A few weeks ago I harvested a large number of cucumbers from the greenhouse.
I was thinking about what I could use them for, aside from salads and pickles, when it suddenly occurred to me that the crisp, clean flavour would lend itself well to an ice cream.
My thinking was inspired by a grapefruit and basil ice cream I’d made earlier in the year – it was clean, sharp and fragrant and the flavour seemed enhanced once frozen.
I’ve been meaning to give cucumber ice cream a go ever since and this weekend it became a reality.
The recipe was a bit of an experiment, I was very conscious of the need to control the sweetness so it didn’t overpower the taste of the fruit. I used honey together with sugar to naturally sweeten the mixture and only used the flesh of the fruit.
When the ice cream was fully frozen I couldn’t wait to try it – I thought it would either be a roaring success or a complete disaster. I’m happy to say that all worked out well.
The resulting ice cream was crisp and fresh in flavour and the taste of cucumber was well balanced with the sweetness of the honey and cream.
Last night we had the ice cream as a dessert after a fiery chilli con carne. It was a gorgeous palette cleanser and a wonderfully sweet treat to end the meal on.
If you have a glut of cucumbers and fancy giving the ice cream a go, here is my recipe. The type of honey you use will vary the taste of ice cream marginally depending on its flavour and intensity.
(And if you have a fig tree full of unripened small green fruit try this recipe for preserved green figs)
Cucumber ice cream
- 160 g cucumber peeled, deseeded and diced (weight is after peeling and deseeding)
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 80 g caster sugar
- 60 g runny honey
- 240 ml double cream
- 240 ml whole milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Generous pinch freshly grated nutmeg optional
Peel and deseed the cucumber and chop finely. Place in a blender with the lemon juice and purée until very smooth.
Beat the eggs, sugar and honey until foamy and light. Mix in the puréed cucumber, cream, milk and vanilla.
Strain through a sieve and whisk in the nutmeg.
Freeze in ice-cream maker. If making by hand place the mixture in an air-tight container and freeze for an hour and then mix in a food processor. Freeze for another two hours and mix again, do this one more time after another two hours and place back in freezer.