Not everyone has the time, or the inclination, to spend hours making dessert. Churning your own ice-cream is admirable, but doesn't always fit into a busy schedule. But this doesn't mean you can't impress at the end of a meal.
Vanilla and blackberry caramel ripple ice-cream
This is simple to make and dresses up store-bought ice-cream in a really fresh and flavoursome way. It's ideal for a casual barbecue or party. Serve it in paper cups or frozen tall glasses with fresh berries and long spoons.
300g frozen blackberries (you can use mixed berries)
1L high-quality vanilla ice-cream
200g castor sugar
2 tbsp water
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Fresh berries to serve (optional)
Icing sugar (optional)
1. Take the berries from the freezer and empty into a food processor. Remove the ice-cream from the freezer to soften.
2. Put castor sugar in a small saucepan, add the water and stir. Place over high heat and cook to a medium-coloured caramel without stirring. Watch carefully, as it can burn quickly.
3. Start to blend the berries while slowly pouring the caramel through the feed tube of the food processor. Blitz until smooth. Add the lemon juice and pulse. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing with the back of a spoon to get all the liquid.
4. Empty ice-cream into a shallow container. Make random holes in the ice-cream to take the berry mixture - you will need enough holes to take about 300 millilitres of liquid. Pour berry mixture into the holes. Flatten out the top and place in the freezer, uncovered, until solid.
5. Scoop across the tray to get the ripple effect and serve with fresh berries dusted with icing sugar.
Drink Young Rutherglen muscat, chilled
Tip Fresh berries and icing sugar are a great final touch to this simple spin on an old favourite.
Banana and coconut 'ice-cream' sandwich with chocolate and toasted coconut
This is more creamy ice than ice-cream; it doesn't have the silky texture of a classic churned custard, but the bananas add real richness and texture. Get the kids involved in the sandwiching and dunking. And remember: chocolate-covered fingers are the easiest to clean.
About 600g very ripe banana flesh (5-7 bananas, skin turning black)
500ml coconut cream
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
150g soft brown sugar
400g dark chocolate callets (buttons)
20 rectangular ice-cream wafers
30g toasted coconut chips (shaved)
1. In a food processor add bananas, coconut cream, lemon juice and sugar and blend until smooth.
2. Pour mixture into a rectangular container, about 10 centimetres by 30 centimetres, lined with cling film. Choose a container that best matches the shape of your wafers. Freeze for six hours or overnight.
3. Before assembling, melt chocolate in a small bowl over simmering water. Remove from heat when fully melted.
4. Cut set ice-cream into 10 slices and sandwich together between wafers.
5. Dip one end of the sandwich into the melted chocolate, then into toasted coconut and lie sandwich on a lined tray. Put back in the freezer for five minutes to set the chocolate. Serve.
Coconut and lime icy pole with spiced syrup and pineapple
This is an adult dessert caught up in a childhood memory. The spice syrup has fairly sophisticated flavours and the super-fine pineapple dice with slivers of lime leaf adds refined freshness, but there's no avoiding that it's on a stick. It works best with a flat-sided icy-pole mould; a wooden stick ups the nostalgia.
300g castor sugar
500ml coconut cream
Juice of 3-4 large limes (100ml)
8cm piece of young ginger, sliced
1 lemongrass stalk, chopped
10 allspice berries
300g Dulce sugar (you can also use soft brown sugar)
6 lime leaves
1 small pineapple
1. For the ice, add the sugar and water to a small saucepan, bring to a simmer then take off the heat and leave to cool.
2. In a mixing jug, combine the coconut cream, lime juice and the cooled sugar syrup and pour into icy-pole moulds. Freeze for six hours or overnight.
3. Syrup: crush the ginger, lemongrass, allspice and cloves in a mortar and pestle.
4. Tip crushed spices into a small saucepan, along with the sugar and water, stir and slowly bring to a simmer. Bring to the boil then immediately turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
5. Strain through a fine sieve, pressing with a ladle or the back of a spoon to extract as much syrup as possible. Cool.
6. To serve: shred lime leaves as finely as possible. Peel and finely dice pineapple. Mix together. Unmould icy poles onto plates and spoon lime leaf and pineapple over and drizzle with spice syrup.
Serves About 8
Drink Champagne; Passiona (more nostalgia)
Tip Cling wrap filled icy-pole moulds and push sticks through wrap to help hold in place.
Styling by Caroline Velik. Plates from Mud, spoon from Ex Libris.
All photos by Marina Oliphant.