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Issue 64 - 2 Scoops Please

Scotland Magazine Issue 64
August 2012

 

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2 Scoops Please

Sue Lawrence indulges her sweet tooth with this classic summer treat

Only a few decades ago, ice-cream was synonymous only with parties or summer holidays. There was the garish yellow Walls brick sitting alongside the lime green jelly at a birthday party. And there was the cornet of vanilla to lick while building sandcastles on the beach: freshly-churned whiter-than-white Italian if you were lucky, Mr Whippy if you weren’t.

But now more and more of us are making icecream at home, with or without a machine. Most ices and sorbets require beating or whisking regularly as they freeze, to break up the ice crystals.

Ice-cream mixtures that are either very sweet or very alcoholic have a lower freezing point and so take longer to freeze; it is worth bearing in mind that too much sugar or alcohol means the icecream will never freeze. An ice-cream machine not only obviates the need to beat madly, it also reduces the freezing time considerably. Once firm, it is important to allow them time to “develop” - leaving in the freezer for an hour or two after churning. Sorbets and granitas, however, should be served as soon as possible after being made. Ice-creams then require “ripening” - transferring to the fridge to allow their texture to soften and their flavour to mellow - which can take anything from 15 to 50 minutes, depending on quantities you have made.

Ice-cream flavours have come a long way since the choice of vanilla, strawberry or chocolate - with or without a flake, of course. Incidentally, why on earth is it called a 99? Now we can even buy cookie dough, almond coffee swirl or Belgian chocolate from the local corner shop. In restaurants, we are offered anything from tamarillo or gingerbread ice-cream to absurd flavours such as tobacco, horseradish or anchovy.

There are a myriad ice-cream flavours now available in this country. You want an ice-cream with attitude? Why not try Karamel Sutra, Phish Food or Oh My Apple Pie! Or you could go for a more classically British flavour of ice and opt for lemon meringue, blackcurrant, sticky toffee pudding or elderflower frozen yoghurt . But if you can spare a little longer than it takes to walk to your local deli or supermarket, you could try making it yourself. And if you don’t have an all-singing, alldancing ice-cream machine, then there are plenty of recipes out there that require no machine, just a quick beat then a good deal of patience as your freezer works its magic.

Ice-cream treats in other countries range from blueberry cheesecake in the States or soursop in Jamaica to cloudberry in Norway or pistachio kulfi in India. In Catalonia there is Crema Catalana icecream, rather like a frozen creme brulée, with crunchy bits of caramelised sugar stirred through creamy ice-cream. A similar one that I particularly like is New Zealand’s Hokey-pokey ice-cream, a luscious, rich ice-cream studded with broken-up honeycomb or puff-candy. (Think Crunchie bars without the chocolate). Interestingly, in late 19th century Britain, Hokey-pokey men were Italian ice-cream street vendors selling ice-cream wrapped in waxed paper ; the word is meant to be a corruption of “Gelati ! Che un poco”.

Strawberry and elderflower granita

For a more refined texture, push the mixture (after adding the sugar) through a fine sieve to eliminate pips

500g/1 lb 2 oz strawberries, hulled
3 tbsp elderflower cordial
115g/4 oz golden castor sugar


Chop the strawberries and place in a food processor with the cordial. Purée, add the sugar and 250 ml/9 fl oz cold water and blend again. Tip into a shallow freezer container, cover and freeze for two hours until frozen around the edges.

Using a fork, gently stir the crystals into the centre, but don’t beat hard. Freeze for another hour, fork through again, refreeze for a further hour until serving. (Once ready it is best served as soon as possible.)

Puff Candy Ice cream
Serves 6

Known as Hokey-pokey ice-cream in New Zealand, this a delicious and incredibly easy ice-cream made with puff candy which is also known as honeycomb because of all the little holes similar to a honeycomb. First you must make the puff candy which is great fun: it always seems like magic when the “puff” element occurs!

The ice-cream itself is a doddle. The only tricky part is waiting for it to freeze before eating, in large scoops, perhaps with a slosh of hot fudge sauce.

4 heaped tbsp granulated sugar
2 heaped tbsp golden syrup
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
600ml/1 pint tub of double cream, lightly whipped
400g/14 oz tin of condensed milk


In a heavy-based pan, allow the sugar and syrup to dissolve slowly over a low heat, stirring well.

Increase the heat to medium, and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.

Once you see bubbles, reduce the heat slightly and simmer for about three minutes, stirring again constantly until it is a rich golden brown.

Do not allow it to become too dark, as you will have slightly bitter flavour. You are looking for the colour of a crunchie bar.

Remove from the heat and stir in the bicarbonate of soda until it froths up.

Tip immediately into a well-buttered, baking parchment-lined 18cm / 7” shallow tin. (It is really important to butter the base and sides or it will stick.) Leave to cool completely.

To remove, cut into large pieces or bash out the pieces with the end of a rolling pin.

Combine the cream with the condensed milk then stir in the bashed up puff candy.

Turn into a large freezer container and freeze.

(This does not need beating every hour as some ices do.)