September 13, 2008

"Indian Ice Cream"

There are still a few soapberries on the soapberry bushes around Whitehorse. I may have to go pick a handful of them to make some "Indian Ice Cream".

This bitter and sweet First Nations classic treat is simple to make, though it does require a bit of manual labour if you don't have an electric mixer handy.

I've been lucky enough to try a few variations of this dessert, including one from an award-winning soapberry maker.  Here's the recipe, so that you can try it, too.  I've included a few optional variations to the recipe, so you can tailor this delicious treat according to your tastebuds' desires:
"Indian Ice Cream"
1. Collect some soapberries.

Freshly-picked soapberries. WAY more than we need!

2. Clean and dry the berries.

3. Cook the berries in a pot for 30 min to 3 hrs (different people have different cooking times and I'm not sure what the longer cooking time contributes to the end product).  Do not add water and make sure the pot is free of oil. You'll need about a 1/2 cup of cooked berries to make a 4-person serving. Preserve the rest.

4. When the berries have cooled, put approx. 1/2 a cup of berries into an oil-free mixing bowl and whip with a whisk, hand mixer or electric mixer. The berries should start to get foamy, like a meringue.

5. If you like your soap berries to be bitter and the mixture to be nice and foamy, continue to step six.  If you want your mixture to be less bitter (and not quite as foamy), add a little little water and continue to mix.  I prefer the diluted mixture.

6.  Add sugar to taste.  

7.  Add some vanilla extract to taste (optional).

8. Whip the mixture until it's as foamy as it'll get.

Wayne Carlick licks the beaters while his fiancee whips up another batch of soapberries.

7. Enjoy!1
Huddled around the bowl, waiting for the next batch.

1But don't enjoy too much of it or you'll be making frequent trips to the washroom.

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