Category Archives: Ice cream

Milk shake mix-ins

This is a great way to use up scrappy bits of ice cream ‘n’ bits you may have, or just to amuse yourself for five minutes in the kitchen – it’s permissible to buy ice cream just to make these, too.

I got the idea from an ice cream shop in Aldeburgh called The IceCreamery – which is well worth a visit if you are in the area. Here you select your ice cream ‘base’ – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry etc., then add a ‘mix in’. And here’s where it gets fun, and slightly diabetic-inducingly crazy.

The mix-ins can be M&Ms, Jaffa Cakes, Oreos and a million other alternatives, and these get added/crushed into your ice cream to give you a custom-made ice cream.

Or you can have it made into a milk shake.

My eldest chose vanilla and Oreos and my youngest chose chocolate and M&Ms. I watched, in awe/horror as about four scoops of ice cream were put into a mixer and then – in the case of the M&Ms – a WHOLE PACKET of M&Ms were put in. I would never, in a million years, let my youngest (who is tiny) eat a whole packet of M&Ms in one go, let alone with four scoops of ice cream.

But I had to metaphorically shut my eyes and switch off my inner mummy-OMG-ness and just go with it.

The milk shake was amazing, I hesitate to say the best ever as of course the best ever milk shakes were those my dad made for me in his cafe, when I was a child. But aside from that:

BEST EVER.

The vanilla and Oreos was particularly memory-hogging.

So when I got home I sought to recreate these but using less ice cream and less mix-ins and the way I make them isn’t more calorie-laden than a regular ice cream in a cone, I put two scant ice cream scoops in my Nutribullet, with some milk and some mix-ins (like one cookie if it’s an Oreo, maybe one and a half) and blend the whole thing together.  So far we’ve done:

Strawberry ice cream with fresh mint

Strawberry ice cream with Milky Way Magic stars

Chocolate and fresh mint

Coffee ice cream with Oreos

Vanilla and Oreos

Vanilla and Milky Way Magic stars

Vanilla and jam ‘doughnut’ sponge crumbs (these were left over from some Nigella jam doughnut muffins which my eldest made which stuck to the tin and I scraped out and froze and I add them straight into the mix and it works beautifully).

Chocolate and peanut butter……you get the idea.

Of course I had to buy the special cups and lids and straws.

26 July 2016 update: I made raspberry cheesecake milkshakes today: vanilla ice cream, frozen jam doughnut sponge crumbs, fresh raspberries, milk and a dollop cream cheese. DELICIOUS. I didn’t have one (just tasted it) otherwise I’d be the size of a house come the weekend with all the milk-shaking we have going on..

 

 

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Blackberry ripple ice cream (no ice cream maker necessary)

This is a super easy ice cream, but with the luxury of a ripple running through it that makes the most of all the free blackberries available at this time of year. The blackberries used in this were picked by my dad in Wimbledon, SW London.

Sorry for lack of measurements with regard to the blackberries. Next time I make it I will be more precise. It does show, however, that you can play a bit fast and loose with it. You can easily adapt this to use other berries, raspberries is an obvious one. Raspberry ripple was my favourite when I was a child, it seemed so luxe.

Anyway, here’s how to do it:

For the ice cream:

A 397g can of condensed milk

450-500ml of double cream. I use an organic cream that comes in 227ml, and I use two pots, but it doesn’t matter if you add a bit more or a bit less.

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

For the ripple

A big bowl of blackberries, probably 500g for this. Don’t sweat it though if you have less as you can still make a great ripple ice cream just with less ripple.

Some caster sugar – to taste. I used about 60g. Don’t make it too sweet and best to add too little, taste and then add a bit more if necessary than t’other way around.

First, make the ripple. Put the blackberries in a sauce pan and put in about 100g of sugar to start. The ice cream part of this is plenty sweet so don’t go too mad – you can always add more sugar later. Stir so the sugar dissolves and then simmer for about 20 minutes until it’s all mushy. Pass through a sieve to get rid of the seedy bits. Taste and see if you need more sugar but don’t over do it. Put to one side to cool.

Now mix together the cream and the condensed milk, add the vanilla extract and whisk until thick and stiff.

I pour the vanilla ice cream into a large, shallow Pyrex dish (rectangular) so you have a large surface area. Then I spoon the ripple on top and very gently run a knife through it to disperse it.

That’s it. Freeze and eat on demand. It’s delicious. Enjoy the super psychedelic picture. I served a scoop of this with my mamma’s apple pie. My dad’s harvest, my mum’s apple pie and my ice cream. A delicious family team effort.

Iced coffee

This was inspired by an ice cream recipe which didn’t so much go wrong, but which I didn’t like.

I have a book called The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz. A great book absolutely crammed full of great and inspiring recipes for ice cream, sorbets and the like. I bought it after I tried Lebovitz’s Torrone Ice cream which is one of the best ice creams ever.

In the book, Lebovitz has a recipe for Vietnamese Coffee Ice cream. I made it and it wasn’t really my thing. Too ‘icy’, and not creamy enough for the sort of ice cream I like. What could I do with it I wondered? Then I remembered how my father used to make iced coffee in my parents’ cafe and I thought “a-ha” I’ll use it as a base for iced coffee. And so this is what I did. (I’ve slightly adapted the recipe here by altering the proportions.)

When you’ve made the ice cream, store it in the freezer and then when the mood for iced coffee takes you, just add a scoop of the ice cream to some milk and whizz it up in a blender. I use my Dualit milk frother on the ‘cold milk’ setting and it works perfectly (put the milk and ice cream in the machine at the same time, sometimes I do have to run it twice to make sure the mixture is smooth).

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You need about a scoop of ice cream per small glass of milk, although experiment and see what suits you and if you prefer a more creamy or stronger coffee taste. My children go mad for this drink; obviously I have to ration it out as all that caffeine…

It’s a great drink for this lovely hot weather and, once you’ve made the ice cream, the whole thing is ready in minutes. Serve with ice cubes if you wish, but I don’t find there’s any need.

Iced coffee ice cream:

397g Waitrose Condensed Milk (for those, like me, who boycott Nestle, it’s great to know that Waitrose now makes its own condensed milk and it’s cheaper than Nestle’s)

250 – 300 ml of espresso or very strong coffee

80ml single cream

A pinch of ground coffee

You basically mix everything together, chill it and then put it in your ice cream maker.

Or, if you plan to make lots of iced coffee over the next few days, just store it at this stage, in the fridge and use half a cup every time you want to make an iced coffee, topping it up with milk (and an ice cube or two if you want it really ice cold) to suit your taste (so more iced coffee mix to less milk if you like it very strong/sweet, more milk if less so).

I love to top this up with almond milk. This doesn’t, of course, give you a dairy free iced coffee as the cream and condensed milk are dairy, but it does lower the dairy hit and gives a lovely nutty taste.

Hazelnut and truffle gelato (aka Ferrero Rocher ice cream)

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A few weeks ago, we were all up and needing to watch something suitable for all the family that wouldn’t be too scary or sexual or violent. We stumbled upon a food channel and there was a woman on there doing the top ten Italian favourites in this country. Or some such.

Anyway. I’d never seen her before – she was called Michela Chiappa. And she was so sweet and happy and we all ended up completely entranced by the programme, and her. And later on, I made much of what was on her show, too.

One of the things she made was this Baci and hazelnut gelato. Baci by Perugina are very famous Italian chocolates, not easy to find here. They are a hazelnut, a-top some praline and then coated in plain chocolate. I love them and whenever I go to Italy I buy some and bring them back. You can get them here (do a search) if you really want to use them, but they tend to be quite pricey when you do, so you can, as you’ll see in a minute, use alternatives.

Anyway, Michela made this baci and hazelnut ice cream, the recipe for which is here. It’s egg free and you don’t need an ice cream maker. Double joy if you can’t eat the former and don’t have the latter.

It isn’t how I usually make ice cream. As you can see if you go to the sub-groups over on the right and search for the Ice Cream section, almost all the ice cream I make has totally fresh ingredients in, like fresh eggs, cream, milk etc. This gelato of Michela’s uses condensed milk, which is a processed product.

But you do need to make this ice cream at least once because it is amazing. Like frozen chocolate mousse. I didn’t use Baci I used Ferrero Rocher, which were lovely but messy to chop up and put in. You can see from the comments below the original recipe that lots of people have also had the idea of substituting Ferrero Rocher (and I thought I was being so clever). But I have also since made it (because, ahem, this has become a bit of a favourite ice cream in this house and one that everyone loves) with these Monty Bojangle Roasted Hazelnut Truffles. And the result was amazing and the chocolates are much easier to chop up than Ferreros. Whatever you do use, however, I would recommend it’s a soft chocolate, not anything hard which would affect the eating of this ice cream.

Be warned. I never usually gorge myself on ice cream but it’s too easy to do with this. So here, slightly adapted, is the recipe.

500ml double cream

A can of condensed milk (397g)

2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

50g cocoa powder (I use Green and Black’s)

100g hazelnut truffles, Baci, Ferrero Rocher etc, chopped up

100g hazelnuts

2 tablespoons of icing sugar

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Put the 100g hazelnuts and the icing sugar in a frying pan and constantly stir on a medium to high heat until the hazelnuts are brown and the sugar caramelised. This takes me about five mins. Watch it so the hazelnuts don’t burn. Chop the hazelnuts so that you get a few chunks and a few fine bits.

Put the condensed milk, double cream and vanilla extract into a bowl and whisk. As it’s about to form into soft peaks, add the cocoa powder. The thing you have to watch is that you don’t whip the life out of the cream before you’ve added the cocoa.

Now all you do is add the caramelised hazelnuts and the chopped up chocolates, stirring through gently. I save some, as suggested in the original recipe, to sprinkle over the top of the ice cream before you put it in the freezer.

That’s it. Put in in the freezer for as long as you can bear before having some.

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Torrone (nougat) ice cream

IMG_2345 I found this recipe, hidden amongst various others in the Guardian last week. (Scroll down, it’s the fifth one: frozen nougat, torrone = nougat.)

The great news is that you don’t need an ice cream maker to do it as this recipe doesn’t call for one. Rejoice! I’d long wanted to make torrone ice cream as I love ice creams with bits in it. I think this is in large part because my mother once made ice cream with lots of bits in it when I was a child, and it remains a taste I chase. (You can read more about it here in this piece I wrote for the Economist’s Intelligent Life.)

It is not the easiest ice cream to make. But I made it whilst in sole charge of a buoyant four year old and it was fine. I did move my mixer next to the stove, as I wouldn’t want to be carrying boiling sugar and honey across the kitchen.

A few notes about the recipe: I used flaked almonds (which is what David Lebovitz, whose recipe this is, probably meant by sliced almonds). Toast them first, if they’re not already. I did mine in a dry frying pan for a few minutes.IMG_2332The praline bit takes hardly any time at all: be warned.  And you can easily make this in way in advance.

I blitzed half the praline in a food processor and chopped the other half by hand. Experiment to see what you prefer.

Don’t be temped to leave out any of the ingredients, please. Each is carefully considered to compliment the others: this is a highly accomplished recipe. IMG_2339Follow the recipe carefully for the same reason. Make sure you whisk the meringue until quite, quite cold, for example, before folding the cream in.

I found it hard to fold the whipped cream into the Italian meringue (Italian meringue is when you pour a very hot sugar solution into whipped egg whites whilst simultaneously whisking) so I did my best then whisked the whole lot together gently, it didn’t suffer.

This ice cream only uses egg whites. Hurrah! Another use for all those egg whites that I accumulate.

I can’t impress upon you how good this ice cream is. It’s one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. I wouldn’t, personally, have it in a cone. You really need to serve it in the plainest of dishes so that nothing distracts from the taste which is complex, sophisticated and high-pitched-singing- inducing delicious.

Making your own ice cream cones

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Writing about this most happy of subjects: ice cream, is an attempt to shake off a very bad case of what I guess are called Monday blues.

Although I feel ridiculous writing about ice cream in this weather. I’m in Suffolk and it’s grey and cold. I’m back in 4 ply cashmere, last night we lit a fire, I have loads of stuff to do that I’m optimistically lumped together in an ‘in tray’ formation  (the most useful thing I ever ever read was “we all die with a full in tray so don’t try to clear it”) and I feel as creative as a piece of plain, economy photocopy paper.

So, ice cream cones. What, you may be thinking, is the figging point of making your own? Well, you may live somewhere where you can easily buy those nice sugar cones. I don’t. And last year my local supermarket, Waitrose, seemed to have a run on decent ice cream cones and for weeks and weeks all you could get were a) awful wafer cones or b) awful wafer cones in the shape of a teddy’s head. This is very serious when you are an ice cream maker’s daughter. You cannot serve good gelato in such a receptacle.

Also, I am slightly obsessed with what goes into stuff and if I can make things at home and control the ingredients, then I will. And there is always a deadline to be avoided..I’m involved in a very grown up, serious piece at the moment and when things get a bit de trop for me, I retreat into the whimsy of baking and making. Not least because I have an almost pathological need to achieve. Something. Anything. Even if it’s ‘just’ stepping back and looking at a pile of ice cream cones which I’ve just made, whilst upstairs, there are 1,000 words that remain quite, quite unwritten.

I had, somewhere in the back of the cupboard, an old pizzelle iron/maker. Pizzelle are small waffle biscuits with a fancy pattern on them. You can also roll them up into a mini cone shape. Pizzelle irons are not easy to find in the UK which is a shame.  So, because I thought it would be really frustrating for you, me banging on about how to make your own ice cream cones using something you can’t buy here, I bought a waffle cone maker from Lakeland. I know, so kind of me. [Disclaimer: I get press discount at Lakeland and have done for nearly 16 years.]

So, first and briefly, the machine. It’s £29.99 which isn’t cheap and only you can gauge whether it’s really worth buying it. We eat a ridiculous amount of ice cream in this house so for us, yes it was. It isn’t anything fancy and I can’t tell you if it’s the BEST ice cream cone maker on the market because it’s not a big market.

I can tell you this though: ignore the instructions that come with it as they are crap. If you use the plastic cone shaper that they send you, you will end up crying as it makes for a giant-aperture cone. Just chuck it in the bin. You can roll them by hand, it just takes a bit of practice. Also ignore the recipe that comes with it makes an insane amount.

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How to make plain ice cream cones, the definitive recipe after weeks of testing:

This makes about 20 cones.

75g very soft butter

125g caster sugar

300ml of water/milk. I use 250ml water, 50ml of milk. (I’ve also used unsweetened almond milk and it’s worked just fine.)

250g plain flour (for variations such as wheat free, see below)

1 egg

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

Cream the butter and sugar together. Then add the egg and vanilla extract. Mix together. Add the flour and salt and finally add the water/milk in a steady stream, mixing as you go. Beat well. You need to have a fairly thick but runny batter. If it’s too thick you’ll end up with cones that don’t cook, too thin and they’ll break easily once cooled. So don’t be afraid to experiment. It’s doubtful you’ll need less liquid that I stipulate however. I’m aware I’m sounding very bossy in this post.

Put the waffle maker onto maximum. Don’t even bother with the lower temperatures: waste of time.

I use about two soup spoons of batter. Close the waffle iron down. It takes 3-4 minutes (more like 4 but check after 3) until done. They are done when they are golden in places and dry looking. You will need to experiment a bit with what works for you.

When done, lift out with a spatula. You now have approximately ten seconds to shape your cone or it will set hard. If you’ve cooked it right, you will be able to shape it into a cone just using your hands. I lay mine flat on a chopping board and roll. Not too tightly rolled, or you’ll end up with hardly any room to put the dollop of ice cream. Not too large or you’ll need 2,000 calories worth of gelato to fill it up. It does take practice. Hold it in shape with your hand for a minute, and pinch the end (otherwise ice cream will drip through when you put it in). The cone be hot but you sort of get used to it. Or I did. That’s it, set to properly cool on a wire rack. It does take a bit of time to make them but I find it quite meditative.

They store in the infamous ‘airtight container’. They keep for a week or two, probably longer but they never last that long here.

Variations:

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Chocolate cones:

As above but replace 30g of flour with cocoa powder and up the sugar to 135g. I found these took only 3 mins.

Wholemeal cones:

Yes really! These are really tasty actually. Same as above but do half plain flour and half wholemeal. And healthier too.

Wheat/gluten free

Substitute the normal flour for rice flour. You can also make them chocolate wheat free versions by using 135g sugar instead of 125g, then adding 30g cocoa powder and using only  220g of rice flour.

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Gluten/dairy free

Substitute the normal flour for rice flour, the butter for coconut oil (slightly less: 70g) and the milk for almond milk. These taste totally delicious, and make a very crisps cone; they need slightly longer cooking (3-3 and a half minutes) because of the coconut oil. And, I think because the mixture is thicker, they spread out less and make smaller cones. I really like these.

Remember, generally:  the more liquid you add, the thinner you can get the cones. This is great if you want a very fine cone but it will break more easily.

Home made cones are a bit more fragile than shop bought ones, so handle them carefully.

Strawberry ice cream

Ice cream is very important to me.  Its icy, creamy tentacles spread wide and deep through my family history. My father was an ice cream maker for a while, from when he turned seventy (seventy!) until about seven years ago. But we sold, and made, ice cream long before that.

For years now, I’ve made my own ice cream. And if you’re interested in some recipes I have one for the best chocolate ice cream in the world; mint choc chip ice cream; a rich vanilla ice cream; a lighter vanilla ice cream that uses whole (not just yolks) egg and soon I’ll put one up for possibly my favourite: almond praline. You can read about ice cream makers here and I now also make my own cones (see that cone in the picture? I made that). I know! Madness, but there you go.

The recipe for strawberry ice cream below, makes enough for about four people, possibly two helpings each. It’s hard to say as these days I double the recipe (super easy to do and you should double it too if you’re making it for a gathering as OBVIOUSLY you don’t have to eat it all at once) and that makes LOADS. And as here in England the weather has just exploded and the grass looks greener and all the flowers are bursting into vibrant life and the trees are popping their buds, it seems only right to celebrate with some gelato.

2 large egg yolks, freeze the whites for madeleines

75g granulated sugar

80ml milk, I always use semi skimmed, but don’t go lower than that, so full fat or semi skimmed

250g fresh strawberries, hulled. If you need to wash them first dry them carefully as water is the enemy of ice cream (you’ll get a ‘colder’ ice cream with water crystals if you’re not careful)

120ml double cream

As I’ve said before. You need milk and cream to make ice cream so don’t be tempted to leave one out.

Beat the egg yolks together with the sugar until pale-ish. Add the milk and place the lot in  a saucepan and stir well over a low to medium heat until it thickens. Do not allow to boil but be patient as this bit can take 5-10 mins and you will need the heat to be more than a candle’s worth to get it going. You’re not going for thick like a custard, but it needs to thicken. It will thicken even more as it cools. But don’t boil it as it may split.

Now put the strawberries and the custard mixture into a blender and blitz until really smooth and there are no bits left. Whisk the cream in a separate bowl until thick, slowly fold the cream into the custard mixture or vice versa, whatever works for you. Chill until cold. The colder it is the less work the ice cream maker will have to do. When cold put into ice cream maker.

That’s it. It’s ready to eat when it’s out of the ice cream maker but obviously it will be very soft, so if you like it to be harder then put it in a container, in the freezer, until such time as you intend to eat it.