This blog is all about ice cream… mmmm, ice cream, who doesn’t love it, and there really is something truly special about ice-cream you have made yourself. Once you have got the hang of making the custard successfully, it really is a breeze. I use this recipe for my ice cream from the BBCGoodFood.com web site, it is truly delicious and I always have a stash in the freezer to have with my puddings on Sunday tea time. When I make this I always make a double batch (as it fits in Major Ken’s ice cream attachment almost perfectly) and use 600 ml of cream not the 568ml the recipe calls for…. simply because the cartons I buy are 300ml or 600ml and I see no point in wasting the small amount that I’m over.
When I first made this I ran into my usual issues with non-exact instruction… heat until it “almost boils”, “until it coats the back of a spoon”, ahhh, how I hate that. The uncertainty if I have understood the vague instruction correctly, the desire not to waste a whole batch of ingredients and the frustration at not having the intuition, knowledge or skills to plough ahead with confidence drives me nuts. This recipe is a little more helpful than some, it does say “until you see a few bubbles at the edge”, but even that is hard to gauge, what size bubble? How many?
My first 2 batches were absolute disasters, and resulted in me being left with 12 egg whites and no ice cream, although the silver lining was the discovery of Rose Prince’s Angel cake as a means to use up all my spare egg whites 🙂 I did however finally master the technique and now can whip up a batch of ice-cream with confidence.
Anyway, you may recall from a previous post that I love a snowball at Christmas, but rarely use a whole bottle of Advocaat and ultimately end up having to throw some away. Last year staying true to foodie challenge number 7, no waste, I used the remaining Advocaat to make an eggnog custard tart. Unfortunately in my zeal to waste nothing I was rather heavy handed with the bottle and the eggnog custard was far too strong to actually eat, kind of counterproductive when I am attempting not to waste anything! It was deposited in the freezer until I had a fit of inspiration, and mixed it along with a few leftover mince pies into a batch of the vanilla ice cream. I was delighted with the results. Before I decided to share the recipe I thought it prudent to test my creation out on other palettes, so rather begrudgingly (that I had to share any), every lucky soul that entered the house had a (small) spoonful unceremoniously shoved in their mouths. Without exception, every one that tried it agreed with me, so with Christmas looming I thought it about time to share the recipe, and the scrummy festive joy.
This is rather long winded as true to form everything is being made from scratch and we have 3 main components to make. Ideally you should get your mincemeat started as it needs a couple of days to soak up the copious amounts of alcohol, but also ideally some time to rest and mature to allow the flavours to really develop. I will admit, mine didn’t rest as I was rather desperate to restock my now non-existent stash of Boozy Xmas ice cream 🙂 and it still tastes great!
Before I launch in to the recipe I have to offer the Hubby total credit for the alcohol blend. I am not a great drinker, and certainly have no concept of what works well together and what doesn’t, so will admit that on the subject of alcohol the Hubby knows best…. Only on this subject though (before he gets any ideas!!) Anyhoo, when it comes to both the mincemeat and my Christmas cake he gets called in to provide the alcohol component. He does have to be closely supervised as he ALWAYS adds way more than I have asked for, in fact one year the Christmas cake took over 7 hours to cook as the mixture was so wet! Yes, it did taste great 🙂
Right first up, let’s start…
Very Boozy Mincemeat.
Gather up your ingredients, dried fruit, orange and lemon zest, sugar, apple and spices (full recipe at the end of this post), the Hubby and the alcohol!
Task hubby with providing 900ml of alcohol to soak the fruit in, and while he is busy with his alchemy, you can put all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl. Pour over 800ml of the alcohol (save the rest for the end), and stir well ensuring everything is well mixed and coated. It is positively swimming in liquid at this point! Cover with cling film, write out a note saying “If you are passing please stir me” and pop on the top. I left it for 2 days, and when anyone wondered by it got a good stir.
2 days later, put your now plump and truly delightfully smelling mincemeat in a large ovenproof pan, cover and pop in the oven for 3 hours on 110c. This step was pinched from Delia Smiths recipe as I don’t like seeing the big lumps of white suet in the jar, I find it rather unappetizing.
Once out of the oven stir it regularly as it cools and the melted suet will coat the other ingredients. Once it is totally cold, add the remaining alcohol, mix well and pack into sterilized jars.
You can use the mincemeat straight from the jar for the ice cream, or you can whip up some mince pies. I made one large mincemeat tart, just so there would be some chunks of pastry in the ice cream.
Whisk the eggs and sugar together, (full recipe at the end of this post). Heat the eggnog and milk until hot but NOT boiling, then gradually stir into the egg mixture.
Pour into a dish sprinkle with nutmeg and place in a large tin. Pour boiling water into the tin until it comes half way up the dish and place in the oven on 170c for 25-30 mins, or until just set. If you go over it will start to separate (which mine did…oops), but as it still tastes fine and is getting mixed into ice cream I wasn’t too concerned 🙂
Now the ice cream…. (full recipe here)
Put the cream and milk in a heavy bottomed pan, add half the sugar and the vanilla seeds and pods. OO, I have to mention www.vanillamart.co.uk here, where I get all my vanilla pods, great quality and value for money, far superior to and cheaper than what you can buy in the supermarket 🙂 Heat, stirring occasionally until it “Almost boils”. Sorry, couldn’t resist. My thermometer read 89c when I started noticing bubbles around the edge. Turn it off and leave for ½ hour to allow the vanilla to infuse. Perfect break for a cuppa, although the dog isn’t interested in playing at this stage!
Beat the egg yolks and the other half of the sugar until far paler in colour and thick enough so the mixture falls in thick ribbons when you lift the beaters. Stir in a cup of the cream mixture to loosen the eggs. .
Reheat the cream until it just comes to the boil (I let it get to the point where the first bubble breaks the surface away from the edge of the pan), then take off the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture. Return to the pan and heat gently, stirring continuously until the custard coats the back of a spoon! Sigh… here we go again. This step is really important as if you let the custard boil it will curdle and end up in the bin. Coating the back of a spoon is far too vague, but it means when you run your finger through the mixture on the back of the spoon, it holds the gap and doesn’t fill itself back in.
I however go more by sight of the custard, as I see the mixture start to bubble under the surface I take it off. My thermometer read 97c at this point. If for whatever bizarre reason you are trying to photograph your progress, be really carefully that you are not looking at the camera at this critical stage, I oh so very nearly blew it! Partly fill your sink with cold water (or ice) and pour the custard into a large clean bowl placed in the water, stir frequently as it cools. Cover and allow to go totally cold before churning. Finally and most importantly if you are using an ice-cream maker to churn, remember to remove all your vanilla pods before churning! Squashed vanilla pods, although safe to eat, are rather chewy and a little disturbing in otherwise smooth and creamy ice-cream…. I assume… 🙂
Right now we are all ready to make our Boozy Christmas ice-cream
Chop up the mincemeat tart and break up the eggnog custard. Add to a batch of the custard and mix it together well. Keep a close eye on the Labrador who has now woken up and is showing a very keen interest in your bowl of yummy Christmas cheer!
Cover then place in the freezer. Every half an hour take it out of the freezer and give it another good stir to break up the ice crystals, this makes for a smoother and creamier ice-cream. Once almost fully frozen, scoop into a suitable container and hide in the freezer where no one else can find it! You can of course use your ice cream maker or attachment if you have one, but I didn’t want the pastry pulverised so I opted to churn this flavour by hand. Besides, Major Ken was busy with the plain vanilla batch 🙂
You can really make any flavour you like, it’s a great way to use up leftovers or disasters. For example, our last Bake club meeting we had a challenge to make a chocolate tea cake. In my wisdom/stupidity I thought rather than faffing with individual ones, I would be really clever and make one big one in a small loaf tin. I did however totally neglect to consider how I would get it out of the pan, misread the recipe for the marshmallow and added 6 tablespoons instead of teaspoons of golden syrup, and basically had a truly epic disaster! It tasted splendid, but I came home with half a chocolate teasplat.
I chopped it up, added the remains of a jar of jam, and some of the merengue from my pavlova disasters to make a chocolate teacake and merengue version. I also had some oat and sultana cookie dough balls which I chucked into another portion of vanilla. In hind sight I think choc chip cookie dough would have been a better choice, as the uncooked oats give the ice cream a bit of an odd texture in places, however the flavour is lovely so I am sure it will all get eaten.
Anyway the sky is the limit, just use your imagination, baking successes, disasters and leftovers and turn your freezer into ice-cream heaven, and don’t forget to let the very patient dog have a taste 🙂 Just a small one mind!
Mincemeat Ingredients 1 Orange – zest and juice 1 Lemon – zest and juice 200g mixed peel 150g dried cranberries 150g sour cherries 125g Morello cherries 600g Sultanas 900g Mixed fruit 500g cooking apples, peeled and diced 350g Light brown sugar 100g Dark brown sugar 200g Suet 1 ½ tsp cinnamon 2 tsp mixed spice 300ml Rum 300ml Amaretto 150ml Armagnac 150ml Sherry Method 1 - Mix all the ingredients except the alcohol together in a large bowl. 2 - Pour over 800ml of the alcohol , stir well, cover and leave for a couple of days, stirring frequently 3 - Once all the alcohol has been absorbed, place mixture in a large oven proof pan and bake for 3hrs on 110c. 4 - As it cools stir regularly 5 - Mix in the last of the alcohol, then pack into sterilized jars
Eggnog Custard Ingredients 200ml Full cream milk 300ml Advocaat 3 eggs 25g caster sugar Grated nutmeg Method 1 - Lightly whisk the eggs and sugar together 2 - Heat the Advocaat and milk together in a pan until hot but not boiling 3 - Mix the milk mixture into the eggs and pour into an ovenproof dish 4 - Sprinkle with grated nutmeg 5 - Place dish in a large pan half filled with boiling water and bake on 170c for 25- 30 mins or until just set