More Christmas ice cream and porridge, and exploding cake

Over the last few years, I’ve made Mince pie porridge, Christmas pudding ice cream and Mince pie ice cream for Christmas. This year, I further improved the porridge recipe, and came up with a rather different festive ice cream.

Christmas porridge, version 3

I’ve said it before, but porridge is incredibly versatile; it can be flavoured with almost anything, either sweet or savoury. This Christmas recipe is essentially mince pie flavoured, and serves 2-4, depending on how greedy they are, and whether they can resist second helpings.

Ingredients

  • 150g porridge oats
  • 2-3 heaped tablespoonfuls of ground mixed spice
  • 50-100g mincemeat
  • 280ml brandy double cream (this year’s special extra ingredient)
  • 200ml milk, soya milk or other alternative

Method

  1. Roughly mix the oats and spice in a saucepan, then add in the remaining ingredients
  2. Stir gently over a low heat until the desired thickness is achieved

Serve alone or with milk; here’s a picture. You might be tempted to serve with more of the cream, but you really don’t need it; this is by far the smoothest and richest porridge I’ve made so far with whole oats. However, it probably wouldn’t hurt to add a bit of custard and serve it as dessert rather than breakfast.

Stilton and apricot ice cream

My previous ice creams for Christmas have been sweet, but like porridge, ice cream also works well with savoury flavours. This recipe is somewhere inbetween, and makes about a litre.

Ingredients

  • 250g blue Stilton, crumbled
  • 300ml double cream
  • 120-150g dried apricots, chopped into pea-sized pieces

Method

  1. Close the kitchen door and open the window/turn on the extractor fan, unless you want the whole house to smell of Stilton
  2. Beat the Stilton and a third of the cream together, then mix in the apricots
  3. Whisk the remaining cream until stiff, then fold into the cheese mixture -carefully, to avoid knocking too much of the air out
  4. Freeze in a plastic container, preferably one which can be sealed, to avoid contaminating everything else in the freezer with the wonderful smell

This ice cream sets pretty hard, so remove from the freezer 30 minutes before serving with a good quality scoop.

Peanut butter ice cream

Some people aren’t so keen on savoury ice cream in general, or Stilton in particular, so I also made a sweet flavoured ice cream this year. It’s not specifically Christmas themed, but it is one of the best ice creams I’ve made so far. This makes about 1-1.5 litres.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 200g crunchy peanut butter
  • 395g sweetened condensed milk
  • 125ml single cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 200g honey roasted peanuts

Method

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the sugar and eggs with an electric mixer until thick, and set aside
  2. Pour the milk into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Gradually drizzle the hot milk into the eggs while whisking vigorously
  3. Then pour the egg/milk mixture into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Do not boil
  4. Remove from heat and whisk in the peanut butter. Allow to cool slightly, then mix in the condensed milk, cream and vanilla. Whisk until thick and slightly fluffy
  5. Fold in the peanuts, then freeze into a plastic container
  6. Depending on how thick your mixture is, the peanuts could settle before the ice cream freezes solid, so after an hour or two in the freezer, take it out and give it a good stir, before putting it back for a few more hours

This ice cream is much softer than the Stilton one; mine didn’t need any time out of the freezer before serving. Here’s a picture of both ice creams.

Exploding chocolate cake

I’ve been wanting to make an ice cream containing popping candy for some time, but haven’t yet figured out a way of preventing the candy from getting wet. However, I did manage to add some to the icing on this years Christmas cake, which at least succeeded as a proof of concept. I used the Guaranteed moist chocolate cake recipe for the cake, and I can attest to its name; even a week after baking, the cake is still moist and delicious. Then I iced it with this:

Icing ingredients

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • 25g popping candy

Method

  1. Cream the butter until pale and fluffy
  2. Sift the sugar and cocoa together, then slowly mix into the butter. Beat until uniform
  3. Mix in the popping candy until evenly distributed. Some of it will pop, but the mixture should be dry enough to prevent most of from popping straight away

This is the first time I’ve used popping candy in a recipe, so I don’t know whether I got the proportions right. However, I can tell you that the sooner you eat this after making it, the “poppier” it will be. This is ameliorated somewhat by the relatively dry nature of the icing (there’s no milk or water), but that also makes it hard to work with; it probably took me over an hour to ice my cake. However, there’s still a tiny bit of pop left in it after a week, so I’m counting it as a win. The cherry flavour of the candy I used isn’t detectable either, so I think I’ll try a higher proportion of candy next time, to have a better chance of a long lasting pop. And finally, here’s a picture of the cake.

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