• Summer’s favourite treat just got a grown-up makeover and it’s delicious!

    Recipe and styling by Nomvuselelo Mncube

    Photograph by Dylan Swart

    Zesty lemon and pistachio popsicles with gin Italian meringue

    By Nomvuselelo Mncube Serves: 12
    Total Time: 2 hrs + overnight, to freeze



    • 500ml (2 cups) full-cream milk
    • 375ml (1½ cups) fresh cream
    • 250g castor sugar
    • 4 egg yolks
    • 1 tbsp vanilla paste
    • 50g pistachio nuts, chopped

    • 1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest + extra lemon rind, to garnish
    • 125ml (½ cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 60g castor sugar
    • 5 egg yolks
    • 100g butter, chilled and diced

    • 220g castor sugar
    • 200ml tonic water
    • 2 tbsp gin
    • 4 egg whites
    • ice cubes, to serve



    For the ice-cream base, heat the milk and fresh cream in a medium saucepan placed over medium-high heat until scalding (but not boiling).


    While the mixture is heating up, use a hand-held/stand beater to whisk the 250g castor sugar and 4 egg yolks together until light and fluffy. Pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, beating continuously until combined. Return the mixture to the still-warm saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring continuously using a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon, about 10 minutes.


    Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve, fold in the vanilla paste, then set aside to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large freezer-proof container and freeze until almost frozen, about 2 hours. Remove from freezer and whisk using a hand-held beater until smooth, then return to the freezer until completely set, about 1 hour.


    While the ice-cream base is freezing, make the lemon curd. Place the lemon zest and juice, 60g castor sugar and 5 egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl and whisk together until well combined. Add the butter a few cubes at a time, beating well between each addition. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the surface of the water. Cook, stirring often, until the curd thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside until completely cooled.


    Add the lemon curd to the ice cream base and, using a hand-held beater, whisk until smooth. Fold in the chopped pistachio nuts, then divide the mixture among 12 popsicle moulds of 125ml capacity. Cover the moulds with foil, poking a hole through each one to insert a wooden lolly stick in the centre – the foil will help to keep the stick in place. Place in the freezer to set, about 3 hours or overnight.


    For the Italian meringue, line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside until needed. Place the 220g castor sugar, tonic water and gin in a medium saucepan placed over medium heat, stirring continuously until the castor sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, continue to boil until the mixture reaches a syrupy consistency, about 15 minutes.


    Meanwhile, beat the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer until stiff peaks form. The bowl must be scrupulously clean or the egg whites won’t reach full volume. With the mixer running, carefully pour the hot syrup in a thin steady stream down the inside of the bowl. Whisk until the meringue is thick and glossy.


    Remove the ice-cream popsicles from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving or briefly dip the moulds in hot water to easily remove the pops. Arrange the popsicles on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the Italian meringue among the pops, placing dollops of the meringue on the tip of each popsicle. Smooth the tops using a spatula. Use a blowtorch to brûlée each dollop of the meringue until charred.


    To serve, place the popsicles on a large serving platter covered in ice cubes. Garnish with the lemon rind. Enjoy immediately.

    Imka Webb

    Imka Webb is a freelance digital marketing expert and the digital editor of Food & Home Entertaining magazine.  www.imkawebb.com