This is thee first in what will probably be a long series of Leiths recipes. We begin (as in on this blog, I have no idea what we are starting with on the course!) with basic ice cream making techniques. This, as you may already know from my other posts, is something I’ve been keen to tackle anyway, especially since being given an ice cream maker for my birthday.
Under the guidance of Leiths Cookery Bible, I feel this batch was my most successful yet. Here’s what I have learnt:
1. Freezing dulls flavour. So you actually want your ice cream base to be sweeter, zestier, stronger than you may normally prefer. For coffee ice cream, I used some really strong instant espresso powder.
2. Chill, chill, chill everything. This was something that had already been emphasised to me by the lovely people at St George’s Gelato and echoed by the recipe instructions. Once you’ve made your custard or ice cream base, cool it right down in the fridge.
3. The bowl of your ice cream maker is really cold. Maybe even colder than your freezer- is that possible? So make sure it is clean before you put it in to freeze. Trying to wipe it out once it is frozen will only result in kitchen towel/jay cloth frozen stuck to your ice cream maker bowl. Not a good look or particularly tasty.
So here is that recipe:
Coffee Ice Cream
from Leiths Cookery Bible
You will need:
4 egg yolks
85g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
425ml single cream
5 tsp instant coffee powder (I used espresso powder for a slightly stronger coffee taste)
1. Combine the cream and coffee in a saucepan and heat gently until the coffee dissolves.
2. Into a medium sized bowl, mix together the egg yolks with the sugar and salt. Pour the coffee-cream mixture into the bowl, stirring throughout.
3. Put the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Stir continuously until the mixture is thick and custard-like.
4. Strain and allow to cool before chilling completely in the fridge, whisking occasionally.
5. Pour into your ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Or pour into an ice tray and freeze, whisking when the ice cream is half-frozen.
The recipe produced a delicious, creamy ice cream, but quite a lot of it. I really feared it would end up languishing in our freezer forever if I didn’t actively do something with it. I came up with two tasty combos. A kind of Eton mess with blackcurrant (did you know that coffee and blackcurrant are bosom buddies? I didn’t. Thanks, flavour thesaurus) and cardamom, coconut and coffee ice cream sandwiches.
Coffee and Blackcurrant Meringue Sundae
You will need:
1 L coffee ice cream (home made as above or shop bought)
3 egg whites (leftover from the ice cream recipe)
150g caster sugar
1/2 tsp vinegar or lemon juice
Blackcurrant jam or compote
1. Start with the meringues. Preheat the oven to 150 degrees. Gently heat approx 100ml of the jam or compote with a little water until you have a runny sauce. Allow to cool.
2. Using a perfectly clean and dry bowl, whisk the egg whites and vinegar/lemon juice into frothy submission.
3. Add about 50g of the sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites are firm- you should be able to tip the bowl upside down. Add the remaining 100g of sugar and whisk to incorporate.
4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Spoon out 6 large, round meringues. Using a teaspoon, carefully lace the blackcurrant sauce through the meringues, creating swirly shapes as you go.
5. Place in the hot oven, turning the heat down to 100 degrees. Bake for 1 1/2 hours, until the meringues feel dry and easily lift off the tray.
6. Break into pieces and scatter on top of scoops of the ice cream. Pour over the remaining blackcurrant sauce.
Coffee, Coconut and Cardamom Ice Cream Sandwiches
You will need:
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
pinch of salt
120g butter, softened
90 g caster sugar
90 g brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
crushed seeds from 8 cardamom pods
1 large egg
150g dessicated coconut+ a bit more for decoration (if desired)
Coffee ice cream (home made or shop bought)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
2. Combine the flour, bicarb and salt in a small bowl.
3. Beat together the butter, sugars, vanilla, cardamom and 150g of coconut in a larger bowl, until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg.
4. Slowly add the flour mixture, mixing until smooth.
5. Drop the batter by generous, rounded tablespoonfuls onto a lined baking tray. Flatten slightly with the back of a spoon.
6. Bake until golden- about 8-9 minutes. Cool completely and resist the temptation to eat them all.
7. Fill two cookies with a scoop of ice cream, squashing and shaping with a kitchen knife to form smooth sandwiches. Roll the ice cream part of the sandwich in the remaining coconut. Serve immediately or return to the freezer. The sandwiches will keep quite happily for a few days in the freezer, but may need a little thawing time before serving.