We’re having a Christmas in July dinner this weekend. It’s the kind of thing those of us living in the Southern Hemisphere take joy in doing because it’s a legitimate time to eat excessive amounts of food with a fire burning in the background. December just doesn’t allow for that here. Christmas in July is a very broad term for what I’ll be serving on Saturday but I’ve made up for it with dessert. I’m making pear and panettone pudding and serving it with this Christmas ice cream. I know that many of you are fans of the traditional Christmas cake. I am not. It is my worst type of cake and I only make it every year because it makes the house smell so fabulously of Christmas. I then give it away. As fast as I can.
So the choice of Christmas ice cream is a little unusual for me. I’m not a fan of raisins, except when accompanied by salty peanuts, but this ice cream is such a winner I may have to rethink my stance on the subject. It has all the flavours of Christmas, plus the soaked raisins, that lift my mood the way only Christmas can. The recipe comes from a Delicious magazine, Christmas issue (2009) (I seem to have a few Christmas editions, Christmas being my favourite time of year and all) but I’ve adapted it in some ways. I cooked the raisins in the brandy and orange juice and zest for 10 minutes before allowing it to cool and sit overnight. I think this just gives the raisins an edge and moistness that would be lacking if you just soaked them. I also added the mixed spice to this mix to infuse before adding it to the ice cream. (The original recipe says to add the mixed spice to the almost perfectly churned custard.) Finally I added the raisins in at the beginning of the churning process. This is probably not the best idea if you ice cream machine is electric and violent but mine is ancient and requires me to turn it in the frozen cylinder so no harm done. I recommend just adding the raisin mix in at the end (as suggested in the magazine) to avoid any of the stress caused by early addition.
This would make a great addition to your Christmas menu if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere. Perfect for Christmas Day lunch, after a braai…
Christmas Ice Cream
Adapted from Delicious Magazine (December 2009)
150g cake mix (raisins, sultanas)
juice and zest of one orange
1 teaspoon of mixed spice
500g single cream (also known as ‘fresh cream’)
250ml full cream milk
1 vanilla pod
2 cinnamon sticks
6 large egg yolks
110g caster sugar
300ml double cream
So, first thing, put the cake mix, brandy, orange juice and zest into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Add in the mixed spice and set aside to cool.
In a pan, heat the single cream, milk, vanilla and cinnamon til scalding point. In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks and sugar. Once the milk is scalding, pour some of it into the egg mixture. Whisk this to incorporate and then pour this back into the pan with the rest of the milk. Cook to 72C, the stage where the custard has thickened and can coat the back of a spoon.
Strain into a clean bowl, cover the top with cling film and allow to cool to room temperature.
Unfortunately you have to wait until tomorrow to continue with your ice-cream making. Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, refrigerate overnight. When the raisin/brandy mix is cool, cover with clingfilm and leave to develop flavour overnight too. This doesn’t need to be refrigerated but you can if you’re so inclined.
The next day, remove the custard from the fridge. Lightly whip the double cream to soft peak stage. Fold the double cream into the custard in two stages making sure it is thoroughly mixed. At this point you can add in the raisin mix or you can wait until it’s almost fully churned to do so.
Churn according to your ice-cream machines instructions.* Freeze until firm (about 4 hours or so).
Eat in large quantities, either on it’s own or with pear and panettone pudding.
*If you don’t have an ice cream machine I’ve heard you can freeze such ice creams in plastic tubs, putting clingfilm over the top to prevent a skin from forming and removing from the freezer to beat every 2-3 hours (so as to break down the ice crystals). Make sure to remove the clingfilm before beating and you’ll need to beat about 3 times or so before allowing the ice cream to freeze thoroughly. I haven’t tried this method so I can’t comment on it’s effectiveness… If you have, let me know how it works!