Archives for category: Ice-cream

And for afters, how about some ice cream? I began to worry, before I wrote this, that the number of ice cream recipes on this site was slightly disproportionate. But then I realised that it’s only disproportionate if you don’t like ice cream that much, in which case, I don’t understand. Besides, this deserves a place as it’s dead simple (no custard to make) and, obviously, it tastes nice. It also features one of my favourite liqueurs, Frangelico, which is a delicious hazelnut-flavoured booze. If you don’t have it, don’t feel that it will be a waste to buy a bottle just for making this. If you don’t end up drinking it, you can pour it over ice cream alongside coffee for a more alcoholic affogato, or you can add it to baked yoghurt, or buy Allegra McEvedy’s Colour Cookbook and make the ‘autumn a la mode’ on p224 (maybe not the most economical of solutions, but it’s a great book).

You won’t get quite as smooth a result as you would with a more complex ice cream, but that hardly matters as it will start to melt once you’ve drowned it in alcohol. Nightcap and pudding all in one.

Toasted hazelnut and maple syrup ice cream

I’m somewhat embarrassed to admit that I got this from a Woman & Home magazine. And I’m not even 30 yet! But they do produce a glossy quarterly publication called ‘Feel Good Food’ which I really like, even despite the cringey name. They claimed this serves 6, which is an outright lie.

Serves 4

100g hazelnuts
50ml maple syrup
150ml milk
150ml double cream
2 tbsp Frangelico, plus extra to serve

Toast the hazelnuts in a medium oven until golden (or dry fry them in a pan). Finely chop in a food processor or by hand until breadcrumb sized.

Mix all the ingredients together and churn in an ice cream machine until almost frozen, then transfer to a container and freeze until solid.

Serve with extra Frangelico.

I went to visit my parents last week – well, actually, I went to visit the cutest new puppy in the world, Teazel – and came back with a huge carrier bag of blackcurrants (and some over-enthusiastic dog inflicted chew marks, but I forgive her). I remember being struck by a blackcurrant leaf sorbet I came across at Ballymaloe, which made me realise that the leaf itself is almost an echo of the scent of the fruit;  it smells of crouching to collect the berries with a plastic container and the sun on your back, verdant and winey. If the leaf sorbet tastes of the promise of future harvest, with a bag of ripe currants I wanted a sorbet that would capture the taste of late summer bounty. I wanted to distil pure blackcurrant essence into a sorbet. And, not to blow my own trumpet, but I succeeded. This thing is so heady with flavour it’s difficult to eat very much of it – a bit like drinking neat Ribena, but less sweet and with a more beautiful colour. Blackcurrants rival beetroot for the most lovely of food hues, I think (and the most messy stains left in the kitchen).

So most of the credit for this actually belongs to Roger Verge, whose recipe for raspberry sorbet I used as my guideline. The fruit isn’t cooked, so it tastes fresher, as if it’s just been picked. Enough sugar is added to enhance the taste without messing about with it – I increased the amount only slightly from the raspberry recipe, so it’s not too sweet (but neither is it sour enough to make your mouth pucker). The perfect sophisticated finish to a summery meal.

Blackcurrant sorbet

Serves 10-12

1kg blackcurrants
juice of 2 lemons
300g caster sugar, or to taste

First, I highly recommend putting on an apron. There will be purple juice everywhere. Next, puree the blackcurrants in a blender – don’t worry about topping and tailing them as the next stage will remove any debris. Press the puree through a sieve, getting as much as possible out. This will involve some quite hard work with a wooden spoon.

Add the sugar and lemon juice and whisk to dissolve. Taste to check the sugar levels – remember it will taste less sweet when frozen, so you want it to be a tiny bit sweeter than you’d ideally like.

Churn the sorbet in an ice-cream machine until fairly firm – I found it didn’t freeze as much as ice-cream, but the final texture was still good. Decant into a tub and freeze until solid. It doesn’t seem to need long out of the freezer before becoming scoopable, which is a bonus – as is the fact that, because of the robustness of the flavour, it should last longer than a normal sorbet without the taste dulling.

Adapted from Roger Verge’s ‘Cuisine of the Sun’ via Ballymaloe

DAMN this is good. I know I wrote about chocolate ice cream not so long ago, and that was good too, but this is a different creature altogether. Stomach-groaningly rich, like the purest, creamiest frozen chocolate truffle. It has luxury written all over it in metaphorical gold plated lettering. You may struggle to eat even a moderate sized bowlful (but you will probably succeed). Well, Fergus Henderson does rather throw down the gauntlet by claiming that this is ‘the perfect chocolate ice cream’. Luckily, you will agree, because you will be far too full for picking up anything, gauntlets or otherwise.

And now the bad news: it takes a week to make. Wait! Doesn’t delayed gratification make things taste even better? Perhaps this depends on whether you’re the sort of person who likes to give themself kitchen projects. I first read about this incredible sounding, calendar-requiring ice cream on Seven Spoons and was committed to the idea straight away (from which you can infer that I am). Shortly afterwards, fate delivered ‘Beyond Nose To Tail’ into my hands via my local Oxfam. It’s a great book, full of wise instructions such as ‘be firm, but fair with salads’. I skipped through the pig’s head and trotter sections, because I’m a faint-hearted girl, and straight to puddings (including the sub-division ‘steadying puddings’) and baking and ice cream. Oh joy! There it was. It’s not actually time consuming to make, but you must mobilise will power and leave it in your freezer for a few days before eating it. It makes a difference: on the fourth day, to rescue a disappointing dinner of pizza overly charred on the barbecue, it tasted even better, the caramel notes issuing forth more confidently. We finished it there and then. Time to buy some more chocolate and hope the weather holds out for next week.

St John’s chocolate ice cream

Makes about 1 litre

200g dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa solids. I used the relatively cheap yet nice Isis Luxury Belgian brand, available at Waitrose (course)
6 egg yolks
115g caster sugar
500ml full-fat milk
50ml double cream
40g cocoa powder

for the caramel:
70g caster sugar
75ml water

Break the chocolate into squares and melt in a bowl over a pan of hot water (or in a microwave, if you have one).

Beat the egg yolks and caster sugar until pale and thick, enough to trace a figure of 8 on the surface. This will take around 5 minutes with an electric beater/whisk.

Bring the milk, cream and cocoa powder to the boil slowly in a large pan, whisking to disperse lumps and prevent the cocoa powder sticking on the bottom of the pan. Pour this over the egg yolk mixture, whisking to mix evenly, then put it all back in the saucepan and scrape in the melted chocolate. The recipe now says to cook over a low heat for a further 8 minutes, but mine was already very thick so I left it on the heat for much less time, a couple of minutes perhaps. It should coat the spoon thickly, but obviously you want to avoid the eggs scrambling. When you’re happy with the custard, remove it from the heat.

Make the caramel by bringing the sugar and water to the boil. Keep the heat low at first, stirring the sugar to dissolve it, then raise the heat and don’t stir until the mixture is thick and chestnust brown. Quickly pour the caramel into the ice-cream base, whisking vigorously.

Pour everything through a sieve into a plastic container and cool it down in an ice-bath. When cool, leave in the fridge for 2 days before churning in an ice-cream machine. After churning and freezing, leave for 3-4 days before eating.

From ‘Beyond Nose to Tail’ by Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly

This is taken from the book ‘Street Food Revolution’, which I highly recommend – lots of interesting stories about people passionate about their own little corner of the food universe, facing adversity and coming out the other side with some truly tested recipes. And then being so good as to pass them on. The chapter which most captivated me was the story of Kitty Travers and La Grotta Ices; because how could you not fall in love with the idea of raspberry and fig leaf granita, or lemon granita for breakfast with biscotti? What I actually got the ice-cream machine out for, though, was this chocolate pudding ice-cream, intrigued by the concept of an egg-free ice-cream thickened with cornflour. She says it’s ‘cheaper, lighter for the digestion…and it doesn’t inhibit the flavours of the other ingredients like egg can’. And, I might add, you’re not stuck with a load of egg whites to use up.

I’m not sure I can wholly agree with the claim that it’s ‘ridiculously simple’ – there are definitely easier ice-creams out there – but it’s not difficult, and it’s worth following the instructions properly because the end result is the silkiest, smoothest ice-cream you’ve ever tasted. It’s surprisingly rich for something that’s actually pretty low in fat, but in a delicate, non-sickly way. In other words, go and make this. You won’t regret it.

Chocolate pudding ice-cream

Serves 4-5

450ml whole milk
15g cornflour
50g good quality cocoa powder
75g golden granulated or caster sugar
pinch of salt

Mix 100ml of the milk with the cornflour to a smooth paste.

Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan over a medium heat. Mix the cocoa powder, sugar and salt in a bowl large enough to hold all of the milk. When the milk reaches a simmering point, pour it over the cocoa mixture, whisking as you do so to take care of any lumps.

Return the mixture to the pan on the hob and cook over a low heat, barely at a simmer, for 6 minutes. Stir frequently to prevent it catching.

Add the cornflour mixture and whisk again. Simmer for a further 2 minutes until quite a bit thicker.

Strain the mixture into a clean container and cool in an ice-water bath, stirring regularly to prevent a skin from forming. When cool, refrigerate for at least 4 hours (this gives the ice-cream better body and texture).

Churn in an ice-cream machine and freeze.

Kitty suggests serving this with ‘cashew nuts and a pinch of lightly toasted Ancho chilli seeds ground up with sea salt, or with sweetened whipped cream and grated dark chocolate’, both of which sound delightful, if you get past eating it on its own, which we didn’t.

From ‘Street Food Revolution’, by Richard Johnson

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.