After literally years of begging, I finally got an ice-cream machine for Christmas. The arguments against, running for the aforementioned dismal ice-cream machine-less years: we have a very small kitchen, and it’s already overfull of infrequently used equipment. Being able to access pints of ice-cream within minutes at all times cannot be a good idea, medically speaking. The novelty will quickly wear off and it will end up like the juicer, in the graveyard cupboard of tired-of gadgetry.

Well, having been in possession of the Magimix Le Glacier 1.5 for over a month now, I can refute those arguments thus: 1) most of it lives neatly in the freezer, with the actual plug in bit taking up a relatively small amount of space in a cupboard. Plus, the bowl doubles as a handy ice-bucket! 2) Friends! Friends will come round and eat ice-cream. 3) I have already been through my extensive cookbook collection and made a list of every single ice-cream flavour I hope to make. The list currently stands at 50+ flavours. Does this sound like the action of a person for whom the novelty is wearing off?*

Number one on my list was a flavour that we thought we’d invented, and were busily patting ourselves on the back for our genius when I discovered a recipe for it in Snowflakes & Schnapps by Jane Lawson, a beautiful if somewhat over produced book I’d never quite got round to using. It’s so good that I instantly gave up any thought of making up my own, although I do think there’s room for improvement in the form of additional chunks of actual gingerbread/ginger cake. Incidentally, some friends came over a few days after I made it and brought chocolate mousse. The chocolate mousse and leftover gingerbread ice-cream came together in the hands of fate and lo, it was good.

Gingerbread ice-cream

Makes about 1.5 litres

375ml whole milk
500ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground allspice (I left this out as I had none)
a small pinch ground cloves
8 egg yolks
1 1/2 tbsp molasses (I used blackstrap)
95g soft brown sugar

Put the milk, cream, vanilla and spices in a saucepan and bring just to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Take off the heat, cover, and set aside for 15 minutes. Strain through a sieve into a bowl.

Whisk the egg yolks, molasses and brown sugar together, then gradually whisk in the milk mixture (or the other way round, if you only have one large mixing bowl and used it for the first bit). Pour the lot into a clean saucepan and cook over a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, or until it thickens to spoon-coating consistency. Cool slightly, then refrigerate until cold and churn in ice-cream machine.

From ‘Snowflakes and Schnapps’ by Jane Lawson

*I reserve the right to tire of the ice-cream machine and start buying in Ben & Jerry’s at any point subsequent to this post.

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