The Swan

Gooseberry Sundae with Sweet Cicely Ice Cream

by The Swan Recipes 10 Jul 19

The Swan at Southrop

This is a lovely play on a classic Sundae, with a hint of eton mess and gooseberry fool thrown in.  There are a lot of processes but each is very simple and can be made ahead. Be a little instincitve about the amounts you use, it will depend on the shape of your glasses and which ingredients you like the best! Have some fun with it.  Make the ice cream the day before you are planning to serve your Sundae, we use local ‘pasture promise’ milk for reasons of sustainability but you'll find the flavour really is better too  Sweet Cicely has a delicate aniseed flavour with a natural compound present in its leaves that is sweeter than sucrose. A cottage garden perennial that was traditionally grown near the kitchen door, where its prettily divided fern-like leaves were at hand for sweetening tart fruit such as rhubarb and gooseberries.  If you don't have it growing in your garden, then the fronds of fennel, or indeed a fennel bulb thinly sliced, will create a similarly delicate ice cream and if you don't have an ice cream maker then buy a really good tub of vanilla and you won't be disappointed.

Serves 4 


For the ice cream:
500 ml double cream
150 ml pasture promise whole milk
80 g Sweet Cicely leaves
150 g caster sugar
4 egg yolks

For the meringue:
4 egg whites
280 g caster sugar
pinch salt

For the compote:
375 g gooseberries, topped & tailed
115 g sugar
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped

For the chantilly cream:
250 g double cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract 


For the ice cream:
  1. Pour the cream and milk into a deep saucepan and add the sweet cicely or fennel fronds, before brining almost to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to steep overnight.
  3. The next morning, strain through a sieve.
  4. Beat the sugar and egg yolks until thick, pale and creamy.
  5. Warm the herb-steeped cream in a pan and carefully add the egg & sugar mixture.
  6. Slowly heat, stirring until the custard is thick enough to lightly coat the back of a spoon. 
  7. Leave to cool before pouring into an ice-cream maker and churning until almost firm.

For the meringue:

  1. Line a baking tray with parchment.
  2. Put the egg whites into a clean dry bowl, and add the salt.
  3. Using an electric whisk, beat the egg whites slowly at first until they break down and begin to froth a little.  Then increase the speed and beat until stiff peaks form.
  4. Slowly add the sugar and continue to beat until stiff and glossy.
  5. Place dessert spoons of meringue onto the baking sheet.
  6. Place into pre-heated oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 120°C for approximately 1 hour.
  7. Leave to cool.

For the compote:

  1. Mix the scraped vanilla seeds through the caster sugar to distribute evenly.
  2. In a large pan bring the gooseberries and sugar to boil and simmer for 10 minutes until the gooseberries are almost ready to burst.
  3. Set aside 4 good tablespoons for your dessert and seal what is left in sterilised jars.
  4. The compote will keep for three months in the fridge.

For the chantilly cream:

  1. Whisk the ingredients together until light and fluffy, be careful not to over-whisk or you will end up with butter.
Build your Sundae:
  1. Take a glass and layer your ingredients.
  2. Ice cream, chantilly cream, meringues & top with gooseberry compote.
  3. Serve immediately.