I guess I’ll always love Elizabeth David’s cookbooks. Her Summer Cooking has this recipe for apricot ice cream – so simple and delicious, I’m kicking myself for apricot seasons past that I didn’t make it. And it doesn’t have much sugar, so you must reject any fruit that’s green or seems sour – cut a piece off to taste if necessary.
Unlike other ice creams I’ve made by hand, this was soft enough to serve right out of the freezer. I went to the trouble of forcing the cooked apricots through a sieve, just to fall in line with Ms. David’s directions. Although, who knows. Maybe Ms. David would have become scornful, if blending gives the same results with almost no work. The lady had a famously sharp tongue.
Ms. David wrote for her times, when, for example, heating the flour briefly before baking made sense for the British housewife in the chilly kitchens of the 1950s and 60s. Catch me heating flour in my Middle Eastern kitchen. But this business of sieving the apricots, it caught my imagination. Not, let me hasten to add, that I don’t appreciate modern appliances . Just, once in a while, I’m willing to do a little extra, to feel in touch with the past.
The purée that resulted from sieving was as smooth as baby food. Would my stick blender have done that? Well, I thought as I pushed apricot mass through the wire net and scraped it off the other side, Elizabeth David wouldn’t have imagined me thinking of her in Israel, in 2012. But sometimes, and especially when cooking something entirely delicious like this ice cream, I do.