Friday, 16 December 2011

16.12. Ice cream heaven!

We have had a lot of rain lately, and I have not been out in the garden for a good few days. Sitting down tonight to write a post I decided to share a recipe with you instead of writing about my garden for a change, as I really haven’t got any big news to come with in regards to my garden, it is after all December and I live in London! My recipe tonight is for homemade ice cream. I thought I would share the recipe with you, as this is not an ordinary ice cream. You don’t need an ice cream maker, and it doesn’t need to be stirred whilst freezing. You just make it and bung it in the freezer and forget about it until you want to eat it. Easy as that!

This recipe makes around 5 litre ice cream, depending on size of eggs and how well your mixer whisks. Use large eggs if you can. The recipe uses fresh whipping cream and raw eggs; the ingredients are not cooked so make sure you use pasteurised cream and eggs stamped with the lion stamp - which here in Europe means that the chickens that laid the eggs were vaccinated against salmonella so that the eggs are safe to use raw. Use whipping cream and not double cream, as double cream is too heavy to whip for ice cream. For readers in the UK; in Asda, whipping cream is the cream with the green lid. You can make whipping cream yourself if you can’t get hold of it, by mixing single and double cream with a ratio of approx 1 part single and 2 part double cream. Whipping cream has around 40% fat if you are not from the UK and need to compare it to what you get in your own country.

About the sugar…I know you usually get sugar measured in grams in recipes, but in this one you don’t have to drag your scales out! It looks like an awful lot of sugar, but I have already pinched the amount a bit to reduce the calories slightly, so don’t reduce it any more or else the egg mixture won’t get thick enough. Again, if you live somewhere else than the UK and wonder what castor sugar is: it is a finer sugar than granulated sugar, which makes it very useful in dishes that are not cooked, as the sugar will dissolve quite quickly whilst mixing. For US readers; you can substitute with superfine sugar or Baker's sugar. You can make castor sugar by putting granulated sugar in the food processor and blend for a few minutes. Leave to stand for a few minutes afterwards, as the blending will create a cloud of powdered sugar which you most certainly don’t want to let out into your kitchen! Or, use ordinary granulated sugar and keep mixing the egg whites and sugar until you can’t feel the sugar grains when tasting the egg mixture or feeling it between your fingers.

If this recipe seems too big to try out, just half all the ingredients, but this ice cream is so good, you probably will have to make another batch soon anyway!

Ice cream base:

900 ml whipping cream
12 egg whites
pinch of salt
12 egg yolks
400 ml castor sugar

Whip the cream with an electric hand mixer or a stand mixer, don’t use a food processor, hand-blender or a smoothie maker, they don’t put enough air into the cream. When the cream is stiff enough to form soft peaks, put the bowl in the fridge for now.

Separate the eggs, whip the egg whites stiff with a pinch of salt. When the egg whites are stiff enough for the bowl to be turned around, pour the sugar in, everything in one go, and continue whipping for another 3-4 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved. Then add the egg yolks and mix for a further 20 seconds.

Carefully fold the cream into the egg mixture, 1/3 at the time, using a large metal spoon. If you don’t have a large enough bowl, divide egg mixture and cream into two bowls to combine.

This ice cream base is very sweet, and you need to add a flavour. Fold the flavouring carefully in and pour the mixture into suitable plastic boxes. Do not overfill, leave about 1 cm gap. Freeze immediately and for at least 8 hours. Do NOT stir the ice cream whilst freezing. When serving, take the ice cream out 5-10 min before serving and leave to stand without the lid. Do not thaw in the microwave. This ice cream is quite soft straight from the freezer but taste better if thawed a bit before scooping.

Flavourings:

You can add just about anything to this ice cream, but because it is quite sweet, a very sweet flavouring would not be suitable. Readymade jam for example would therefore usually be too sweet, but if you make your own jam you can decide how much sugar to add when making the jam.

My son’s favourite: dark chocolate. Use good quality chocolate, 2-300 grams for this portion, and use a food processor to chop the chocolate to a mix of small pieces and almost powder. You can also grate the chocolate if you don’t have a food processor.

Another chocolate type: 200 grams of Dime chocolate, use the food processor to get small enough pieces. Leave a bit of the powder to scatter on top.

My favourite: pecan nuts soaked in Port wine over-night, chop in a food processor or use a sharp knife to finely chop, and mix with chopped dark chocolate before folding into the ice cream. Use a few spoons of the wine if you only make for adults, mix it with the nuts and chocolate before folding in, but use only a few spoons or else it will be too wet and sink to the bottom in one big lump.

Another favourite for Christmas: readymade cranberry jam, fold in carefully. Using a jam which is naturally quite sharp works really well with this sweet ice cream. As a nice touch, try to make ripples of some of the cranberry jam, by only partially mixing it. Don’t leave too big streaks or lumps of the jam, as fruit will take longer to thaw than the ice cream.

A fruity variety: raspberries, some whole and some crushed, carefully folded into the ice cream. The raspberries do not need any sugar as the ice cream is sweet enough. This ice cream is wonderful with grated chocolate mixed in too!

A very adult version: walnuts, raisins and prunes soaked in brandy over-night. Chop in food processor or use a sharp knife to finely chop. Use a few spoons of the brandy if any still left, mix with the fruit and nuts and fold carefully into the ice cream. You can also add dark chocolate to this mix.

A children’s version: ‘love hearts’ crushed or chopped in a food processor mixed with grated chocolate. Fold carefully into the ice cream. Serve with chocolate sauce from a bottle.

Another children’s version: baby marshmallows and crushed meringues carefully folded into the ice cream. Warning! This version is seriously sweet, but I love it! I serve it with a raspberry sauce made of crushed raspberries with just a pinch of sugar. Guess I have a sweet tooth…but you just got to try this one :-)

Yet another chocolate:
orange flavoured dark chocolate, chopped in a food processor, mix with finely grated peel of one orange. Serve with orange dessert sauce which you can buy in a bottle.

A lemony version: Buy lemon curd in a jar, mix with lemon juice to make a runny paste and fold carefully into the ice cream mixture. How much depends on how lemony you want the taste, try with some and mix in some more if it doesn’t taste enough. Leave some lemon curd to make streaks and swirls after you have poured the ice cream into each box. Serve with a drizzle of lemon curd mixed with some lemon juice. White chocolate and lemon curd is very good together!

Last chocolate flavour? Dark chocolate and unsalted pistachio nuts, finely chopped in a food processor, carefully folded in and served with crushed raspberry sauce. Yummm!

If you want to make several different flavours, just divide your ice cream base into several bowls before adding the flavours and freeze in separate plastic boxes. Add flavouring to taste to match the portions of your ice cream base.

Over the years I have tried so many different flavourings, I can’t possibly write them all here. But you got a few to start with at least and after all these you can just make up your own, from what you like. Just make sure not to make the flavouring too wet, or else the ice cream gets too heavy and all the air goes out, or the flavouring sinks to the bottom and you won’t see it until the box is almost empty.

Good luck, and please let me know how you got on if you tried my recipe. I would love to hear which flavour you liked best, or if you have a flavour of your own you like. Take care, see you next time :-)

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing Helene. This looks like it's worth trying. I like the idea that you can just shove it in the freezer and forget it. No stirring involved! I was given some lemon curd not long age so I might try your lemony version just for something different.

    Do people really try to thaw ice-cream in the microwave? Lol, I suppose there's always one!!

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  2. You're welcome, Bernie, I love the lemon version too, 1 jar of lemon curd will probably be just enough for half of this batch so that means you can try one of the other flavours too! I have just made my ice cream for this Christmas, double portion of this recipe, 24 eggs and 1.8 litres of cream! It took me only about an hour from start to finish, so not bad for that amount of ice cream, and compared to what quality ice cream cost, this is cheap dessert! Most of the ice cream I made today will end up at my son’s house, he and his friends love it too :-)

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  3. Have to try this...sounds lovely and so easy!

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