Website technical difficulties
See all stories
27 May 2020

Mairi Sawyer’s ice cream

Mairi main ice cream
Food blogger Claire Jessiman makes a deliciously simple summer treat, without using an ice cream maker.

It’s been a year since I began re-creating dishes from Mairi Sawyer’s recipe collection in the Inverewe archives. So far, we’ve had chocolate cake, raspberry jam, game pie and oatcakes. Now, just in time for summer, and with the aid of a ‘modern gas refrigerator’, we can all scream for ice cream.

Although Mairi’s recipe was very brief, it was actually the easiest so far to interpret for a contemporary cook, with no unusual ingredients (the vanilla essence and the sprinkles are my additions). Only the ‘gill’ measurement required a wee bit of research and updating – it’s a unit of volume equal to a quarter of a pint, or 142ml.

The gill is really only used these days in relation to alcohol. Before metric units were brought in, the standard single measure of spirits in a pub was 1/6 gill in England, and a slightly more generous 1/5 gill in Scotland.


  • Whites of 2 eggs
  • 1 gill of double cream (142ml)
  • 2 tbsp sieved icing sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Sprinkles!


1. Beat the egg whites with an electric whisk until they form stiff peaks.

2. In a separate bowl, beat the cream until it forms soft peaks. Stir the sugar through it.

3. Thoroughly (but gently) fold the egg whites and vanilla extract into the sweetened cream, being careful not to lose the volume you have created.

4. Spoon the mixture into a shallow freezer-proof dish and place in the freezer for at least one hour.

5. Dust with sprinkles and enjoy!

A scoop of vanilla ice cream covered in colourful sprinkles in a small bowl, with two small wooden spoons.
Mairi’s recipe is quick and easy to make – and delicious!

Read more about Claire’s culinary adventures at