As far as I remember, British summertime has been pretty sparse over the last few years and I do so love the sunshine as it’s an excuse to eat lots and lots of ice cream. I remember when I was young (and hot summers were the norm), I used to go to the park with my dad and he’d buy me a 99 flake. I’d always rip off the bottom of the cone, scoop up some ice cream, sprinkle a little flake over the top and present him with a mini ice cream. I used to think that I was presenting him with the biggest treat of his life while I scoffed away at the rest.
I have since moved on from 99 flakes and purchasing ice cream from the back of a van that played the match of the day theme tune over and over again and now my favourite place to buy gelato is Scoop in Covent Garden – worryingly convenient this summer as I work in the vicinity. Also worrying is the fact that not long ago I stumbled upon an ice cream machine that was going spare. Now this is not just some ice cream machine, this is a beast – so last week I thought I would put it to the test. Having a fussy boyfriend, I felt obliged to make one that he would eat as well – after all, I don’t think that even I could get through a whole pot without feeling guilty for not sharing.
I turned to my brand spanking new Gizzi Erskine book for the recipe. Hers used chocolate brownies within the mixture but I was baking a couple of other things on the same day so couldn’t be bothered to make the brownie. I watched as the silky smooth chocolate custard churned away to create a melt in mouth sensation – 40 minutes and my ice cream was ready to place in a Tupperware and enter the depths of my freezer but not for long. Oh no, not for long.
My friend @foodiestgeorge picked up an identical ice cream machine and we have challenged each other to an ‘ice cream off’ over the summer. She is starting with a Rhubarb Crumble flavour from Food Stories – sounds more fancy but will it stand up to the test. I can’t wait to find out.
300ml double cream
150g plain chocolate finely chopped or grated (I like Lindt 70%)
55g golden caster sugar (Billington’s please)
5 large free-range egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, cream and chocolate into a pan until bubbles start to form around the edges
2. In a separate bowl whisk the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract together, then in a slow stream carefully pour in the hot milk, whisking continuously
3. Pour the custard back into the pan and stir whilst cooking fod a minute (or until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon)
4. Strain the custard into a bowl and leave to cool, covered with cling film (I left for 30 mins but don’t think it was cool enough. Gizzi recommends putting into an ice bath)
5. Set up the ice cream machine and pour in the custard. Leave the churn for 40 minutes or until smooth and frozen
6. Transfer to a Tupperware and leave to freeze for at least 2 hours before eating – preferably overnight