by Sam Bilton on July 19, 2018 1 comment

Agnes Bertha Marshall is widely recognised as one of the first pioneers of modern ice cream making. This recipe is from her Book of Ices first published in 1885 and recently re-released by Grub Street Publishing (at a bargain price of £5.99). Cucumber may sound like an odd ingredient for a sweet ice cream but it is a fruit and makes a deliciously refreshing summer ice. Cucumber is also a classic ingredient in a glass of Pimm’s which itself makes a beautiful marinade for strawberries.

You can discover more about Mrs Marshall and the history and science behind ice cream at a new exhibition in London courtesy of the British Museum of Food. Scoop: A Wonderful Ice Cream World is curated by Bompas & Parr. The exhibition is open from 3rd July to 30th September and includes an opportunity to try some of Agnes’ favourite recipes.

Ingredients for Ice Cream (makes around 1 litre)

  • ½ cucumber
  • 50g caster sugar
  • Zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 225ml water
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • 300ml double cream
  • 50g icing sugar
  • A few drops of green food colouring (optional)


  1. Quarter the cucumber lengthways then remove the seeds (Marshall instructs her readers to peel the cucumber in her original recipe no doubt because cucumber skin could be bitter in the 19th century, something which is far less of a problem with modern varieties).
  2. Coarsely grate the cucumber then place in a saucepan with the caster sugar, lemon zest and water. Bring to the boil then simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the cucumber is very tender. Use a stick blender or food processor to purée the cucumber then pass the mixture through a fine sieve. Refrigerate the mixture once it is cool enough.
  3. Just before you churn the ice cream, mix the lemon juice, brandy and ground ginger into the cucumber liquid.
    Whisk the double cream and icing sugar until it is firm but not stiff then add the cucumber mixture, beating as you go. At this stage the mixture will be a greenish white. To intensify the colour (if desired) beat in a few drops of green food colouring.
  4. Churn in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturers instructions. Transfer to a plastic container then freeze until required. As with all homemade ice creams this benefits from being taken out of the freezer a good 10 minutes before you plan to serve it.

Ingredients for the Pimms Macerated Strawberries

Serves 4

  • 400g fresh strawberries
  • 4 tbsp Pimms
  • 4 tsp icing sugar
  • 3-4 small sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped (about 3-4 tsp)


  1. Wash and hull the strawberries then halve or quarter the fruit depending on it’s size.
  2. Dissolve the icing sugar in the Pimms. Pour over the strawberries then add the chopped mint and stir to mix. Leave to infuse for 1-2 hours before serving, ideally at room temperature.

Ingredients for Strawberry Tuiles

Makes 12-14

  • 2 tsp strawberry pieces
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 80g plain flour
  • 1 large egg white
  • A few drops of red food colouring (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180℃.
  2. Put the freeze dried strawberry pieces into a spice grinder then grind to a fine powder.
  3. Cream the butter and the sugar until pale then beat in the flour and strawberry powder.
  4. Whisk the egg white until stiff then fold into the mixture. Add a few drops of red food colouring to intensify the hue.
  5. Line a large baking sheet with silicone paper then place heaped teaspoons of the mixture on the sheet spread well apart. It’s best to cook these biscuits in batches so start with four to six. Using a palette knife or the back of the teaspoon spread the mixture thinly but evenly into a circle measuring roughly 8cm in diameter.
    Place the tray in the oven for 5-8 minutes. The tuiles are done when the edges of the circle are starting to brown but the biscuit itself should still be pink. Have a 7cm round cookie cutter and a rolling pin ready. As soon as the tuiles are ready, take them out of the oven then use the cookie cutter to cut a clean circle from the tuile. Use a clean palette knife to remove them from the baking sheet and drape them over the rolling pin. As they cool they will harden.
  6. Repeat this process until all the mixture has been used up.

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1 comment

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  • Mary Ellen Hentschel - July 15, 2019 reply

    Hi Sam Looking forward to making your recipe for Cucumber ice cream as we just bought an ice cream maker! Looks intriguing! We would have loved to come to the September dinner but we are away for most of September on holiday. See you again soon I hope!

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