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This is unquestionably my favourite ice cream. Tahitian vanilla is excruciatingly expensive but worth every penny. The taste is more marshmallow-like, virginal and rounded than that of Madagascan vanilla, which tastes positively medicinal alongside. Mara des Bois strawberries, at their best, have a floral violet aftertaste and a sweetness beyond most other varieties.

Posted by Bloomsbury Published See Bloomsbury's 41 projects » © 2024 Ollie Dabbous / Bloomsbury · Reproduced with permission. · Extract taken from Dabbous, published by Bloomsbury, £50.00, Hardback Photography © Joakim Blockstrom
  • Step 1

    Tahitian vanilla ice cream

    1. Put the milk and cream in a pan and heat to 84°C.
    2. Add all the powders, plus the sugar and glucose, and combine with a hand blender to dissolve.
    3. Add the vanilla pod and seeds, remove from the heat and transfer to a container.
    4. Cover with cling film and leave to cool.
    5. Leave to mature in the fridge overnight. 
    6. The next day, remove the vanilla pod and blend the mixture with a hand blender to emulsify.
    7. Pass through a fine sieve.
    8. Churn in an ice-cream machine, then transfer to a chilled container and store in the freezer.

  • Step 2

    Strawberry juice

    1. Purée the strawberries in a blender until smooth.
    2. Pass the purée through a fine sieve.
    3. Bring the water and sugar to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the lemongrass and vanilla.
    4. Cover with a lid and leave to cool.
    5. Add the strawberry purée and lemon juice and chill overnight.
    6. Pass through a fine sieve and store on ice for 30 minutes before serving.

  • Step 3

    To assemble

    1. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and beat it to soften it a little. 
    2. Season the strawberries with icing sugar and lemon juice, then leave for 2 minutes to macerate.
    3. Divide between 8 glass dishes, top with the basil leaves and spoon over a little of the strawberry juice.
    4. Place the ice cream in a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe on top. 
    5. Top with the strawberries with stems on.
    6. Serve with a jug of strawberry juice alongside.

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