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GUEST BLOG: The empress of ice cream

8th July 2013 - Julie Fisher


Ruby Violet's Ice Cream DreamsIn Ruby Violet's Ice Cream Dreams, Julie Fisher shows how home-made ice cream can be a show-stopping dessert for any occasion. She offers foolproof recipes for ice creams and sorbets, from the simple childhood favourites like raspberry ripple to more complex flavours such as elderflower and Prosecco, as well as unusual variations like beetroot and horseradish. As well as bombes, cakes and Arctic rolls, it also features mouth-watering accompani- ments like chewy mini-meringues, crunchy almond nut brittle and a fleur de sel caramel sauce.


Below, she shares three of her favourite recipes: honey ice cream, mint choc chip ice cream and mango and passionfruit sorbet, as well as a chocolate and hazelnut toffee crunch topping you may not be able to resist eating straight from the bowl.



                                   Call the roller of big cigars,
                                   The muscular one, and bid him whip
                                   In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
                                   Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
                                   As they are used to wear, and let the boys
                                   Bring flowers in last month's newspapers.
                                   Let be be finale of seem.
                                   The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream

                                          From 'The Emperor of Ice-Cream' (1922) by Wallace Stevens


Honey Ice Cream with Honeycomb and Toasted Almonds

This recipe contains no eggs, so is ideal for those with an egg intolerance. The honey is supplied by our local apiarist in Tufnell Park, from the hives in his garden. I would always recommend you use local honey if you can. My friend, a local bee keeper, urges us to plant more wildflowers and it is interesting that the urban bee population produces a honey with a distinctive taste as a result of the diversity of plant life within the city.


Hney Ice Cream


For the ice cream

  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) double cream
  • 250 ml (8½ fl oz) whole milk
  • 150 g (5 oz) local honey
  • 40 g (1½ oz) flaked almonds

For the honeycomb

  • 150 g (5 oz) granulated (raw) sugar
  • 50 g (2 oz) local honey
  • 1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

Heat the cream and milk in a saucepan. Once boiling, remove from the heat and add the honey. Stir well to mix and leave to cool down to 4°C (39°F) within 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, toast the almonds in a dry frying pan over a medium heat, until lightly coloured, but not burnt.
While the ice cream mix is cooling, line a baking tray with a silicone mat and make the honeycomb.

Spread the sugar over the base of a saucepan then add the honey and 1 tablespoon of water. Bring to the boil whilst stirring gently to allow the sugar to dissolve.

Once the temperature reaches 150°C (300°F), quickly add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk until it is just mixed in. Do not overmix.

Swiftly pour the foaming syrup on to the prepared baking tray.

Do not spread or disturb it, as this will cause it to deflate. Let it stand until cool to the touch - about 10 minutes.
Break into pieces and transfer immediately to an airtight container to preserve the crispness.

To use the honeycomb, scatter a handful of small pieces into the ice-cream maker 5 minutes before the end of the churning time; alternatively, ripple through once the ice cream is churned.

Serve with the toasted almonds and more honeycomb pieces.


Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

Our mint is supplied by our customers from their allotments in Highgate, so is completely fresh and natural. Do not be surprised if your mint chocolate ice cream does not turn out the fluorescent green that is commonly associated with the industrially extruded variety. Depending on the mint, the colour will vary from pale green to white, but the flavour will be unmistakable.

  • 500 ml (17 fl oz) double cream
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz) whole milk
  • 75 g (3 oz) granulated (raw) sugar
  • 45 ml (1½ fl oz) egg yolk (approximately 3 large egg yolks)
  • pinch of salt
  • 40 g (1½ oz) mint leaves stripped from the stalks
  • 100 g (3½ oz) chocolate (at least 60% cocoa solids)


Mint Choc Chip


Make the base mix by pouring the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan. Bring slowly to the boil then remove from the heat and allow to cool a little for about 5 minutes.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and salt until combined well.

Slowly pour the slightly cooled milk and cream on to the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Do not use boiling milk as this can turn your egg mixture into scrambled eggs.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and slowly heat, stirring with a wooden spoon all the time, until it has reached 85°C (185°F) but doesn't boil.

Stir at this temperature for 4 minutes or so.

Add the mint leaves to the hot sweetened mix.

Leave to cool, then place in the fridge and leave for 6 hours or preferably overnight. The longer you can leave the mix, the more intense the flavour, as long as it is kept in the fridge and the ingredients are fresh. We leave ours to infuse for 2 days.

Strain the mix through a sieve, pressing the mint leaves firmly to extract all the mix. You may need to make the quantity back up to 800 ml (27 fl oz) with pasteurised milk.

Pour the mix into the ice-cream maker and churn.

Melt the chocolate in a bain-marie and leave on one side to cool, but stir occasionally so it remains runny.

Remove the ice cream from the machine and layer it into a container, interspersed with dribbles of melted chocolate to form chocolate chips.

Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.


Mango and Passion Fruit Sorbet

Alphonso mangoes were shipped to England from Mumbai's teeming Crawford market for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Now more widely available, they are the king of mangoes, sweet and delicious, but with a short season. The passion fruit should be slightly wrinkly so that they are still quite tart - the more wrinkled they are, the sweeter the fruit will be.

  • 10-12 passion fruit (to yield 200 ml (7 fl oz) juice)
  • 3-4 mangoes (to yield 300 ml (10 fl oz) juice)
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) glucose syrup (see below)
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz) sugar syrup (see below)
  • 75 ml (2½ fl oz) lemon juice


Mango and Passionfruit Sorbet


For the sugar syrup

Always use equal quantities of sugar to boiling water. For example:
300 ml (10 fl oz) boiling water and 300 g (10½ oz) granulated (raw) sugar make 500 ml (17 fl oz)
of sugar syrup.

To make the syrup, pour the boiling water on to the sugar and stir until dissolved.

This will keep in the fridge for two weeks. The syrup should remain clear - do not use if it goes cloudy.

For the glucose syrup

Also called dextrose syrup, glucose is not as sweet as sugar, so using a glucose syrup will improve
the scoopability of the sorbet. However, it does mask the flavour of the fruit and so should be used
in moderation. Please be aware that this is not the same glucose syrup that you can buy pre-made
in stores and supermarkets.

  • 150 g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 25 g (1 oz) glucose powder

Put the sugar and glucose powder in a saucepan with 400 ml (13½ fl oz) water and a sugar thermometer. Stir and slowly heat up to 40°C (104°F) then continue heating to 85°C (185°F). If you heat it too quickly at the beginning then it will go lumpy and you have to sieve it. Once you get above that temperature, this doesn't happen.

Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Store in the fridge.

For the Mango and Passion Fruit Sorbet

To juice the passion fruit, cut them in half and scoop out the flesh and seeds into a food processor. Blend for 2 minutes and push through a sieve. All that should be left in the sieve are the black seeds; if there is still some flesh, whizz round in the food processor for a further minute or so.

Next peel and slice the mangoes. Put the mango slices in the food processor and blend until you have a smooth purée, then push it through a sieve.

Blend the passion fruit purée, mango purée, glucose syrup, sugar syrup and lemon juice together. Once blended, refrigerate for 6 hours or preferably overnight.

Once chilled, pour into an ice-cream maker and churn.

Spoon the churned sorbet it into a container or freeze until needed, removing it 20 minutes before serving so that it can soften a little.


Chocolate and Hazelnut Toffee Crunch

This is delicious with vanilla or chocolate ice cream or simply eaten on its own.

  • 225 g (8 oz/scant 2 cups) toasted skinless hazelnuts, chopped coarsely
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 115 g (3¾ oz) butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 200 g (7 oz/scant 1 cup) granulated sugar
  • 50 g (2 oz) light brown muscovado sugar
  • 140 g (4½ oz) dark chocolate callets
  • a sprinking of Fleur de sel
  • salt, to garnish

Sprinkle the hazelnuts on to a silicone mat on a baking tray in a square about 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 in) and toast the hazelnuts at 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) for 10-15 minutes. Leave in the oven to keep warm.

Measure out the vanilla extract and baking powder and have it ready.

Put a thermometer in a saucepan then heat the butter, salt, brown and white sugar and 2 tablespoons water, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 150°C (300°F).

Place the saucepan in the sink if you have a stainless-steel sink and use a long-handled wooden spoon to stir in the baking soda and vanilla extract. Be careful as this is very hot and is apt to spill out of the saucepan.

Remove the tray of nuts from the oven and swiftly pour the mixture evenly over the nuts on to the tray.

Scatter the chocolate callets over the top followed by a sprinkling of Fleur de sel.

Leave for 20 minutes or so until cool and break into small chunks. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.


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