Having done a few posts on this blog up to now, I realised that the majority of them have focused heavily on food of the ‘savoury’ variety. I can’t think why this is – other than the fact that I don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
In any case, I thought I’d redress the balance, and focus this week’s post around a couple of familiar and comforting pudding recipes, starting with the nation’s favourite: Ice Cream.
Ice cream in the UK has had a makeover; we are now blessed with an alluring range of flavours to choose from. Gone are the days of the ubiquitous “raspberry ripple”, “mint choc chip” or “chocolate soft scoop”, to be replaced by a new breed of adventurous concoctions like cardamom and pistachio, bitter almond and salted caramel or double rocky road. Hold on, did somebody say bacon and egg?
References to Heston Blumenthal aside, the UK ice cream market is in rude health. The combination of thick double cream, egg yolks and sweetened condensed milk in this new myriad of flavours is enough to excite anyone.
There are some seriously good ice cream outlets around the UK, nestled away in small market towns throughout the country. Growing up in Scotland, we would often take family trips to Giacopazzi’s in Milnathort, Fife, usually for a gigantic tub of vanilla, with raspberry sauce and ‘sprinkly bits’. More recently, during regular trips to Portugal, my fiancee and I have been blown away by the incredible gelato from Santini’s Gelati in Lisbon.
But before I get all giddy espousing the wonderful qualities of the white stuff I’d like to offer a caveat on some of the underlying issues of commercial ice cream production.
I think it is taken for granted that all ice creams are created equal. Not so. Much of the bulk ice cream packs found on our shelves in the UK, or from any Mr Whippy dispenser, are made with non-dairy fats like vegetable oil or palm oil. In other words, they contain no actual milk content whatsoever.
Added sweeteners, flavours and stabilisers have muddied the waters even further.
Ultimately, this bears little similarity to the real thing, other than the temperature. One could argue that this keeps costs down and prolongs the shelf life of the product but, for me, this compromises on the overall taste.
Therefore, I think we need to exercise due diligence to make sure we’re getting ‘proper’ ice cream as opposed to the cheap stuff that you often see dripping down a drain on a hot summers day.
On that bombshell, I’ve composed one incredible ice cream recipe below* which really does the stuff justice.
Alongside one further pudding recipe.
*ice cream maker not required.
Pistachio ice cream with blueberries
Serves 1 – 2
Recipe for “no-churn Pistachio ice creeeam!”
- 397ml condensed milk
- 600ml double cream
- 80g pistachio nuts, shelled
- A small handful of blueberries
- Place half of the pistachios in a food processor or spice grinder and process until fine. Roughly chop the remaining half.
- Place the double cream and condensed milk in a bowl with the ground pistachios and whisk until thick (an electric whisk would save time).
- Fold in the roughly chopped pistachios and place in a freezer proof container.
- Place in the freezer overnight.
Blueberry and lemon cheesecake
Serves 4 -6
- 200g all-butter shortbread, finely crushed
- 75g ground almonds
- 85g butter, melted
For the filling
- 300g half fat cream cheese
- 300g full fat cream cheese
- 150g sugar
- 250ml pot soured cream
- 4 eggs, 2 egg yolks
- zest and juice of 2 lemons
- blueberries, to serve
- 2 tbsp blueberry or raspberry jam
- Preheat oven to 180C
- To begin making this cheesecake recipe crush shortbread in a food processor, put into a bowl and add the almonds and melted butter.
- Mix well, then press into base of the tin. Put in the fridge while you prepare the filling.
- The filling is easy; just put all the ingredients into the food processor and blitz until well blended.
- Put a double layer of foil around the tin, as you are going to bake the cheesecake in a water bath. Put the lined tin in a roasting tin, pour in the filling, then put it into the oven and pour around 2cm (¾in) boiling water from the kettle into the roasting tin. Bake for 1 hour, then turn off the oven and leave the cake to cool in the oven for 1 to 2 hours. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge overnight.
- For the topping, cook the blueberries with a few spoons of water and the jam in a medium pan for about a minute.
- Leave to cool before pouring on top of the cheesecake.