In the week leading up to the party, we made eight different ice creams with loads of accompaniments for our sixteen guests. It was a big blur of custard making, chilling, churning and freezing.
Here's the ice-cream maker, in a snazzy metallic red. My old ice-cream maker is a one-litre Breville Scoop Factory ice-cream maker (it's about ten years old now, I think, and still chugging along!) Both work the same way: you have a chiller bowl (kept in the freezer between churns), which rotates in the machine with a paddle to churn the ice-cream. Because the bowl needs to be completely frozen before churning, you can only make one ice-cream at a time. Although if you happen to have two machines, you can make two at once! Wahey!
Because the machines are both so similar, I didn't see a huge difference in the quality or results. The main bonus of the Cuisinart is that it has a 2-litre bowl, so I can churn more mixture at once. The downside of this, though, is that it seems to take quite a bit longer than the smaller Breville Scoop Factory to churn the ice cream - about twenty minutes as opposed to ten. (This wasn't a huge deal, as churned ice-creams need to sit in the freezer for a good few hours to firm up before eating anyway).
The Ice Creams
Vanilla Ice Cream
Chocolate Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream
Cheesecake Ice Cream
Chestnut Ice Cream
Cheesecake Ice Cream
Chestnut Ice Cream
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Pandan and Toasted Coconut Sherbert
Of the eight ice-creams, we tried to get a mix of classic flavours and some more exotic ones, whilst also trying to make sure they'd match well together. (Recipe sources are listed as a caption underneath each picture.)
|Vanilla Ice Cream - Nigella Lawson's How to Eat|
|"The World's Best Chocolate Ice-Cream" - Nigella Lawson's How to Eat|
|Strawberry Ice Cream - Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer|
I'm always impressed by how vibrantly Nigella's strawberry ice cream actually tastes of strawberries, and tends to scoop pretty easily, despite being a fruit-based ice cream. (As a general rule: fruits = water = an icy hard result). The strawberries in questions were actually ones we picked by hand at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm about a month ago - I'd carefully cleaned, hulled and measured them out, and stashed them in the freezer for just this purpose.
|Cheesecake Ice Cream - Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer|
|Chestnut Ice Cream - BBC Good Food website|
|Salted Caramel Ice Cream - David Lebovitz' Ready for Dessert|
|Mango Sorbet; Toasted Coconut & Pandan Sherbert|
(both adapted from recipes in David Lebovitz' Ready for Dessert)
The Serving Bowls
I got to use all the funky ice cream paraphernalia that I'd gotten for Christmas - I love the pastel-coloured metal bowls especially, but the stripey paper cups and sundae glasses were pretty awesome too!
Meringues (plain, cocoa, blue)
Lindt Chocolate Flakes
Salted Candied Peanuts (David Lebovitz recipe)
Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce (Nigella recipe)
|Toasted Pecans, Shredded Coconut, Lindt Chocolate Flakes|
Most of the ice creams we made were based on egg-yolk custards... which meant lots of leftover egg whites! So I made a massive batch of meringues the night before - I divided the mixture into three, and made plain ones, cocoa ones, and baby blue ones.
|Meringues - cocoa, plain|
|Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge Sauce - Nigella Express|
The chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce from Nigella Express (recipe here) is insanely delicious! Very rich, sweet and decadent - but still compulsive. (Towards the end of the day, I even saw one of my friends dip meringues into the sauce to eat it! Woah - sugar overload!) Nigella suggests serving the sauce with ice-cream and salted peanuts, but why just have salted peanuts, when you can have...
David Lebovitz' truly amazing salted candied peanuts! I cannot overemphasize how good they are! I made them the night before, and it was so hard not eating them all before the party started! (I've previously made them with macadamias - also fabulous). I can't believe I only made one cup of peanuts - despite the huge amount of other sweet treats on offer, people couldn't seem to get enough of these and they were the first thing to finish up. The next day, we even made a double batch of these to give to my dad and my aunt who only managed to have a little bit at the party.
I found it really interesting seeing how everyone approached the ice cream buffet. (Are there three more beautiful words in the English language?) Most people tried a spoon of each one and then went back for their favourites; some carefully considered the labels and then carefully selected their flavours - and all the while there was lots of discussion of the different flavours and toppings. Yay!
Although most people just made up little bowls of mixed flavours for themselves, we did make some 'proper' sundaes too - let's check them out!
|Neapolitan - chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice-creams with whipped cream and chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce|
|Mont Blanc - Crushed meringues, chestnut ice-cream, whipped cream and chocolate flakes|
|Eton Mess - Whipped cream, crushed meringues, strawberries, chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce|
|The "Georgina" Special - Salted caramel ice-cream, chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce, salted candied peanuts|
Perhaps the most on-trend ice-cream sundae of the day!
|Affogato - Vanilla bean ice-cream and espresso|
|The "I Can't Decide" - Vanilla, salted caramel, chocolate and cheesecake ice-creams with chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce and salted candied peanuts|
|Everything tastes better with whipped cream|
Left: topped with crushed meringues
Right: topped with chocolate peanut butter fudge sauce & chocolate flakes
What a super-fun day! Big thanks to my friends and family for being so enthusiastic about the ice creams!
Sarah received the Cuisinart 2 Lt Frozen Yoghurt, Sorbet & Ice Cream Maker courtesy of Kitchenware Direct.