I actually went Christmas shopping, with kids, on the weekend. Fortunately the residents of inner Sydney are late risers, and we were there before it got to the point where you have to strip yourself naked and cover yourself with chicken grease to squeeze through the crowds. We were successful in our purchases and were heading gratefully to the car when we passed a homewares shop. It contained ice cream moulds, something I’d been meaning to add to my collection of kitchen gadgets ever since I first made sorbet weeks and weeks ago. I avoided the ones shaped like adorable bugs and went for the ones in eight packs, mainly because they use disposable sticks. My memory of homemade iceblocks, apart from them not being very interesting due to consisting of home brand lemonade, is tarnished by the thought of the plastic sticks covered in the teeth marks of multiple mouths.
So far I have made Strawberry and Watermelon and Apple Cinnamon iceblocks. Truth be told, all you really need to do is whiz the fruit up in a blender, stick it the moulds and Bob is your uncle, or in my case, great uncle. But when do I ever pass up a chance to get fancy?
For the Strawberry and Watermelon, I blended up a punnet of strawberries, an equivalent volume of watermelon, the juice of a quarter of a lemon, eighty grams each of icing sugar and condensed milk. It made eight iceblocks. A tip that you may wish to take on board is that it’s a little trying getting them out of the mould. The instructions suggest a gentle squeeze of the plastic is all that’s necessary, but that’s absurdly optimistic. More like thirty seconds dunked in hot water. So what I’ve done is to wait until they’re frozen, unmould them, stick them in a ziplock bag and back in the freezer. Then it’s easy for the kids to get at and the moulds are free for your next batch. Here’s what the Strawberry and Watermelon pops looked like
They were utterly delicious and surprisingly creamy. They also melt quite fast, which makes me wonder what commercial iceblocks must have in them. Fortunately the volume is small, so none of it was wasted dripping down arms. I even went to the trouble of working out a cost per unit, just for kicks. Two dollars for the strawberries, about sixty cents for the watermelon, sixty cents of condensed milk and let’s say forty cents for a quarter of a lemon and the icing sugar. That’s forty five cents each for ingredients.
I will do some water ones based on my syrup recipes, but first I wanted to try a flavour that it only just occurs to me is vastly underrepresented in ice cream flavours. Apple. Why is banana icecream so prevalent, but not apple? I blame the Fabian society, the darlings of conspiracy theorists. Take four green apples, peel and quarter them and chop out the seeds. Place them in a small saucepan with a third of a cup of brown sugar. Cook, covered, over low heat for about ten minutes, stirring occasionally, until apples soften. Tip them into the blender. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and eighty grams of condensed milk. Blend. I was rather annoyed that this only made seven iceblocks, I shall use larger apples next time. It also occurs to me that if I had some plain biscuits or shortbread I was trying to get rid of, I could break it up and mix it into the blended fruit and the result would be apple pie flavour. I have a feeling the kids won’t like this one, they’re not that fond of cooked apple. Of course this means more for me. I won’t know until after dinner, they take a bit over four hours to freeze. This is what the set looks like