenstown, New Zealand.
It holds happy childhood memories too: Coke floats, carefully constructed to get the perfect mix of froth and icy crunch; anticipated stops at Capaldi's in Brora (I still remember an aniseed ice cream, the colour of a pale summer sky, called Blue Cloud); and of course there were Twisters, Mini-Milks, Fabs and Feasts.
When I was eight or nine I once got free ice cream from the cafe around the corner because the owners (whose house was sort of below ours) so enjoyed my melodious singing in the garden...
In sixth year of high school an ice cream van cannily parked outside at lunchtime and served generously-heaped tubs, which I think we bought almost daily.
And there is the "cone-headed clown" - a scoop of ice cream in a tub, with a wafer cone hat perched on top, then jelly diamond eyes and a frilly collar of sweet, sticky sauce - made by a shop in the neighbouring town.
These days my tastes are (slightly) more refined, and while I'm intrigued by this pea and mint ice cream, it's Nigella's sweet white miso one that I've been wanting to make.
Like all of her recent ice cream recipes, it's an incredibly easy "no-churn" affair, using another beloved foodstuff - condensed milk.
Her recipe (from Simply Nigella) cruelly uses just half a can, which would normally force me to just eat the other half with a spoon.
However, showing great restraint, I thought I'd use it to try a recipe of my own - a liquorice ice cream inspired by the one I saw in the Spuntino cookbook (though I did have liquorice ice cream in Copenhagen). I also wanted to try its suggestion of pairing liquorice with pineapple - an interesting combo that seems to mellow each flavour.
That recipe uses the soft, natural liquorice you get everywhere but I had a little tin of Italian pellets lingering in the cupboard that needed another outing (the soft stuff might be too sweet for this no-churn version anyway).
Both ice creams are deliciously addictive: luscious and smooth, with the savoury-sweet tang of salted caramel. The miso has a nutty, honeyed intensity (toasted sesame seeds might be a nice topping) and is actually reminiscent of cookie dough, so some dark chocolate chunks wouldn't be a bad idea.
The liquorice one meanwhile is dark and rich and will surely convert anyone who thinks they don't like it.
Either way they make for an unusual but easy dessert or afternoon treat.
But ice cream's not just for summer, it's for ever...

No-churn Liquorice Ice-cream

300ml double cream
1/2 can condensed milk
1 tbsp of liquorice pellets* (I used Amarelli rossano)

Melt the liquorice pellets in 100ml of water and allow to cool.
Add this to the condensed milk and combine, before adding the double cream.
Whisk until thick but softly whipped (this can take a while because of the extra liquid).
Decant into a 1l tub, or two 500ml tubs, then freeze for at least six hours or overnight.

*For the miso ice cream, simply replace the liquorice with 100g of sweet white miso: you can get this in Waitrose, Marks & Spencer's and health food shops (and probably, perhaps cheaper, from Asian supermarkets if you happen to have one where you live). 
I'm not sure if it would work with other, more-readily available miso pastes (red or dark brown in colour) - only one way to find out!


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