A tangy and refreshing ice dessert with crisp shortbread thins and delicate elderflower cream
This crunchy, tangy ice, made with gooseberry—my favourite summer fruit—is incredibly refreshing and surprisingly easy to make. Served with a subtly floral cream and crisp little biscuits, it makes a very elegant summer dessert.
150g caster sugar
500g gooseberries, topped and tailed
150ml whipping cream
1-2 tbsp elderflower cordial
4 small mint leaves
For the shortbread thins:
55g butter, at room temperature
25g caster sugar
A good pinch of salt
65g plain flour
20g fine polenta
Put the sugar and fruit in a pan and add just enough water to cover. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer until tender and bursting.
Pour the gooseberries and water into a sieve set over a heatproof bowl, really pressing down to get as much through the sieve as possible.
Stir well to give an even consistency and taste—it should be intensely sour and sweet. If you think it needs any more sugar, or lemon juice, add it now (bear in mind the flavours will be less strong once frozen).
Pour into a shallow dish and freeze. After about an hour, start checking on it—as soon as it starts to solidify around the edges stir with a fork, mixing the solid ice into liquid. Repeat about every 30 mins until you have a light cloud of crystals.
Meanwhile, make the biscuits. Put the butter into a large mixing bowl, and beat with a wooden spoon until soft. Mix in the sugar and salt.
Sift over the flour and polenta and mix to a smooth dough. Wrap and chill for at least 15 mins until firm.
Heat the oven to 180C and line a baking sheet with paper. Roll out the dough to just over 5mm thick, cut out four rounds and put on the baking sheet. Bake for about 12-15 mins until golden, then allow to cool.
Whip the cream to soft peaks, then whisk in the cordial to taste. Serve the granita in glasses with a dollop of elderflower cream, a mint leaf and a round of shortbread.
WASTE NOT The gooseberry solids left in the sieve are delicious stirred through yoghurt, so don’t throw them away!
Recipe: Felicity Cloake
Images: John Holdship