Homemade / Ice, ice cream testing, baby!

With Weymouth basking in 30 degrees C this weekend, and everyone seemingly slurping their way through a 99 cone, I was reminded that I hadn’t blogged about my first foray into recipe testing.

Last September I unselfishly answered a call from Eirlys Penn (former literary publishing guru who now combines her loves of reading, writing and creating from discarded textiles in my former town – which seems an absolute lifetime ago – of Bath) to test three homemade ice cream recipes:

  • lemon curd, ginger and grape nuts
  • apple fool, and
  • honey and tahini.

(Ahhhhhh, life is soooo hard sometimes!!)

'Melt' front cover

Eirlys was involved in the production of what a few weeks ago became Melt, by Claire Kelsey of the Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, published by Simon & Schuster:

One of the brightest talents reinventing ice cream’s image is Claire Kelsey of Ginger’s Comfort Emporium, who serves her irresistible creations from her show-stopping retro van, or at festivals and events across the UK. In Melt, Claire brings us more than 60 of her favourite recipes, ranging from Easy Berry Ripple to Vanilla in a Chocolate Brownie Sandwich, and from crunchy Marmalade on Toast to Olive Oil and Smoked Sea Salt. This is a grown-up ice-cream book with a sense of playfulness. There are naughty flavours, exotic flavours, daring flavours – all perfectly pitched to be genuinely, lip-lickingly gorgeous. There are comforting, curl-up-on-the-sofa recipes, and let’s-try-this-one unusual combinations, so readers will want to sample one ice cream after another. Throughout the book, Claire demystifies the process, revealing how making ice cream, from the familiar to the extraordinary, can be simple and fun.

If you’re not familiar with Claire’s work you can find out more on the Emporium’s Facebook page, or follow the Emporium on Twitter. Claire was also featured in The Telegraph last month.

So which of my three testings do you reckon I liked the best? Here’s the rundown:

Lemon curd, ginger and grape nuts
This one was very sweet, but popular with me, Moo and my mum. We all love lemon curd, which was lucky because I felt it really outweighed the ginger in the final dessert. For me that was fine, because I’m not a massive fan of ginger, but it went too far for my OH. I liked the crunch we got from the grape nuts.

Ice cream

OH didn’t really like the consistency either. I thought it was smooth, and more like frozen yoghurt than ice cream. I liked the fact that it was ‘no churn’, see – I could only brandish a whisk and a wooden spoon!

image

The only thing that I wasn’t sure about in the recipe was whether my cubes of stem ginger were the right size. Maybe they were too small, and that accounted for the only slight taste of ginger in the eating (although you did get a slight gingery kick at the end, which was quite interesting)?

Chopped-up stem ginger

Apple fool
This was easy enough to make. I made the granita and honey oat topping on one day and then made the apple cream part the following day. This was my OH’s favourite – he liked the combination of flavours. It worked for me too – I was intrigued that the granita tasted like Coca Cola, and altogether it was a really different and interesting dessert. It wasn’t Moo’s favourite though (probably not sweet enough!).

The recipe seemed to work out well (although at one point I mistook tablespoon for teaspoon, but realised before I went too far!). Sadly I could only put that down to ‘user error’.

Honey and tahini
After a really straightforward recipe I’m afraid my taste buds just could not get their heads round this one. I think it has something to do with my general aversion to peanut butter, which is what this ice cream reminded us of. The OH, on the other hand, is a big peanut butter fan, and he actually really liked the taste of this one. He agreed with the recipe intro, that it had a Middle Eastern taste, and thought it would go well with a cheeky Amaretto!

So there you go. It was hard work, but fun, and made me try tastes and combinations I wouldn’t usually. And I’d never made ice cream before. If these description have whetted your ice cream-making appetite, you can read more about the book and of course buy it on Amazon (and no, this isn’t a sponsored post!!). Naturally, other online and bricks-and-mortar bookshops are available.

What’s the most bizarre ice cream flavour combination you’ve ever tried?

Sarah x

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