TONY STAPLES: A cool dessert for strawberry season

Make the most of the British strawberry season with this simple but delicious ice cream, says Tony Staples, executive head chef, of the Arora Hotel in Crawley.

Friday, 1st July 2016, 10:04 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:07 pm
Homemade strawberry coulis ice cream

Even if you can’t manage a full-blown dessert with all the toppings after dinner, most people can find room for some ice cream. We all have our favourite flavours but homemade is always the best.

I pick more strawberries than I can eat when I take my family to the local PYO farm, so I’m now turning my gluts into strawberry ice-cream.

To make the best homemade ice cream, it’s worth delving into the back of the kitchen cupboard and dusting off the ice cream maker – or buying one. Otherwise, you will need to keep stirring the ice-cream every 5-10 minutes once it is placed in the freezer. The texture will be grainier than if it had been made in an ice-cream maker, but either will beat shop-bought hands down every time.

The Grill at the Arora Hotel is Crawley’s only AA-rosette restaurant. To book, phone 01293 530000. Follow us on Twitter @AroraHotels. Like us on Facebook or visit

Homemade strawberry coulis ice cream

Makes 1½ to 2 litres

8 eggs

440ml double cream

150ml whole milk

Seeds from two vanilla pods

56g of caster sugar

For the strawberry coulis:

500g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped

150g caster sugar

Zest of 2 limes

Juice of one lime


Put the fresh strawberries, 150g caster sugar, lime zest and juice into a saucepan and heat slowly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

Whisk the sugar and eggs in a bowl until the mixture thickens.

Put the cream, milk and vanilla seeds in a saucepan and bring to the boil until the liquid begins to rise up.

Pour a little of the boiling liquid onto the sugar and egg mix while continuing to whisk. Then gradually whisk in the rest.

Pour through a sieve back into the saucepan and heat for a few seconds until it just starts to thicken, stirring all the time.

Have a bowl sitting in ice and pour in the hot mixture – the cool bowl will stop the cooking process.

Stir in the cooled strawberry coulis. If you have an ice cream maker, then pour the mixture in and churn until it becomes ice cream, then freeze.

If you don’t have an ice cream maker, then put the chilled mixture into the freezer and stir it every 10 minutes for about three hours as it freezes.

To serve: remove from the freezer and allow about 10 minutes before scooping into bowls or brandy snap baskets. And decorate with fresh strawberries.

Chef’s tip

If you want a burst of chewy fruit in your ice cream, stir in a handful of semi-dried strawberries.

To make, cut the berries in half and place cut side up on a baking tray. Bake for 3 hours in a cool oven set at around 90oC. Leave to cool before using.

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