At our the Backdoor Kitchen we are already getting ready for Spring. And Spring calls for Gelato, obviously. I wanted to create some new flavour combinations so I looked into some old powerful matches I could play around with. Follow me: the strawberry and pistachio venture is an evergreen on all tables, the marriage between strawberry and basil was known to the Romans and the dangerous liason between basil and prawn has been going on for quite a while.
But would they work all together? Yes, if you invite sugar to the party!
To make a starter for two you will need:
– An ice-cream maker. It helps a lot but it’s not essential. You can check David Lebovitz’s method to make ice-cream without an ice-cream maker here: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2007/07/making-ice-crea-1/
It is time consuming but it does work.
– 250 ml of double cream
– 125 ml of fresh whole cow’s milk
– 75 g of sugar
– 15 g of Basil leaves
– 3 egg yolks
– 4 strawberries
– 6 pistachio nuts
– 4 fresh prawns
– 1 tbl spoon of icing sugar
– 1/4 of a lemon
– 1/2 glass of water
– 1 tea spoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– Pinch of salt
If you have an ice-cream maker, put the ice-cream bowl in the freezer 24 hours before use.
Beat in a bowl 5 egg yolks.
Put the basil and the sugar in a blender. Blend for 1-2 minutes and then add half of the cream and blend again. When the basil is very finely cut (2 mins) pour half of the mix in a bowl with the rest of the cream (leave on a side) and the other half in a small pot with the milk and a pinch of salt.
Heat the milk and cream mixture for about two minutes or until warm (not boiling hot or your basil will happily cook through and smell like a disaster!) . Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and add the egg yolks. Stir vigorously in order to avoid the eggs to cook in the process and create lumps. Transfer this mixture into a pot on a medium heat for about 3 mins. Keep on stirring or it will stick to the bottom of your pot and burn.
Pour the cream and basil mixture you left on a side previously into your warm mixture with the help of a sieve. When transferring the hot cream, press hard the basil leaves that get stuck in the sieve. They will release good looking green creamy drops. This will give the an extra chromatic depth to the colour of your gelato!
Our gelato base will have now to sit in the freezer for about 15 minutes to allow chilling.
This will give you time to clean up your mess 😀
After 15 mins you can take the gelato base out of the freezer. Check if completely chilled. If not it won’t work in the ice-cream maker which it’s not fun since you have been working so hard. Activate your ice cream maker first and then pour in the mixture. It’ll take your gelato about 40 to 45 mins to be ready which gives you enough time for all the other preps.
Cut roughly the strawberry and put them in a non-stick pot with the icing sugar. Turn on the heat. When they start tearing apart (3mins) add the juice of 1/4 lemon, the water. Let it boil and keep on stirring until just a little flesh is left (5 mins). Pass the sauce through a sieve. Incorporate the olive oil to the sauce and leave it cool on a side. The texture of you strawberry coulis must be smooth but not runny, You want it sligthly sirupy so it can retain better all its characteristics and stick to your pawn and gelato whenever you dig in the plate.
The olive oil, lemon juice and icing sugar menage a trois is essential to the recipe so don’t forget any of them along the way. Otherwise the thin balance among the ingredients will be completely messed up!
Peel the prawn, leaving the head and the tail on. Remove the intestine on the back of the prawn.
Boil the pistachio nuts in water for about two minutes. Peel them.
When the gelato has reached the right texture (smooth and creamy), it is ready to be served. Put the ice-cream in a bowl and let it sit in the freezer for the time you are plating your starters.
In the meantime char-grill or pan sear the prawns on pre-heated surface. It’ll take you less than two minutes. Add just a little salt. The quality of the prawns and the taste of the sea will do the rest.
Put a little strawberry sauce on the plate, a few pistachio nuts and a little ball of gelato to compliment your prawns. The combination of flavours will be outstanding: the saltiness, the acidity, the freshness, the creaminess of the gelato and the sea flavour from the prawn will all combine together in a mouthful of joy.
If your loved one is coming over for dinner, open a nice cold Prosecco and you are ready to go!