QH Recipe of the Week

 Mara des Bois Strawberries; Tahitian Vanilla Ice Cream 
Courtesy of Ollie Dabbous

10 April 2015


This is unquestionably my favourite ice cream. Tahitian vanilla is excruciatingly expensive but worth every penny. The taste is more marshmallow-like, virginal and rounded than that of Madagascan vanilla, which tastes positively medicinal alongside. Mara des Bois strawberries, at their best, have a floral violet aftertaste and a sweetness beyond most other varieties.


Tahitian vanilla ice cream


1 litre milk 300ml whipping cream

100g dextrose 30g milk powder

4g ice-cream stabiliser

1g xanthan gum

100g caster sugar

100g liquid glucose

1 Tahitian vanilla pod, slit open lengthwise, seeds scraped out


1. Put the milk and cream in a pan and heat to 84°C. 2. Add all the powders, plus the sugar and glucose, and combine with a hand blender to dissolve. 3. Add the vanilla pod and seeds, remove from the heat and transfer to a container. 4. Cover with cling film and leave to cool. 5. Leave to mature in the fridge overnight. 6. The next day, remove the vanilla pod and blend the mixture with a hand blender to emulsify. 7. Pass through a fine sieve. 8. Churn in an ice-cream machine, then transfer to a chilled container and store in the freezer.


Strawberry juice


500g strawberries

250ml water

50g caster sugar

1 lemongrass stick, bruised and chopped

½ vanilla pod, slit open lengthwise

30ml lemon juice


1. Purée the strawberries in a blender until smooth. 2. Pass the purée through a fine sieve. 3. Bring the water and sugar to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the lemongrass and vanilla. 4. Cover with a lid and leave to cool. 5. Add the strawberry purée and lemon juice and chill overnight. 6. Pass through a fine sieve and store on ice for 30 minutes before serving.


To assemble


32 Mara des Bois strawberries, cut in half, plus 8 small strawberries, stem on, to decorate

icing sugar

lemon juice

24 basil leaves 


1. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and beat it to soften it a little. 2. Season the strawberries with icing sugar and lemon juice, then leave for 2 minutes to macerate. 3. Divide between 8 glass dishes, top with the basil leaves and spoon over a little of the strawberry juice. 4. Place the ice cream in a piping bag with a star-shaped nozzle and pipe on top. 5. Top with the strawberries with stems on. 6. Serve with a jug of strawberry juice alongside.


Ollie has a new restaurant Barnyard now open at 18 Charlotte Street, London W1. Dabbous: The Cookbook (£50; Bloomsbury) is out now.