Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Honey and Brandy Ice Cream

For this month’s Random Recipe challenge hosted as usual by Dom at Belleau Kitchen I’m going back to the 1980s for a dessert that’s strictly for grown-ups. It’s a remarkably simple and quick ice cream that doesn’t need an ice cream machine and that stays soft enough to be eaten straight from the freezer.

From one of my less-used shelves I randomly picked a slim volume called ‘The London Restaurant Recipe Book’ published in 1983, which features a number of the best-known restaurants of that time. It’s like a window onto a lost age. Alistair Little was still at 192, Stephen Bull was at Lichfield’s, Pierre Koffman was at La Tante Claire and David Bowie had just released ‘Let’s Dance’. French fine cuisine was still the predominant style, although I rather doubt the Frenchness of some of the recipes in this book.

The random page took me to recipes by Patrick Gwynn-Jones of Pomegranates. Mr Gwynn-Jones opened this basement restaurant in Pimlico back in 1974 and it finally closed its doors for good in 2009 shortly after he retired. In all that time the menu remained varied and eclectic but the 1970s décor was never updated. It was said to be the haunt of celebrities and politicians and was reputed to be the ideal place for a discreet assignation. I really can’t vouch for that – I've always been a good boy.
Brandy and Honey Ice Cream
The recipe on the random page is one for ‘Honey and Cognac Ice Cream’. I have to admit that I couldn’t quite afford a good cognac and so that’s why I've called it ‘Honey and Brandy Ice Cream’. I've no reason to doubt that this dish originated in the Pimlico kitchen (essentially it’s a simplified iced parfait recipe) but, in one form or another, it became something of a 1980s classic. It seemed to turn up in many, many different restaurants. For instance, Franco Taruschio made something akin to it at The Walnut Tree and Gary Rhodes used whisky to make a similar dessert. But, although I'd eaten it,  I’d never made it, so I think that’s OK for the rules of Random Recipe. I confess to reducing the quantity and adjusting the ratio of ingredients a little, simply because the recipe seemed to work better for me that way.

This ice cream is very reminiscent of the 1980s in some ways – indulgent, slightly over the top and very boozy. It’s truly delicious and even those who don’t like brandy often seem to love it. But, a bit like a 12 inch single by The Human League, I wouldn’t advise too much of it in one go. This amount should serve eight comfortably unless you have a truly 1980s appetite. The recipe is also open to many variations – I have very fond memories of a heather honey and lowland malt whisky version many years ago.
Brandy and Honey Ice Cream3 eggs, separated
120 g icing sugar
80 ml brandy
130 ml honey
230 ml double cream

Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Gradually add the icing sugar while continuing to whisk until the mixture is very stiff and glossy.

Beat the egg yolks until pale and thickened. Whisk in the brandy and honey. (Make sure that the honey isn’t too cold or this could prove a little tricky).

Whip the cream lightly until it stands in soft peaks. Mix the whites, yolks and cream together, lightly but thoroughly.

Pour into a container, seal and place in the freezer. The original recipe recommends removing the ice cream from the freezer after 2 or 3 hours and remixing it. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it does ensure that the mixture remains even as it freezes and avoids any danger of the cream separating into lumps.

Mr Gwynn-Jones suggests serving this with Langue de Chat and I certainly can’t argue with that. On the other hand, I’d gladly eat it straight out of the freezer container, with or without a spoon.

23 comments:

  1. This sounds deliious, and an ideal recipe for me, as I hate waiting for icecream to soften enough to use. If I want icecream, I want it now, not in 20 minutes time!

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  2. Do you know I think my mum has both this book and made this ice cream! It sounds rather lush and with my love of honey I think it may just get made here in Belleau Kitchen... what a wonderful nostalgia trip back to the '80's! Thanks for taking part and providing me with such a lovely recipe x

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  3. Oh! I make something very similar to this, involving golden syrup and gin (which, err, might not make it that similar after all), but you get my drift. Now, where did my Human League records go...

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  4. Have you been to all the restaurants mentioned?
    I must say I really need to start making ice cream - would be great to have a handy ice cream recipe up your sleeve. Nice easy dessert if people pop round unexpectedly and you happen to have home made ice cream in the freezer.
    I like your serving glass too. And who doesn't love the 80s?

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    1. Sadly I didn't go to them all - most were out of my price bracket. The one I really miss, though, is the Walnut Tree. That was pretty special - although hardly on the doorstep.

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  5. This sounds delicious. A dessert to try this weekend when the family come.

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  6. Mmm... honey and brandy seems like a good combo. I used to have an ice-cream maker in the 80s and make ice-cream all summer. Honey and brandy must taste similar to Marsala wine. Thanks for sharing this recipe.

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  7. Hellos from Istanbul; delighted to find a few spare moments to check posts; this ice cream sounds heavenly. I would love for you to try Turkish ice cream sometime too; it is made with the milk from water buffalos, with some mastic gum in it; it is so thick that you can slice with knife: ) greetings from Istanbul! Ozlem

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  8. Yum! Hooray for random recipes like this. I like the combination of heather honey and whiskey as well. My memories of the '80s are mainly of big hair and too much blue eyeshadow...

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  9. That's TOO Nice to be a Random Recipe Phil! LUCKY you and what a recipe too, I may just steal this idea as I have a nice bottle of cognac sitting on my shelf, as well as some local honey too. Karen

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  10. Delicious and easy - what more can you ask for.

    I really love looking through old cookbooks - they are such great reflections of their time.

    I'm liking the idea of the single malt in there!

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  11. Oh my lord - can you imagine putting a really good cognac in this - blimey! I'll lick the bowl, the beaters and the ice cream maker bowl too!

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  12. Phil, I must admit I am on Twitter. But I thought I was the only person on the planet (at least the only blogger) not on Facebook. Do you really not have a phone? I'm just dazzled and hope you stick to your guns!

    This ice cream looks perfectly scrummy. I am quite fond of putting a splash of alcohol into my ice creams. I so needed a scoop of this today!

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    1. Well, I was trying to explain why I was sometimes so out of touch and so I was really talking about not having a mobile thing. I do have a landline - I even answer it sometimes. I don't really understand what quality T and F would add to my life and I don't understand where people find the time to use them. I suppose I said everything interesting that I had to say years ago and now I just do recipes. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. I love, love, love this ice cream. My father in law makes a similar one with whisky, and as you say, its a strictly adults only dessert. I loved having it with a drizzle of honey on top (I love the texture of honey when it freezes) and paired with a old single malt (my in-laws love good scotches, so I am lucky, my last one was a very good Auchentoshan :)) and the flavours balance out each other like nobody's business!

    I would probably chrun this ice cream, just to get the creamy conistency, but I certainly would eat it all in one go too...

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  14. And the more I think of it, the more I am thining mead to go into it... grrr, Phil, and I was being so good with my no-treat diet too!

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    1. I hadn't thought of mead. That's a really good idea. You're leading me astray, Michelle.

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  15. Dear Phil, I can only image how delicious this ice cream must be. Definitely a nice treat at the end of the day! Blessings, Catherine

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  16. Wow this sounds fantastic and just what I need at the moment to cool my mouth down :-) Diane

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  17. What a great recipe and perfect for us - our (very basic) icecream maker just can't deal with the ambient heat here and fails to freeze the ice cream mix so I gave upon making ice cream. But if this works well in the freezer it looks like delicious desserts are back on the menu! This recipe looks like a keeper :-)

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  18. As a recent convert to whisky in food, I think I'd go for the whisky and honey version which with my 1980s hat on, I would think to be highly sophisticated.

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  19. This is perfect! I can just imagine pairing this up with the caneles. This is a nice treat and the 80's remind me of My Little Pony and Cabbage Patch Kids : )

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  20. You cannot believe my surprise and joy to find this recipe on your site. Not only do I have the book and have been to the restaurant, but I actually worked there with Patrick, for a couple of years. It was a wonderful restaurant, with a wonderful eclectic menu of dishes from around the world, prepared by an 'eclectic' team of chefs. Patrick created a wonderfully stylish and attractive restaurant, enjoyed by many. How lovely to remember what was a happy, hectic but fun time in my life. Will be re-making the icecream tonight - it really was delicious............... but then everything on the menu was. Thank you!!! Sally, now in Portugal

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