Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Gingerbread Ice Cream


So despite what the weather says (did you see the photos from the St. Andrews Open?), it is summer here in Scotland.  We have had the odd burst of sunshine here in Fife but we've also had a good share of torrential downpours, as well as an amazing thunderstorm.  However, summer is summer and that means ice cream!  Although I actually made the first batch of this ice cream during the Easter holidays and my goodness is it one of the best things I have ever come up with!

Back story time!  During the Easter break the Hubby and I went on a mini holiday to Glasgow, in part because I needed to get away from everything and have an excuse not to think about work.  The Spring term was also the longest term of the year so I was exhausted by the end of it.  A couple of days away from home was very necessary.  We booked into our favourite hotel and enjoyed a couple of days meeting up with my best friend (and assessing her boyfriend, who we liked very much), lots of shopping and a long walk to and wander around the Kelvingrove museum. It was lovely.  We then usually spent the evenings curled up in our room, reading and watching TV and amongst the things we watched was MasterChef.

This started us on a bit of a binge watch of MasterChef on the iPlayer.  I like watching people make food.  It is fascinating.  Anyway, one thing that quite a few contestants made was ice cream (how they did so in an hour baffled me) and amongst the flavours that got made was ginger.  This got me thinking back to Christmas when I was contemplating the idea of a gingerbread ice cream as a nice holiday themed dessert.  I figured this holiday, even though it was not the Christmas one, was a good time to finally put the idea into practise. 

I decided to use ginger ice cream as a basis for my recipe and luckily my David Lebovitz book provided me with one of those.  However, I knew I would not get the gingerbread taste from just ginger.  So I switched out caster sugar for a mix of muscovado sugar and golden syrup, two of the key ingredients in any good gingerbread recipe.  I also decided to use just cream, rather than a combination of cream and milk.  More fat in ice cream means less ice crystals develop when frozen.  I also think it tastes better.  I had to estimate amounts for the different ingredients but I did a pretty good job since it turned out really well (why yes, I am a bit smug about this one).  For a little bit of extra flare, I baked some tiny gingerbread flowers for the original batch that were mixed in after churning along with some gingerbread crumbs.  For my most recent batch I used store bought gingerbread, which works just as well in my opinion, though the Hubby disagrees.

I was surprised at how much this tastes like gingerbread!  It is almost bizarre, given it's cold ice cream but has that delicious sweet heat that comes with good gingerbread.  The biscuit crumbs throughout add a nice bit of crunch too.  This stuff is so scrummy!  I like it, the Hubby likes it and so do his parents.  The Hubby's dad is not a big ice cream person but he loved this and went back for more so if that isn't a good enough endorsement, I don't know what else to tell you.

Recipe - inspired by Fresh Ginger Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop
Makes about 1 litre

  • 85g/3oz fresh ginger root
  • 750ml/26fl.oz double cream
  • 6 tbsp golden syrup
  • 80g/3oz muscovado sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 5 egg yolks 
  • Gingerbread biscuits (amount is up to you)
  1. Slice up the ginger root into thin slices and place in a saucepan.
  2. Cover with 2cm of water, bring to the boil and then let it boil for 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and drain the water.
  4. Add the sugar, salt, golden syrup and 500ml of the cream to the saucepan.
  5. Stir over a medium heat until the sugar has melted and the mixture is warm and a nice golden brown colour.
  6. Remove from the heat, cover and allow to steep for an hour.
  7. Put the remaining cream in a large bowl and set a sieve over the top.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks.
  9. Use a slotted spoon to remove the pieces of ginger root from the cream mixture and discard.
  10. Warm the mixture through.
  11. Add the warmed cream mixture to the egg yolks, whisking them the entire time, and then add everything back into the saucepan.
  12. Cook the mixture over a low to medium heat, stirring with a spatula the whole time.  Make sure the spatula scrapes the bottom of the pan and that you do not allow the mixture to boil.  Keep cooking until the custard thickens and coats the spatula.
  13. Pour the custard through the sieve into the cream.
  14. Place the bowl of custard into an ice bath and stir continuously until the mixture has cooled.
  15. Chill thoroughly in the fridge before transferring to your ice cream maker and continue according to manufacturer's instructions.
  16. Once the ice cream has churned and thickened, place the gingerbread into a bag and crush with a rolling pin so that you have a mix of larger pieces and crumbs.  Add these to the ice cream and churn for about 2 minutes before transferring to a freezer-proof container.  Freeze for at least an hour before serving.

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