Cognac and Raisins Ice-Cream
This is supposed to be my favourite time of year... If I were back in the UK, I would be cooking hearty stews and casseroles, baking seasonal goods, inviting friends over for some mulled wine and home-made sweet mince pies, you know, the rest of the festivities. Not that I cannot make stews or mulled wine here, but being in a tropical country where I am at the moment, it's just not the same... well, there's tropical thunderstorm every now and then, but that's not enough for me to crave a bowl of stew.
People say nobody comes to England for the weather, but that's exactly one of the reasons I love England.... its gloomy weather. Forget the sun, the white sandy beaches, coconut trees, etc... **** it, I want grey, cloudy, damp, snowy day! Yes, I am feeling homesick. I know It's a weird thing to say when I am at 'home', referring to the place where I was born... Saying that, I haven't actually live here for over ten years and even though I am physically here, my heart is a few thousand miles away. I look forward to coming back home, hopefully soon.
Anyway, enough with my rant... now to this delectable cognac and raisins ice-cream. I think this is my way of comforting myself with all those familiar flavours, but very much enjoyable in this hot climate. But to be honest, I would still eat ice-cream even in the coldest winter's day. Perhaps, I could also call this "sweet mince pie ice-cream" because that's exactly what it tastes like. Utterly delicious.
Making home-made ice cream is easy, especially if you have an ice-cream maker. But like me, if you don't have an ice-cream machine, do not worry. Just follow my simple instructions below.
Cognac and Raisins Ice-Cream
50 g raisins
50 g golden raisins
100 ml cognac
80 g caster sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon corn flour
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
450 ml milk
the zest of 1 orange
300 ml double cream
toasted flaked almonds, for sprinkling (optional)
Start the night before by macerating the raisins and cognac in a bowl. The next day, strain the plump and drunk raisins and set aside the leftover cognac for the custard.
To make the custard, bring the milk to a simmering point on a low heat. In another bowl, whisk the yolks, sugar, vanilla seeds, ground cinnamon and corn flour until well blended. Slowly pour the hot milk on to the yolk mixture, whisking all the time.
Return this mixture to the pan and over a low heat, gently stir with a wooden spoon until thickened. This might take ten minutes. You know the custard is thick enough when you can draw a line on the back of the wooden spoon. Take the custard off the heat and let it cool. Add the reserved cognac and stir. Cover the top of the custard to prevent skin forming.
When the custard is cold, start whipping the double cream and orange zest until it's firm but still soft. Fold in the cold custard. Now, if you have an ice-cream maker, simply put this mixture in it and churn away... Otherwise, put the custard mixture in a container and then to the freezer. Every hour or so, take the ice-cream out and whisk. This is necessary so that you won't get ice crystals and to ensure the ice cream is smooth. Do this two or three times and then let the ice-cream freeze completely.
Scoop the ice-cream into a bowl and sprinkle with some toasted flaked almonds if you wish, or some crushed amaretti biscuits will be nice too.
See more recipes at my other blog, Me, My Food and I at www.michaeltoa.blogspot.com