WHAT MATTERS // elspeth

In a lot of ways, this is a difficult time of year. How strange is it that we live on a peninsula where no one visits for ten months of the year and everyone visits for the other two? It is hard to properly understand what this kind of life is like unless you live it. The best analogy I can think of is attempting to get through exam week while everyone you know stops in for a drink. Everything here comes at once: the busy time at work, guest rooms overflowing with visitors, the weather for beach days and picnics and gardens, the chance to make enough money to make it through a long, slow winter. It takes a certain kind of person to be okay with this kind of pace; to fit everything most people fit into a year into eight or ten or twelve incredibly, mind-bendingly busy weeks. 

And yet, I wouldn't trade it. Not for anything. We're in it now, fully. The breakfast dishes are sitting in the sink, the house needs to be vacuumed, and I have a mountain of paperwork I ought to stay up well past bedtime doing. But these are all things that need doing year round, constantly. They can wait. Because the sun is also out, it's 87 degrees, and the garden is overflowing with black raspberries. We can only make black raspberry ice cream once a year, and this is the week. 

The recipe I use is the same now—year after year—the one from my friend Andrea in Falmouth. It is simple, easy, sweet. And I still think the same thing every time I try it—I never realized, until I ate a black raspberry, that the purple color and distinctive flavor of black raspberry ice cream come from a real fruit. I always assumed it was like blue raspberry Jolly Ranchers—made up, fake. There's nothing like these berries. 

Black raspberries are hard to find at farmers' markets, even harder to find in stores. But if you can get your hands on some—from a neighbor's yard, from your own, from a farm—make this ice cream, and make it now. There are so many things to fit into a day. There are so many to-dos and deadlines and needs. But this, to me, is what matters, and what makes it all worthwhile.


Andrea's original recipe called for 1 and 1/2 cups sugar. I cut it down to 1 cup, and she said since typing it up she has too. It has the same distinctive color and flavor of the black raspberry ice cream you get in stores but is so much better for being simple and fresh.

1 pint black raspberries
scant 1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 eggs
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

Mix the black raspberries, half of the sugar, and the lemon juice in a bowl. Put the mixture in the fridge and stir every half hour or so for about 2 hours. Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk for about two minutes, then add the remaining sugar and whisk it in. Pour in the cream, milk, and any juice from the black raspberry mixture. Pour this mixture into the ice cream maker, and add the remaining black raspberries near the end of the freezing time. Chill for several hours before serving.

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