The Local Recipes

How to make this scrumptious Swedish bilberry ice cream

How to make this scrumptious Swedish bilberry ice cream
Yes, please. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food
Since 17 percent of Sweden is said to be covered in bilberries, food writer John Duxbury shares an ice cream recipe to help us eat them all.

If you ask most Swedes what blåbär means in English they will normally tell you it means blueberries. Which it does, literally, but the Swedish word actually refers to bilberries, a smaller and juicier version which grows wild across Sweden.


Makes: 8 portions

Level: very easy

Preparation: 30 minutes (plus freezing time)


200g (1 cup) fresh or frozen bilberries

60g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar

1 tbsp lemon juice

Ice cream base

1 large egg

90g (8/8 cup) sugar, preferably raw cane sugar

1 tsp vanilla sugar, optional

240ml (1 cup) whipping cream (35 to 40% fat)

120ml (1/2 cup) milk


1. Mix the bilberries, caster sugar and lemon juice together in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate for two hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

2. After two hours, prepare the ice cream base by whisking the egg in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy, about two minutes.

3. Whisk in the sugars, a little at a time, then continue whisking for another minute until well blended.

4. Pour in the cream and milk and whisk to blend.

5. Drain the juice from the bilberries, add to the ice cream base and stir until thoroughly mixed.

6. Mash the bilberries until puréed and stir into the ice cream base.

7. Pour into an ice cream maker with the paddle running and freeze following the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to a tub and keep until required.

Without an ice cream maker

If you don't have an ice cream maker, continue whipping after stage five for another three minutes, then mix the puréed bilberries and transfer to an ice cream container. Cover the surface of the ice cream with cling film (food wrap) and freeze. Remove the mixture from the freezer every half hour. Fork over the mixture thoroughly and return to the freezer. Repeat this step until the mixture is thoroughly frozen, which will normally take about three hours.


– Don’t use cultivated blueberries for this recipe as they don’t have enough flavour and the colour will not be as good.

– If you are using frozen bilberries, defrost them for a couple of hours in the fridge first, but don’t defrost them completely.

– This ice cream is soft enough to serve straight from the freezer, but for best results move the tub to a fridge about 15 minutes before required.

– Bilberry ice cream goes really well with mandelflarn (almond tuiles), which are easy to make.

This recipe is published courtesy of John Duxbury, founder and editor of Swedish Food.