Very Berry Cassis

A week or so ago, I was the recipient of a new professional ice cream maker. It was an extremely lovely present, but as I looked it over and read the manual panic began to set in. Don’t get me wrong, I really was ecstatic with this wonderful gift – grateful that my family knew exactly what I would love. But…now, I thought, they expect me to produce lots and lots of lovely ice creams, gelati, and sorbets! I had assumed I knew the basics, but the more I investigated, the more complex it became and the more questions I had.

I’m eyeing David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop, and have on order Ice Creams, Sorbets and Gelati: The Definitive Guide by Robin and Caroline Weir. I am hoping the latter will answer a lot of my questions. What exactly is the difference between gelato and ice cream? Are there always eggs in these desserts? How significant is dairy fat content and how do you prevent the resulting dessert from crystallising? Many of these queries will have to wait until the book gets pushed through the letter box.

Meanwhile, I’ve been experimenting and doing a little internet research…. I’ve learned several things. First, not all gelati are made with a base of egg custard. Gelato also has a lower fat content than ice cream and as a result has a more intense flavour. The major problem is that the high fat content makes the iced dessert creamy. Without that dairy fat (or its presence in low quantities) the liquid tends to crystallise. Sucrose – sugar – needs to be converted to an “invert” fructose-glucose mixture with high temperatures and an acidic catalyst, a similar process that happens when making jam. This also cuts down on the crystallisation. In addition, inclusion of liquors for flavour also serves to keep the iced dessert from freezing solid like an ice cube as alcohol does not freeze at normal temperatures achieved in home freezers. As you can tell, there is a lot of kitchen chemistry going on here!


Raspberry-Cassis Gelato
My first batch (seen in the picture above) was made with single (light) cream which resulted in a really intensely flavoured gelato, which (in texture) was a tad bit like a sorbet. That same intensity of flavour plus a creamier texture, but paler colour was achieved by using double (heavy) cream. The latter (obviously) upped the calories. I would say, it is your choice of what cream to use. Both were delicious!

  • 300ml raspberry puree made from mashed fresh or defrosted frozen raspberries
  • 60ml (2oz) Cassis
  • 200ml water
  • 100g sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 60ml honey (or substitute high-fructose corn syrup or glucose)
  • 300ml single (light) or double (heavy) cream

Purée and sieve mashed raspberries to remove the seeds. Mix with the Cassis and keep refrigerated while you make the sugar syrup, converting the sugar to an invert state.

To make the sugar syrup, heat the water, sugar and lemon juice in a large pot. Bring to a boil for about 10 minutes. It should reach the “Jam” stage on a candy thermometer, approximately 102 degrees C (234 degrees F). It should have reduced significantly and produced a thick syrup, the consistency of honey. Turn off the heat, add the honey immediately so it can be incorporated smoothly into the syrup. Cool the mixture completely.

Combine the berry mixture and the cooled syrup, stirring or whisking to get it smooth. Refrigerate this mixture for about 4 hours or overnight before adding the cold cream and putting it in your ice cream machine and processing according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Remove the churned gelato from the machine and put in a container in the freezer for several hours. Remove before serving to allow the gelato to get to the perfect texture for scooping.

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You may also want to have a look at Creamy Berry Gelato by fellow ice cream machine experimenter, Sandra (@Please Pass the Recipe).


  1. I recently got an ice cream maker too! It’s amazing. And I cannot recommend The Perfect Scoop enough! Every ice cream maker should come with a copy.


    • OK, I succumbed. I just ordered The Perfect Scoop. I’ve been looking at David Lebovitz’s ice cream/gelato/iced desserts section of his blog which keep referring back to his book. I agree… he’s very good and such wonderful flavour combinations he comes up with!

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  2. Ice cream pressure bearing down upon you! That was a gorgeous gift and a very smart gift, it gives something delicious to everyone! We started experimenting last summer with a smaller kids ice cream maker that my ten year old was given. It was at the end of summer and we didn’t get that far. Now he has dragged it out again. I look forward to learning anything you find out upon your ice cream adventure! That berry gelato looks delightful. 😁


  3. You already know more about making ice cream than I do and I’ve had my machine longer. That’s okay, I’ll go get the thermometer and you keep up the notes and the recipes.


  4. I make a very simple ‘ice cream’… just cream, fruit and sugar, but maybe I need to look into this ice cream chemistry thing a bit more. You’ve opened up a whole new area for me to read up on! I’m also considering leaving the computer on with your post in full view. Do you think someone in the family would take the hint re ice cream makers?… or at the very least the David Lebovitz book!


    • Well, it was one of those decade marking birthdays! But you can try hinting – worked for me. I had always wondered about that crystallisation process in freezing. I know that the churning process also helps to break up crystals as they are forming, so there are a lot of factors going on. Needless to say, I am not a chemist, so usually (as the saying goes) “fly by the seat of my pants”.


  5. WP comments is being very uncooperative, grrrrr! Third time lucky, hopefully. Nice birthday surprise! I’ll be revisiting the berry cassis combo, we loved it. I’ve just muddled along so far without a decent reference book, but I can see the need is imminent. I have coffee granita on the brain at the moment, I want to perfect that before the heat sets in. We love strong espresso


    • I’ve noticed that, too, about WP comments… Also, no editing features so mis-typed, mis-spelled, awkward wording goes when you hit that send button. Nevertheless, I think your ice cream experiments are brilliant. Coffee granita sounds divine – I say as I sit here drinking my first espresso of the day. I’ve been eyeing a lemon sorbet made with (of all things) ripe bananas – from a River Cafe cookbook. Given the amount of lemon used, the banana looks like it is just there for texture. Really loving this present!


  6. With the berry season upon us, time to drag out my ancient icecream maker that weighs more than a fridge. This looks lighter than an eggy version and just what I’m after for my loganberries.


    • They are heavy! Also big. In fact, I don’t have any space in the kitchen or pantry for it. At the moment it is sitting on the piano bench in the living room, coming into the kitchen when required. No doubt inspiration will strike and the perfect storage spot for it will come to mind. Meanwhile, loving my moment of gelato haze and not worrying about where to put the behemoth. And, if I hadn’t already used up my loganberries, I’d also be making loganberry gelato!


  7. Interesting science. I’d use David Lebowitz’s book. He really seems to be an expert. I want an ice cream maker!!! Your Gelato looks fab. Yum.


    • I really like David Lebovitz’ blog and he had some amazing ice cream/gelato recipes listed there. I’m having fun with my ice cream maker. So much easier than the old kind that needed to have the basin in the freezer for at least 24 hours before using. However, storage for such a large (and heavy!) piece of kitchen equipment is a problem.


  8. I want one! Dr Libby’s new book has some gorgeous Paleo ice-cream recipes I want to try- but they all require an ice-cream maker! Might have to invest in one so I can make that, as well as your delicious invention! It looks divine!


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