This month I’ve been mainly influenced by the sweet treats I’ve been craving during these cold winter months. The ice creams are my ode to traditional British desserts likes crumble, pie and treacle tart. I’ve also been thinking about more tropical climes (and dreaming of a holiday on an exotic beach). As well thinking about the childhood nostalgia that comes with the smell and taste of fresh buttered popcorn.. here are some thoughts on how I came up with and created this months Scoop Club flavours
Butter Salted Popcorn Ice Cream
I hate popcorn, I can’t even touch it. It really freaks me out. The texture drives me mad (my wife and daughter think it’s hilarious. They love to rub it on my skin which is particularly un-hilarious for me). But I’ve always loved the smell of Popcorn. It’s delicious. I love the saltiness of the popcorn mixed with the sweetness of the ice-cream, it becomes like half and half popcorn from the cinema.
We pop the corn ourselves, by melting a bit of butter in a pan and then adding the raw kernels. Pop them and then add the milk and cream. Let it infuse like a tea. Then put it through a sieve, get all the flavour out. We didn’t put actual popcorn in the mix because it goes soggy. I was really happy with how this ice cream turned out. A roasted buttery flavour that really does taste like popcorn - great for popcorn lovers (or haters like me!)
Caramelised Apple Pie Vegan Ice Cream
I guess what inspired me to make the Caramelised Apple Pie ice-cream was trying to come up with fun flavours for vegans. Generally speaking, vegan ice cream is pretty boring! Everything is always coconut or nut based. I wanted to do something different.
Apples are in season at the moment and apple pie is really delicious. I tend to work either with rice or soya milk, this one has a soya milk base. I caramelised some apples with cinnamon and nutmeg - basically all the things that would go into a pie. Then I added the soya milk and all the other bits that go into a basic ice cream, blended it all up and chilled it down. Separately, I diced some apple and cooked it gently in sugar so it got soft and chewy, and then swirled those apple bits into the ice cream. The apple is cooked very dry in the pan, so the natural sugars of the apple start to caramelise. The apple bits stay nice and moist in the ice cream, unlike a lot of freeze-dried fruit in other ice creams. It’s pretty damn good if I do say so myself!
Coconut & White Chocolate Ice Cream
This was very much a happy accident. We did an event before Christmas where we created edible ‘snowballs’, which were basically Christmas tree flavoured ice-cream balls rolled in coconut and white chocolate to make it look fluffy. The snowballs went down a treat but I found myself left with a tonne of coconut flakes and white chocolate shavings. It was the perfect excuse to make a delicious coconut and white chocolate ice cream! I started with jersey milk and coconut cream, then I blended through the coconut and white chocolate flakes, so it has a bit of crunch to it.
Golden Syrup & Sponge Ice Cream
I love golden syrup in everything. I even use it in salad dressings. (Golden syrup, rapeseed oil and sherry vinegar is an amazing dressing, by the way. It makes it naturally a bit thicker and has a really nice colour. It’s so great). I guess I got my love of golden syrup from eating a huge amount of treacle tart. I used to make a lot of treacle tart (which is essentially all golden syrup) when I was Head Chef at the Anglesea Arms pub. It’s that fun, quintessentially British thing of golden syrup, sponge cake and custard, but as an ice cream. I just really liked that. Have I mentioned I love Golden Syrup?!
Passion Fruit Sorbet
Weirdly (or not weirdly, depending on where you’re coming from) I associate winter with tropical fruit. I absolutely love Passion Fruit and in the winter it’s the fruit that inspires me most. During the summer we have so much amazing British fruit that’s in season, such as our berries. But during these cold, dark months I’m looking to something more exotic from farther afield. And passion fruit is amazing. It’s that real twang of sour deliciousness.
Top tip: if you take the passionfruit sorbet and mix it with gin or vodka and champagne, it makes the most incredible, alcoholic smoothie!
Rhubarb Crumble & Custard Ice Cream
Crumble and custard and ice cream is one of those things that’s just phenomenal. Rhubarb is amazing in ice cream because it’s so sharp, to balance the sweetness of ice cream. You get the best British rhubarb during the winter months. It’s the forced rhubarb from Yorkshire which is delicious. You get the broken chunks of crumble where some of it’s really crispy and some bits are gooey. To make the custard we dropped egg yokes into the ice cream mix, so you get that ting of yellow and that slight eggy-ness to it, which is the custard. You don’t usually put egg yokes in ice cream.
Thoughts for next month….
It’s coming up to Easter, so I’m thinking about things like Hot Cross Buns & Marmalade or Lemon Drizzle cake… Maybe there will even be an ice cream themed around bunnies and easter eggs… watch this space!