Strawberry Jelly, Ice Cream and Shortbread
Strawberry Jelly, Ice Cream and Shortbread

Strawberry Jelly, Ice Cream and Shortbread

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    Serves 8
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I love simple puddings, and jelly with ice cream is one of my favourites. This recipe is dedicated to my late father, Harlan. He loved jelly with ice cream. On Sunday afternoons during the summer after he had had his afternoon nap, he would make jelly from a packet, add sliced bananas, then place it in the fridge to set while he went off and watered the garden. On his return, he would help himself to a large portion of wobbly jelly and ice cream. The sheer joy on his face as he cleaned it all up is a wonderful picture imprinted in my memory for life.

I have tried having a bit of fun with this recipe along the way. Ideally, I like to make my own fruit jelly, and as we are in the middle of the strawberry season, it’s best to use fresh over-ripe strawberries. Don’t let anything go to waste and use the cooked strawberries to make a delicious strawberry ice cream. As I am a gadget queen, the cream whipper has made its appearance once again and it brings a bit of fun to the table!

The shortbread fingers are delicious too; the recipe makes quite a few, but this isn’t a worry as I am very sure they will not go to waste. Enjoy the leftovers with a cup of tea.

photo of Strawberry Jelly, Ice Cream and Shortbread

Ingredients & Method

For the strawberry jelly

  • 500g over-ripe and bruised strawberries
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50ml water
  • 3 leaves of gelatine, bloomed (softened in cold water, then squeezed gently to remove excess water)

For the shortbread fingers

  • 250g unsalted butter, softened
  • 110g caster sugar, plus 1 tablespoon
  • 360g plain flour

For the strawberry purée

  • 1kg cooked strawberry pieces (leftover from the jelly above – add fresh very ripe hulled strawberries to make up the weight)
  • 70g caster sugar

For the strawberry ice cream

  • 250ml strawberry purée (from the strawberry purée recipe above)
  • 150ml double cream
  • 75ml milk
  • 70g caster sugar

For the strawberry foam (espuma)

  • 250ml strawberry purée (from the strawberry purée recipe above)
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 1 leaf of gelatine, bloomed (softened in cold water, then squeezed gently to remove excess water)

To serve and decorate

  • 400g fresh (hulled) strawberries for serving, cut into quarters
  • fresh herb leaves (coriander cress or fresh thyme leaves are nice)

For the strawberry jelly, rinse and hull the strawberries, then cut into quarters. Place the strawberries with the icing sugar and water in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water (do not let the bowl touch the water underneath). Stir to mix, then cover the bowl with cling film. Let the strawberries cook gently for 30 minutes, then remove from the heat. Transfer the cooked strawberry mixture to a fine nylon sieve (or a jelly bag or piece of muslin cloth) set over a clean bowl and let it drip slowly overnight in the fridge (do not press it through though as this will make the juice cloudy).

The next day, measure 400ml of the strawberry juice (make it up to 400ml with a splash of cold water, if necessary; or any leftover can be served as a drink with ice and sparkling water) into a small pan (reserve the whole strawberry pieces for the strawberry purée and keep them chilled), then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, then add the bloomed gelatine and stir until dissolved. Pour the jelly into 8 serving bowls, dividing it evenly, and leave to cool, then transfer to the fridge to set.

In the meantime, for the shortbread fingers, cream the butter and 110g sugar together in a bowl, then add the flour, lightly mixing it all together. Transfer the mixture to a piece of cling film, shape it into a rectangular block (about 6cm wide and 3cm high), then wrap and chill in the fridge for 2 hours (see Cook’s Notes).

Preheat the oven to 160°C/Gas Mark 3. Line 2 baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Cut the chilled shortbread dough into 2–3 mm-thick slices, then place them on the lined baking trays. Bake in the oven for 8–10 minutes or until starting to turn a nutty colour. Remove from the oven and immediately sprinkle over the remaining 1 tablespoon caster sugar, then leave to cool slightly before carefully transferring the shortbread fingers to a wire rack to cool completely (be careful as they are fragile). Once cool, store in an airtight container (any leftover shortbread fingers will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry cupboard for up to 5 days).

For the strawberry purée, blend the strawberries in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pass the purée through a fine sieve, discard any pulp left in the sieve and then chill the purée in the fridge until needed.

For the strawberry ice cream, in a large container, whisk together the measured strawberry purée, the cream, milk and sugar until combined. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours. Pour the cold mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen, following the manufacturer’s instructions for your particular model (see Cook’s Notes). Transfer the ice cream to a freezer proof container and freeze until needed.

For the strawberry foam (also known as espuma), put the measured strawberry purée (see Cook’s Notes) and sugar in a pan over a medium heat and stir to dissolve the sugar, then bring the mixture to a simmer for 1 minute. Remove from the heat, add the bloomed gelatine and stir until dissolved. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and then pour it into a cream whipper. Secure the lid, charge with 2 gas pellets, shake vigorously, then leave to rest in the fridge for about 1 hour before serving.

To serve, arrange the quartered strawberries on the set jellies, then place a scoop of strawberry ice cream alongside. To serve the strawberry foam, shake the cream whipper vigorously and squirt some foam alongside the ice cream. Place a shortbread finger on top, decorate with fresh herb leaves and serve immediately.

Cook’s Notes

The wrapped unbaked shortbread dough will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. It can also be frozen for up to 3 months. If frozen, when required, simply defrost the dough in the fridge overnight, then slice and bake as directed above.

If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, pour the chilled mixture into a shallow, freezer proof container, cover with a lid and freeze until firm, whisking the mixture 3 or 4 times during freezing (every hour or so) to break down the ice crystals and ensure an even-textured result. Keep the ice cream frozen until needed. Allow the ice cream to soften slightly at room temperature or in the fridge before serving.

Store any leftover strawberry purée in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Serve with ice cream, or with natural yogurt and fruit for breakfast.