Today, we’re continuing our month of summer desserts with this simple ricotta ice cream with balsamic glazed strawberries. (Bonus: You don’t need an ice-cream maker!) The wonderful Skye McAlpine shows us how to make it…
No-Churn Homemade Ricotta Ice Cream with Balsamic Strawberries
by Skye McAlpine of From My Dining Table
Summer in Venice is pretty much all about the gelato. The air feels so hot and humid that some days gelato is all we want to eat. While there is no shortage of local (and excellent) ice-cream shops, I have found that since discovering this simple way of making my own, I almost never feel the need to buy it. Something about the ricotta makes the gelato irresistibly light and airy. You don’t need an ice-cream maker: all you do is beat egg yolks with sugar, then add a touch of Marsala (the alcohol stops the cream from freezing completely and gives it that lovely soft texture) and a dollop of ricotta cheese. Then leave the cream to chill in the freezer before serving.
The gelato is delicious on its own (I have been known to eat it by spoonful straight from the fridge), but you could add a few chocolate chips to the cream base if you like, or even a few raisins (soaked in Marsala for extra flavor) and chunks of candied peel. This time of year, I love to serve it with strawberries. I soak them in balsamic vinegar with a little sugar — it’s an unexpected but utterly classic Italian combination that adds just a little rich sweetness to the fruit, and creates lovely, thick, syrup-y juices to drizzle over the ice cream.
Recipe: No-Churn Homemade Ricotta Ice Cream with Strawberries and Balsamic Syrup
2 cups (500g) ricotta cheese
1 1/3 cups (200g) confectioners sugar
2 tbsp (30ml) Marsala wine
2 heaped cups (250g) strawberries
5 tsp caster (superfine) sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
To make the ice cream, spoon the ricotta into a sieve and stand it over a mixing bowl; use the back of the spoon to press the ricotta through the sieve. This will make the ice cream even smoother. Crack the eggs and separate the yolks from the whites. Discard the whites (or save them to make meringue), toss the yolks into a large mixing bowl, sift in the confectioners sugar and whisk vigorously until the yolks becomes thick and pale in color (you want them to be a lemon-y shade of yellow). Slowly add the Marsala wine, whisking all the while, until the custard is light and fluffy. Spoon the ricotta into the sieve a second time, and, again using the back of a spoon, press it into the egg custard; then whisk vigorously for a moment or two, until well combined, and pour the cream into a plastic container or freezer-proof bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the freezer for 4 to 6 hours, until frozen.
Hull the strawberries and cut them in half. Toss them into a bowl, sprinkle with the caster sugar and drizzle with the balsamic vinegar, then squeeze in the juice of the lemon. Toss the strawberries in the juices and set them in the fridge to rest for an hour or so.
When you are ready to serve, scoop the ice cream into small bowls and top with strawberries and all their irresistible sweet juices.
Thank you so much, Skye!