If you haven’t visited the UK then you may not know what clotted cream is. Like many foods, it’s origins are disputed; some say it came to Britain around 500 BC via trade with Phoenicia, certainly clotted cream is similar to Middle Eastern kaymak cream. Other food historians say it was first served by the Benedictine monks of Tavistock Abbey in the 11th century. Either way, today clotted cream is usually served on scones with strawberry jam as part of an afternoon tea. You can make your own home-made clotted cream if you can’t find it in your local store.
In the last couple of years domestic ice cream makers available in the UK have greatly improved, not only in the capacity but in their capability. There are two types of ice cream maker; the cheaper kind which has a bowl that you need to freeze for 24 hours beforehand, and the more expensive machine which has a built in freezing capacity but is quite a lot more expensive. Perhaps the best one of cheaper variety of ice cream makers is the Cuisinart ICE30BCU, that in the UK sells for around £67 and has a 2 litre capacity. Of the built-in freezer type, the choice (if you can afford it) is Sage by Heston Blumenthal smart scoop Ice Cream Maker, which retails for around £269 though it’s capacity is only half of the Cuisinart ICE30.
But wait, you don’t need a machine to make good ice cream, just a little patience. So if you like vanilla ice cream you will love clotted cream ice cream because the taste is well……. deliciously creamy!!! I’ve been promising my sister this recipe ever since I made it, so I’d better press on.
Clotted Cream Ice Cream © Kevin Ashton 2007-2018
8 egg yokes
250g (10oz) clotted cream
200ml (2/5 pint) milk
300ml (3/5 pint) Double Cream
1 large vanilla pod
100g (4oz) caster sugar
- Place a stainless bowl into one of your freezer compartments.
- Split open your vanilla pod; scrape the seeds into a non-stick medium-sized saucepan.
- Add the pod itself and the milk and cream.
- Bring to a simmer and remove from the heat and allow to stand so the liquid takes on a good vanilla flavour.
- Place your egg yokes in your machine-mixing bowl and add the sugar.
- Whisk the yokes and sugar for a couple of minutes.
- Remove the pod from your cream/milk mixture and save* then whisk the liquid into the egg yokes.
- Pour the mix back into a clean larger non-stick saucepan and put on a medium-high heat. Stir the mixture constantly making sure your spatula/spoon is touching the base of the saucepan. Because this has a high ratio of egg yoke this mix will thicken quickly. It does not need to boil or you will have scrambled eggs.
- Once it has thickened enough to coat the back of your spoon remove from the heat and strain back into your mixing bowl.
- Whisk the custard mix until it is cool and slightly thickened.
- Pour into you frozen bowl and place back in the freezer.
- Allow the custard to begin to freeze and then whisk it to break up the ice crystals then place back in the freezer.
- Once your ice cream is about half set fold in the clotted cream and spoon the mixture into a plastic storage container and freeze.
- This process takes time, but once the freezing process begins you can do other things and come back to it.
*Wash off the empty vanilla pod in very hot water and the allow to dry. Once totally dry then cut into pieces and add to castor to create vanilla sugar.
Florentine Cookies © Kevin Ashton 2007-2018
I have to confess I don’t know the origin of these delicious cookies, however I can tell you the first time I saw them was in Amsterdam many years ago. Florentine cookies were most likely created in the late 17th century kitchens of French royalty in honour of their Tuscan in-laws, because around that time there were quite a few dishes created in France that use the name such as Sole Florentine, or Eggs Florentine. Centuries on Florentines cookies are still enormously popular world-wide.
Ingredients makes 18-20 cookies
100g (4oz) unsalted butter
150g (6oz) caster sugar
50g (2oz) clear honey
70ml ( ¼ cup) double cream
pinch of salt
grated peel of ½ lemon
180g (7oz) sliced almonds
40g (1 ½ oz) finely chopped candied orange peel
10 maraschino cherries halved
100g (4oz) melted dark chocolate 70%
100g (4oz) melted milk chocolate
- Grease 3 baking trays and line with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 175 C gas mark 3 ½).
- Mix the butter, honey, cream, salt and lemon peel in a medium non-stick saucepan.
- Bring to the boil and then cook on a low simmer for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and leaves the sides of the saucepan.
- Remove from the heat and add the sliced almonds and candied orange peel.
- Place heaped teaspoons of mixture onto the prepared baking trays spacing them well apart then flatten them slightly using the wet back of a spoon.
- Bake the Florentines for 10 minutes or until they are golden brown.
- Press a drained half cherry on each cookie after you take them out of the oven.
- Allow to cool for 2-3 minutes then use a oiled cookie cutter to make the cookies circular (if necessary) then transfer to a cooling rack and allow to cool fully.
- Spread some of the dark chocolate onto half the cookies on the non-cherry side, then use the milk chocolate to coat the remaining cookies.
- Just before the chocolate sets use a fork to make a swirl pattern on them.
Whenever you are melting chocolate it is better to use a silicone bowl if you have one. This is because glass & metal hold more heat making it easier to over heat the chocolate. You can either melt your chocolate in a microwave, using short blasts for 20-30 seconds at a time until smooth and melted. Keep the chocolate warm by covering with cling film. Or if you melt your chocolate over hot water remove the saucepan from the heat as soon as the chocolate begins to melt. Having an accurate thermometer to check the temperature is very useful.
Serving homemade ice cream does require you to put it in the fridge for about 10-15 minutes before, to make it soft enough to scoop. However, the taste and the texture will make it all worth it. I have to confess when I made this ice cream for a family lunch I ended up quietly taking home the leftovers when no one was looking!!!
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