Here in France the strawberry season starts off early with the arrival of a small, slightly oblong little strawberry called gariguette. One might expect a rather sharp, watery, bland little fruit but actually gariguettes are renowned for their sweet and well rather strawberry-like flavour – sadly so many strawberries you buy today, because we demand year round availability, share very few similarities to the fruit I remember with such fondness from British summers past. From then on as the weeks pass, more and more strawberries of different shapes, sizes, and flavours appear in the markets and without doubt it is a joy to behold.
This year, with it’s unseasonably dry and warm spring, strawberries abound in the markets, so it was the perfect excuse to get cooking. To be totally honest I prefer my strawberries as nude and natural as the day they were born, plucked from my fingertips straight into the mouth, but I wanted to preserve their flavour for later in the summer when they will become nothing but a distant memory (until next year anyway). With a fridge also packed full of yogurt it seemed only right to join them together in a richly intense strawberry yogurt ice cream. Wow, that was definitely one of the best food decisions I have made this year – it is sooooo delicious – rather typically the weather has turned and it feels more like January than mid May today, but hey ho, who needs sunshine and warmth to enjoy a little ice cream!
Strawberry yogurt ice cream
1 kg strawberries, hulled
300g caster sugar
2 tbsp strawberry liqueur or cassis
1 tbsp lemon juice
500g Greek yogurt
Combine the strawberries, sugar, strawberry liqueur or cassis and lemon juice together in a large bowl and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour, stirring occasionally, until syrupy.
Transfer to a blender with the yogurt and puree until really smooth. Cover and chill for 2 hours. Transfer the mixture either to an ice cream machine and freeze according to the instructions or to the freezer.
If using a freezer stir the ice cream every 2-3 hours, as it starts to crystallize until the mixture is creamy. Leave until frozen. Remove from the freezer about 15 minutes before serving and scoop into bowls.
And then, just because life would be a little less satisfying without, it was meringues, strawberries and of course cream…………..