Ice age: Why frozen fruit is this summer’s favourite ingredient

July 14, 2017, 12:34 pm

When the weather is hot, try to keep your cool. Salads, berry breakfasts and fruit desserts are proven staples in the summer months. But this year London is taking things down a few degrees: now restaurants across the capital are freezing fruit to create ice-cold dishes and frost-effect puddings.

“People find frozen fruit a refreshing and healthy start to the day, especially in summer,” says Samira Kazan, whose frosty strawberry smoothie bowls, iced fruit kebabs and frozen berry cheesecakes have gained worldwide attention on her blog Alpha Foodie.

Kazan says she was inspired by produce at London’s food markets, which encouraged her to think about how the flavours would combine. It took a bit of experimentation to see which mixtures worked (“don’t try mixing strawberry and avocado”) but her ice-cold recipes have now gained her nearly half a million followers on Instagram. Kazan says her top smoothie so far is the “Purple Love”, which combines frozen raw cauliflower with frozen blueberries, almond milk, almond butter, maple syrup, ground cardamom and spinach. It’s decorated with frozen blackberries, blueberries and chia seed balls.

The benefit of using frozen fruit in smoothies, she explains, is that you don’t need to add ice, so they don’t get watered down. Freezing the berries retains their nutrients and stops the rotting process in its tracks. Plus, it looks pretty, she says, with the berries giving her bowls a “cool frosty effect” (they develop frost a few minutes after coming out of the freezer). Aesthetics are important, says Kazan. Purple Love has more than 18,000 likes on Instagram.

There’s a frozen mixed berry dessert at The Ivy, with a comforting warm chocolate sauce, and also Yotam Ottolenghi’s take on it. The Ivy’s recipe for Scandinavian iced berries with white chocolate sauce was leaked to him when he was the pastry chef at Kensington Place. He was only allowed “an irritatingly short glimpse of it” so he invented his own.

He advises using a mix of berries, either fresh or frozen if it’s easier, and make sure you have enough redcurrants and blackcurrants for sharpness, to balance the sweetness of the white chocolate. He shares the recipe in his book Plenty More so you can try it out.

The Hemsley sisters, who run a café at London’s Selfridges, also use frozen berries for their desserts, adding iced fruit on top of their avocado cheesecake. So too has ethical grocer Farmdrop, which includes frozen summer fruits in its citrus polenta cake and yoghurt bark. Freezing brings out flavour and gives bite to your summer.

Via Evening Standard