Stem ginger and clotted cream ice cream with rhubarb compote

Stem ginger and clotted cream ice cream with rhubarb compote

My ever-beloved Nigella has often written about her mantra of “I may be extravagant, but never am I wasteful”. This is a sentiment I took to heart when I made this, as while it’s undeniably indulgent, it involved using ingredients which may have gone to waste otherwise.

As is often necessary after the festive season, I became a bit of a self-styled Queen of the Leftovers at the beginning of January, tailoring almost every meal around what was left in the fridge (even more so than usual). Among the leftovers this year was an unopened tub of Cornish clotted cream, which Owen’s mum brought for us – among other gifts – when she came to stay over Christmas. We both love clotted cream (who doesn’t), but knew we were unlikely to use it before it went out of date a few days after New Year. So, I decided to make ice cream, the idea being that I could stash it in the freezer until we could face eating pudding again (bearing in mind we’d only just finished the infamous New Year cheesecake). I went Googling for inspiration, and settled on stem ginger ice cream.

As luck would have it, I also found a lone bag of rhubarb in the reduced fruit and veg section when I went shopping. Rhubarb and ginger are notoriously tasty bedfellows, so I took the opportunity to make a rhubarb compote to go with the ice cream. This was also stashed in the freezer.

I had a 227g tub of clotted cream, which made a large amount of custard. I therefore had to churn the ice cream in two batches as it wouldn’t all fit in my ice cream maker. To make things simpler, the recipe below gives the amounts for one batch of ice cream.

Clotted cream and rhubarb

Stem ginger and clotted cream ice cream

Ingredients

  • 115g clotted cream
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 2 egg yolks (you can freeze the whites for use in something else)
  • 70g caster sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • About 50g stem ginger from a jar, chopped into small pieces (this is equivalent to about three or four balls of stem ginger)
  • 2 or 3 tablespoonsful of stem ginger syrup from the jar

Add the cream and milk to a pan and heat together gently, stirring as you go, until almost boiling but not quite. Turn off the heat and set aside.

Add the sugar, salt and egg yolks to a bowl and beat together until the mixture turns a pale shade of yellow.

Gradually add the heated milk and cream mixture to the bowl, a ladleful at a time, whisking as you go. You want to do this carefully so the eggs don’t scramble with the heat.

Once all the mixture is combined, return it to the pan and heat it gently again until it is of a consistency which coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Put the mixture into a bowl and allow it to chill thoroughly. Once chilled, put it in an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Once the ice cream has churned, fold in the stem ginger pieces and syrup. Scrape it into a container and put it in the freezer until you’re ready to eat it. (It’ll probably need at least a few hours to firm up properly).

Rhubarb compote

Ingredients

  • 400g rhubarb
  • 40g caster sugar
  • A tiny splash of water (and I mean really tiny – the rhubarb will leak a lot of liquid)

Chop the rhubarb into pieces about an inch long and add to a pan along with the sugar and water. Heat on a medium heat, stirring regularly until the rhubarb is soft, but still has some shape. You could add more sugar to taste if you like.

Rhubarb

If freezing, transfer the stewed rhubarb (stewbarb) into a container with a lid and chuck it in the freezer.

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Lavender ice cream

A few months ago, I impulse-purchased an ice cream machine (as if there’s any other way to buy an ice cream machine). It wasn’t an impulse purchase in the sense that I just decided to buy it on the spot, but more that I managed to convince myself over the course of about five days that this was something I needed in my life and, after looking at lots of online reviews, finally bought one on Amazon. Sadly, I’ve only actually used it once up until now (to make lemon and elderflower sorbet).

I think the idea when you own an ice cream machine is to try out lots of weird and wonderful flavours because, let’s face it, if you want vanilla or mint choc chip then you may as well nip to Sainsbury’s and buy a decent tub of it instead of faffing around waiting for it to churn at home. With this in mind, I borrowed this book from the library the other day:

This is the official book released by The Icecreamists, who sell ice cream from their base in Covent Garden. They’re the ones who ‘controversially’ sold breast milk ice cream under the name of ‘Baby Gaga’ and incurred the wrath of Lady Gaga as a result. (Personally, I’d have called it ‘Simply the Breast’, but I suppose that would risk pissing off Tina Turner and nobody needs that kind of hassle.)

This book is worth getting your hands on even if it’s just for the photography alone- it’s like ice cream porn. It’s also got lots of interesting ideas for flavours with catchy names such as ‘Doughnut Stop Believin’ (jammy doughnut), Glastonberry (seasonal berries) and ‘Lenin and Lime’ (gin and tonic). I chose to try their lavender ice cream first as I’ve wanted to make lavender ice cream for a while. We also happen to have a lavender farm in Kent called Castle Farm, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to use some local produce and support a local business. They have an online shop as well as a farm shop, and I ordered some lavender essence as well as some nice ‘sleepy’ lavender tea. I would have bought the lavender honey from here as well, but they only sell it in the actual farm shop and I haven’t had chance to visit in person yet- I may wait until next summer and do a proper tour of the farm (which I know sounds really boring to most people but I love a bit of that kind of thing). Besides, I can get lavender honey in Sainsbury’s so it’s not the end of the world. The Sainsbury’s lavender honey comes from Spain though, so there goes any sense of smugness I originally had about buying local. Also, my desire to make my ice cream look all posh and inviting in the photos led me to buy some culinary lavender to scatter over the top of it. While this came from a local health food shop, the lavender itself came from the Cotswolds, so again, not as locally sourced as it could be. Never mind…

So here’s the recipe, adapted slightly from the one in The Icecreamists’ book:

Ingredients

  • 250ml full fat milk (And I definitely mean full fat)
  • 125ml double cream
  • 2 egg yolks, from fresh, free range eggs (you can freeze the whites to be used in something else)
  • 88g caster sugar
  • Four drops of lavender essence
  • 1 tablespoonful of lavender honey
  • Purple food colouring (optional- I didn’t bother)

Put the milk and cream in a pan and heat very gently on a low heat until it’s just starting to steam, but not boil. Take off the heat and set aside.

In a bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until they’re pale and fluffy. Very gradually add the warm cream/ milk mixture, whisking as constantly as you can to stop the eggs scrambling. I’d say it would be best to make sure your eggs are at room temperature before you start, but mine came straight from the fridge on this occasion and they were okay. Perhaps I was just lucky though.

Add the mixture back to the pan and put on a low heat again (without allowing it to boil). Add the lavender essence, honey and food colouring (if using) and stir until dissolved. I found that where I’d been whisking the mixture, it had frothed up on the top a bit. I’m not sure how to avoid this, but I skimmed the froth off with a spoon and carried on from there. Once you’ve turned off the heat, put the mixture in a bowl and cover with cling film. When the mixture has cooled sufficiently, put it in the fridge until thoroughly chilled.

When your mixture is chilled, put it in your ice cream maker and churn according to the instructions. I have one of these Kenwood ones and I keep the bowl in the freezer so it’s ready whenever I want to make ice cream (which I’ve promised myself I will do more often). This ice cream took about 25-30 minutes to churn. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, put the mixture in a tub and freeze. About once an hour or so, churn the mixture with a spatula to remove any ice crystals.

Once the ice cream is looking smooth and ice cream-y and looks like it has increased in size, scrape it into a tub with a lid and pop it in the freezer for a few hours. Take it out of the freezer a few minutes before you want to serve it so that it’s a good scooping consistency. Decorate with lavender flowers if you’re that way inclined (I was).

The verdict

I was actually really pleased with how this turned out. I was a bit concerned that I’d end up with something that either tasted like the inside of an old lady’s knicker drawer or of nothing at all. However, the four drops of lavender essence and spoonful of honey seemed to give just the right hint of lavender flavour without being overwhelming. This was nice as it was, but I think it would also be nice with some lavender honey or melted dark bitter chocolate drizzled over it.