Friday 13 December 2019

Rachel Allen: I dream of making really tasty ice cream

Fancy making ice cream, but you haven't got a machine? Rachel Allen shows how to make an assortment of tasty frozen treats without one.

Rachel Allen
Rachel Allen
In the rhubarb ice cream recipe you can replace the rhubarb with almost any fruit you'd like

Rachel Allen

An ice cream machine is a great bit of kit. Yet, even if they're affordable, it means another appliance to fit into your kitchen - the last place you want clutter. Thankfully, there is an easy way to make ice cream without a machine, ice cream that is perfectly smooth and soft - you just have to know a few tricks!

The purpose of an ice cream machine is to churn it while freezing at the same time. It's the churning (the non-stop rotation of the paddle) that breaks up the ice crystals and keeps them small. This makes the ice-cream or sorbet smooth rather than icy.

There are two ways to make good soft ice-cream without a machine and both involve eggs (as well as cream, of course!). An Italian meringue is made by adding a hot syrup to whisked egg whites; this will hold its structure and when folded in to cream, the light and fluffy result can be frozen for a fast ice cream treat.

The other way is by making a mousse using egg yolks, and folding the cream into the mousse. This result is a little thicker and richer, as in this Ballymaloe vanilla ice-cream, opposite. Here at Ballymaloe, while we make many custard based ice-creams that do require an ice-cream machine, one of the original recipes is this famous mousse-based ice cream. It's always popular, yet so simple and easy to make.

Once you have the technique of making any of these ice-creams, you can easily be creative with flavours. Melted chocolate added to a basic vanilla recipe works well. Try using 100g (3ƒoz) of melted dark chocolate folded into the mousse and omit the vanilla extract.

In the rhubarb ice cream recipe, opposite, you can replace the rhubarb with almost any fruit you'd like, such as cherries. Just cook the fruit with some sugar and taste the balance of sweetness and acid, adding more sugar or lemon juice as you see fit.

Lemon and ginger ice cream

Serves 6.

You will need:

200ml (7fl oz) lemon curd

300ml (10fl oz) natural yoghurt

300ml (10fl oz) creme fraiche

2 tablespoons finely grated fresh ginger

Put the lemon curd in a bowl, along with the natural yoghurt, the creme fraiche and the finely grated fresh ginger. Fold everything together thoroughly, then put in a freezable container. Cover and place the container in the freezer for a few hours until the ice cream is frozen through.

To serve, take the ice cream out of the freezer for 2-3 minutes before scooping.

Rhubarb Ice Cream

2014-09-07_lif_2966750_I1.JPG
photo by tony gavin

Serves 12.

You will need:

250g (9oz) rhubarb, finely sliced

50g (2oz) sugar

1 tablespoon water, and 200ml (7fl oz) water

Juice of ½ lemon

250g (9oz) caster sugar

4 large egg whites

Pinch of cream of tartar

300ml (10½fl oz) cream, softly whipped (see my Tip, above) - this should come to about 500ml (17½ fl oz) whipped cream

Put the sliced rhubarb, the 50g (2oz) sugar and the tablespoon of water in a small saucepan on a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring up to the boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for a few minutes until the rhubarb is soft and tender. Stir in the lemon juice. Then pour the rhubarb out on to a plate and allow to cool.

Put the 250g (9oz) caster sugar and the 200ml (7fl oz) water in a saucepan on a medium heat. Stir to dissolve the caster sugar, then bring up to the boil. Increase the heat to high and boil fiercely for about 5 minutes until the mixture reaches the 'thread' stage. If you own a sugar thermometer, this is when it reads 106°C-113°C (223°F-236F). If you don't have a sugar thermometer, dip a metal spoon into the mixture; as you remove it, the last drops of sugar syrup will form thin threads if the correct temperature has been reached.

Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites along with the cream of tartar until they are stiff. Still whisking, gradually pour in the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream, and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool, glossy and stiff (this will take about 4 or 5 minutes). Fold in the cooked rhubarb mixture and the whipped cream, though not completely, as I like to leave this slightly marbled. Put in the freezer and freeze overnight. This ice-cream can be scooped straight from the freezer.

Ballymaloe Vanilla Ice cream

Serves 6-8.

You will need:

2 egg yolks

50g (2oz) sugar

125ml (4fl oz) water

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

360ml (13 fl oz) cream, softly whipped (see my Tip, above left) - this should come to about 600ml (1 pint) whipped cream

Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk them until they are light and fluffy.

In a small saucepan, combine thesugar and the water. Put on a medium heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved. Next, remove the spoon and increase the heat to high. Bring to the boil, then continue to boil fiercely for about 5 minutes until the mixture reaches the 'thread' stage (see the previous recipe for rhubarb ice-cream).

Pour the boiling sugar syrup in a steady stream on to the whisked egg yolks, whisking all the time. Add the vanilla extract and continue to whisk until it becomes a thick, creamy white mousse.

Fold the softly whipped cream into the mousse, then pour in to a freezable container, cover and place in the freezer.

The ice-cream will take a few hours to freeze all the way through. Once frozen, it can be scooped straight from the freezer.

Rachel Allen

Brown Bread Ice Cream

Serves 6-8.

You will need:

100g (3½oz) brown soda bread or brown yeast bread, in chunks

50g (2oz) soft brown sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

150ml (5½oz) cream

1 tablespoon rum (optional)

2 eggs, separated

125g (4½oz) sugar

100ml (3½oz)water

Pinch of cream of tartar

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C, 400°F, Gas 6. Place the chunks of brown bread in a food processor and whiz for 30 seconds to a minute to form coarse breadcrumbs, then add the soft brown sugar and the ground cinnamon and pulse a few times to mix. Spread out the bread, cinnamon and sugar mixture on a baking tray and place in the oven. Toast for about 10 minutes until it is well browned. Then remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Next, whisk the cream until soft peaks appear, then mix in the rum if you're using it, and the egg yolks, and set aside.

Place the sugar and the water in a saucepan and heat slowly, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and bring to the boil. Boil fiercely for about 5 minutes until the mixture reaches the 'thread' stage (see the rhubarb ice cream recipe on this page).

Meanwhile, using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites with the cream of tartar until they are stiff. Still whisking, gradually pour in the hot sugar syrup in a thin stream, and continue to whisk until the mixture is cool, glossy and stiff (about 4-5 minutes).

Then add in the whipped-cream and egg-yolk mixture, along with the caramelised breadcrumbs, and fold until mixed through. Tip in to a container with a lid, cover and place in the freezer for a few hours until frozen through. The ice-cream can be scooped straight from the freezer.

Rachael Recommends

Sometimes buying a big pot of ice-cream is a faster way to curing heartbreak (or just hunger) than making it yourself! When I do buy ice cream, I love to get Murphy's Ice Cream. It's hand-made in Dingle, using local cream, free-range eggs and organic sugar.

They even make their own salt from Dingle's salty sea water! Sean and Kieran Murphy have been making and selling Murphy's in Dingle since 2000. So they've had some time to perfect their recipes, leading to many awards, and a cookbook.

You can buy Murphy's in their own shops in Killarney, Co Kerry, and Wicklow St, D2, as well as throughout the country.

murphysicecream.ie

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