If you know anything about Maggie Beer, you know that she’s a little partial to verjuice. And by a little partial I mean she has basically set her culinary world to revolve around it! If you look through one of her recipe books, you’ll quickly realise what I mean – nary a recipe in sight without verjuice in it.
I’m still not sure what I think about verjuice. It’s certainly different and very tasty, but it’s also rare and expensive – two things I am certainly not partial to.
I think if you’re a keen bean, then it’s well worth getting a bottle or two and seeing what you can do with it (because it is terrifically diverse). But otherwise, I think for the most part, unless it’s a key ingredient it’s often overshadowed by other, stronger flavours, and therefore a bit of a waste of time, I think.
This recipe however, is one of few where verjuice really does stand out and it gives you a very unique flavour. As does the olive oil. Believe me when I say that I’m not one for weird ice cream flavours. I remember the first time someone told me about garlic ice cream, and still to this day I make the same facial expression when I think about it. And it’s not pretty: it’s like my body is recoiling and my face is doing everything it can to tell you this. That’s how I feel about weird ice cream flavours. Well, particularly weird ice cream flavours; more to the point, savoury ice cream flavours! Savoury ice cream?! (Life is full of enough disappointments, Gary!)
Thankfully, despite the olive oil, this is actually a sweet ice cream! You can thank the verjuice for that. But really, it’s different and strange and overall, it’s definitely an experience! So give it a go and see what happens – it’s pretty fun!
200g castor sugar
4 egg yolks
zest of 1/2 lemon
pinch sea salt
200ml good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Place sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and heat for a few seconds until the sugar dissolves. Then bring to the boil and boil for about 30 seconds.
- Remove from the heat and place in an unlined baking tin and place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool down.
- Place verjuice, egg yolks, salt and lemon zest in a blender or food processor. As soon as you turn it on, trickle the oil in a very thin stream – don’t rush otherwise it will curdle.
- Once combined, add the cooled sugar syrup in the same fashion, being very patient!!
- Place in a shallow dish and place in freezer until cold. Then remove from the freezer and churn in an ice cream churner for 30-40 minutes until you like the consistency, then freeze as it will still be very runny. If you don’t have a churner, don’t stress. Just leave it in the freezer in the dish and remove it every 2 hours, break it all up and stir it around, then return to the freezer and repeat.
- I served it with raspberries, but a raspberry coulis with lemon or lime would work really nicely – something to break through the richness and intensity!