Nov 17, 2012

The Boozy Ice Cream Season

For many of us this time of year is when we have to wrap up warm and keep out the cold. Hence why so many people like a little 'tipple' of alcohol to warm them up. It's a well known fact that alcohol raises the body temperature, as evidenced in the amazing story of Titanic survivor Charles Joughin which you can read here.

Returning to the present day and the inclination of many to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, have you ever tried boozy ice cream? I'm not talking about an ice cream that gets you drunk, no .... I'm referring to the many delicious recipes out there for making ice cream with an alcoholic content.

Take for example rum. I have a fabulous recipe for coffee rum and walnut ice cream. It only requires 4 tablespoons of rum which, when diluted into a mix of 1/2 pint cream and 1/2 pint milk really isn't enough to get you tipsy! However, it's the taste .... oh and what a taste! It's a perfect ice cream for after dinner on a winter's evening. And if your guests want a little more rum, just serve a tot alongside their after dinner coffee. Now there's an idea :)

Tip: Getting the measure of how much alcohol to put into an ice cream mix can be tricky. Too much alcoholic content will stop the mixture from freezing sufficiently and so risk spoiling the texture. Too little of course and you don't get enough of the flavor coming through. So it's great to have tried and tested recipes to follow - like mine! Good luck and I hope you enjoy your boozy ice cream.

Extra Tip: This recipe makes for a great homemade ice cream to serve over the Thanksgiving holiday. You can read more about ideas for Thanksgiving ice cream on my main site. Enjoy!

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Nov 13, 2012

Sloe sloe quick quick sloe!

Fruit and alcohol are 2 great ingredients for ice cream making. Usually I make ice cream with some freshly picked fruit OR a touch of alcohol but sometimes it's great to include both :)

This is a great example for making sorbet:

Sloe gin and berry sorbet - this recipe was inspired by a friend who made some sloe gin. If you've never tried sloe gin you might be pleasantly surprised - I was! This particular homemade sloe gin was a rich color, almost terracotta and tasted really good. You can see it in the picture below in between the blackcurrants and redcurrants. The fruit was picked fresh from my own garden. Now that's what I call a batch of 'homemade' ingredients!

So how did I develop the recipe? Well, I took one of my other fruit-based sorbet recipes and worked out the amount of sloe gin I would need to use to make a good sorbet. Balancing the amount of alcohol with sugar and water (which make the sugar syrup so important to a good sorbet) is not always easy because both the flavor and texture of the sorbet can be greatly affected by too much or too little of either.

Anyway, my sloe gin sorbet worked out a treat and I'm delighted to offer you the chance to try my recipe here. If you visit the page you'll also get to see the sorbet freezing as it's being batched in my ice cream maker courtesy of a little video clip I made.

I'd be pleased to hear your thoughts on what makes a good, unusual sorbet. There's so much to choose from when it comes to sorbet ingredients - wine, fruit, spices, herbs and more.

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Nov 11, 2012

Gelato Love

When you love ice cream as much as I do it's great to see someone else with enthusiasm on the same subject. I love the way that social media interaction allows people to share their ideas and their passion for things and I was browsing on Google+ earlier when I came across a great article called The Beginners Guide to Gelato. Clearly written by someone with a real interest in ice cream it's well worth reading - check out the full post here.

Now that's serious ice cream cone!

I first wrote about gelato many years ago and, having been to Italy and tasted 'real' Italian gelato, I can tell you it is quite different to what we all generally call  'ice cream'. It's important to understand the difference and my gelato page helps de-mystify it. Not everyone can get to go to Italy to try gelato though, so the next best thing is to find a good local ice cream parlor which makes its own gelato OR you can even make some at home. It may not be exactly like the master ice cream makers of Italy make but it's still a tasty treat and fun to make.