No-churn cape gooseberry ice cream

Our time in South Africa is almost at an end, and as usual I feel rather blue at the prospect of catching a flight back to a very wintry London. We met a charming Roman yesterday who relocated his entire family from Italy to make and sell delicious artisanal gelato in the Cape. He couldn’t quite understand why we had left paradise for greener pastures. They recently opened their first shop in Stanford, a sleepy little town near Walker Bay in the south. It happens to be where my grandmother farmed ostrich and sheep until she was deep into her eighties, so it holds a special place in my heart.

Now a popular weekend destination, the town also boasts some excellent restaurants, most notably Mariana’s, where we have had many a fabulous lunch on the vine-covered terrace. Our most recent meal ended with a trio of berry ice creams. They were all lush and delicious, but it was the Cape Gooseberry ice cream that impressed me most. Here is my very modest attempt at recreating it. It is a no-churn version, which means it is very easy to make, but also rather rich.

DSC_3026 (34 of 3) DSC_3009 (22 of 3) DSC_3041 (45 of 3) Cape Gooseberry Ice Cream

Cape gooseberries, also called strawberry tomatoes, golden (goose)berries, or Chinese lanterns, and “apple sweethearts” in Afrikaans, are filled with tiny seeds and have a natural tart flavour.

Serves 6 – 8


300g de-husked cape gooseberries, roughly chopped

80 – 100g unrefined brown sugar

500ml (2 cups) heavy cream (48-50% fat content), preferably pastured and unpasteurised

freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste


  1. In a small saucepan, gently heat the berries with the sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the berries have softened, stirring occasionally.
  2. Turn up the heat and simmer the berries for a couple of minutes before using a stick blender (or blender) to puree.
  3. Add enough lemon juice to give you a very tangy mixture, then set aside or stir over an ice bath until completely cool.
  4. Use a whisk to incorporate the cooled berry mix into the cream. Whip until it thickens and holds soft peaks, then spoon into a shallow container, cover and freeze until firm (about 5 hours).
  5. Serve in wafer cones or with crisp thin biscuits. If the ice cream is too firm to scoop, leave it at room temperature for 15 minutes or so and try again.

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