The Olympics are over and those of us who watched are still coming down from a mixture of nerve-wracking high energy and emotions from watching and rooting for athletes from around the world that inspired us all.
Danny Boyle’s opening ceremony was deserving of its name, Isles of Wonder, and it was inspiring. I’m not the only one who thinks he deserves a knighthood. Outside of sports, it was a definite highlight – with James Bond and the Queen being a particular favourite for many. (I wish I could find a video to link, but no such luck. They’ve been taken down.) The closing ceremony didn’t exactly live up to the anticipation leading up to it, I think, but there were its highlights for everyone. For me, it was Russell Brand singing a cover of “I Am the Walrus” and Eric Idle’s performance of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Footage of Freddie Mercury on a video screen was unexpected and masterfully done as he roused an audience of 80,000 (and more from the world over) in a call-and-response before Brian May broke into his guitar solo.
Celebrating British and Olympic spirit, the idea for this ice cream was inspired within the first few days of the Olympics but it wasn’t until after it was done that I made it. Inspired by Eton mess, a classic British dessert named after the boys’ prestigious school where it was created, this ice cream has strawberries cooked into a jam and swirled into a custard base with meringue cookies (made from scratch and sweetened with honey) crumbled into it.
The ice cream takes some advance prep (including freezing time), so if you want to serve it on the same day it was made, I recommend starting it in the morning, then it can freeze over the course of the day. I made it in the evening (making the custard base the previous day) and it was done by early next morning.
It has a somewhat coconut-y flavour since it uses coconut milk from the tin. The coconut flavour is slightly subdued and rounded off by vanilla extract and as it freezes. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of making meringue, you could leave it out and simply have a lovely, creamy strawberry ice cream on par with, or even better, than a dairy version.
Strawberry and Meringue (Eton Mess) Ice Cream
Inspired by Seven Spoons and technique adapted from Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones
The base recipe is based on my dairy-free coconut milk custard but following the technique outlined in Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones.
5 or 6 egg yolks (medium or large)
3/4 cup honey
1 1/2 cups full fat coconut milk
2 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sliced fresh or frozen strawberries
1/2 dozen meringue cookies (recipe follows)
Whisk together egg yolks and honey in a large heatproof bowl. Heat coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium heat until it just starts to bubble and remove from heat. Add the hot coconut milk to the yolks 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Once all the coconut milk has been added, stir in vanilla extract. Strain to remove any cooked egg bits and cover and cool, chilling in the fridge for approximately 2 hours or overnight.
Slice strawberries into a small saucepan and add a small amount of water, just enough to cover the surface of the bottom of the saucepan and to prevent scorching. Add a small amount of honey, to taste, if needed. Cook strawberries over medium heat, until the juices start to come out and the strawberries have softened slightly, as if making a berry sauce or jam. Remove from heat and cool.
Pour chilled custard into a container and swirl in strawberry sauce. Crumble meringue cookies over top and freeze for 2 hours. Scrape sides and stir gently, folding in the crumbled meringue cookies, and freezing for another 2 to 3 hour interval and repeating until firm. (You may also use an ice cream machine, pouring in the custard base and then the strawberry sauce. Add the crumbled meringue cookies after transferring the ice cream to a container.)
This ice cream will only freeze up until it’s firm enough to scoop and won’t become any harder, so it’s fine to store in the freezer until you’re ready to serve it.
2 or 3 egg whites, room temperature
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 250 to 255ºF and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cook honey and water together in a saucepan over medium heat, until it reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer.
While the syrup is cooking, beat egg whites to soft peaks. When the syrup is ready, slowly pour syrup into the egg whites while beating constantly. Once all the syrup has been used, continue to beat until stiff and the bottom of the bowl has cooled. Add vanilla.
Dollop spoonfuls of meringue, one spoonful per cookie, on the lined baking sheet. Space 1/2-inch apart. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden and the cookies can be easily peeled away from the paper.
This recipe will make more cookies than you require for the ice cream.