Who could have thought that that image would bring joy and hope into the New Year reveller’s heart, eh? Still, we’re here now, not lying soused in a snow drift watched over by a broom and a truncheon-happy bobby – at least I’m not, but with your smartphones and all, who knows where you are? – so let’s count our blessings and crack on, shall we? This second Bumper Holiday Special deals with Mince Pie Ice Cream, Cinnamon Meringues, and some rather sketchier ideas to use up your leftovers: Leftover Turnovers and a Stilton tart.
Mince Pie Ice Cream
This a bit of a misnomer as there’s no pastry involvement in this ice cream, but I didn’t think ‘Mincemeat Ripple Ice Cream’ sounded all that appetising. If you too have too much mincemeat and your enthusiasm for mince pies is waning, you could give this a go:
- 300ml milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 100g sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 250ml double cream (leave this in the fridge till you need it)
- 1tbsp brandy
- 3 tbsp mincemeat
You will also need:
an ice cream maker
a freezable container which will hold about 1l
an electric whisk will be useful
Start by heating the mincemeat gently in a pan – if your mincemeat doesn’t include suet you can exclude this step, but otherwise you’ll want to make sure you get it melted before you start. Once it’s heated through and melted, set aside and leave to cool.
Infuse the milk with the vanilla by heating them gently together with half the sugar until small bubbles appear, but the milk isn’t quite boiling. Set aside for at least 15 minutes.
Beat the egg yolks together with the remaining sugar until the mixture is pale. Reheat the milk until boiling then pour in a thin stream on to the egg mixture, whisking the whole time.
At this point, run yourself a sink full of cold water.
Now you need to heat the custard until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, so that a horizontal line drawn across the back of the spoon stays clear. The recipe I was working from strongly suggests you do this in a basin over boiling water unless you have an accurate thermometer which will tell you when your custard reaches 85C, in which case you can set it directly over a gentle heat.
This is how I found out I don’t have an accurate thermometer.
The custard was beginning to curdle at this point, but the thermometer was trying to tell me that the temperature was about 55C. Hm.
The way to deal with a curdling custard is to put the pan into your sink of cold water and keep beating. Worked for me… At any rate, whether it’s curdled along the way or not, when your custard has met the back-of-the-spoon test, put your pan in the cold water so that it stops heating up.
Now allow the custard to cool down, then chill in the fridge until cool. Now fish out the vanilla pod, split it with a knife, scrape out the seeds, and stir in to the custard. Stir in the brandy and the double cream and you’re ready to put the mixture into your ice cream maker:
Once the ice cream has got to the normal ‘soft-serve’ consistency, stop the machine. Spoon into the container, alternating a big spoon’s worth of ice cream and a little spoon’s worth of mincemeat.
Now freeze until you’re ready to eat.
You’ll note that our last recipe uses 3 egg yolks. This gives you an opportunity to make meringues while feeling virtuous and good for not wasting food.
There would be very little sense in my writing out all of this when there’s a perfectly good recipe for Swiss Meringues that I followed over at the Channel 4, right? The only thing I have to add is that to convert this plain meringue into a cinnamon meringue, you should mix half a teaspoon’s worth of cinnamon into the sugar when you measure the sugar out, then continue as per normal.
The ice cream and the meringues go nicely together as a dessert. Before I go on to my sketchier savoury recipes, there’s a couple more things to note. For my basic ice cream recipe I used the recipe for ‘French Vanilla Ice Cream’ from Ices: The Definitive Guide by Caroline Liddell and Robin Weir, which I whole-heartedly recommend should you be looking for an ice cream book. You might be tempted to add more brandy, but I wouldn’t: you get the taste of it from this small amount, and alcohol affects the freezing temperature of ice cream, making it more difficult for you to make sure it freezes. You can see that my ice cream looks an unexpected beige colour – this is because it turns out I didn’t have the vanilla bean I thought I had, but did have vanilla powder. Not really recommended.
Now we move on to two recipes which I didn’t take pictures of because I wasn’t intending for them to end up here, but they used up leftovers and got good reviews, and someone else might find them useful, so here we are. I warn you that measurements are going to be sketchy…
- 1 packet of chilled puff pastry
- leftover roast turkey (about 150g?)
- leftover bacon – around 4 rashers
- 1 large onion
- 0.5 tbsp butter, 0.5 tbsp oil for frying
- I dessertspoon of capers
- small bunch of parsley, chopped
- 1tsp Dijon mustard
- 2-3 tbsp double cream, enough to coat your ingredients.
Fry the onions in the butter and oil until soft and slightly golden.
Mix all other filling ingredients together, season with salt and pepper.
Roll out the pastry, divide into four and form into pasty-like shapes with the filling inside. Bake according to the packet instructions – mine was at 180C for 20 minutes.
Stilton and Chestnut Tart
100g plain flour
50g chilled butter, cut into cubes
pinch of salt
1-2 tbsp iced water
1 egg yolk
beaten egg or egg white
a hand-sized piece of stilton, about 1 inch think
one pack vacuum-packed chestnuts, each chestnut cut into quarters.
one small-medium onion, chopped
Small amount of butter for frying
120g double cream
You’ll also need
A food processor
20cm flan tin, greased
Set your oven to 180C.
Pulse the flour, butter and salt together in a food processor until the mixture looks like bread crumbs. Set the blade running slowly, tip in the egg yolk, and then enough of the water to make the pastry just come together. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge – preferably for an hour, but if I’m honest with me it’s normally more like 20 minutes to half an hour, and it normally does okay.
Roll out the pastry and line your flan tin with it. Cover the pastry with tin foil and then fill with the baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes. Once you’ve taken it out of the oven and taken out the foil and beans, brush the pastry with the egg.
Fry the onions in the butter until soft and slightly golden. Lay the fried onion on the base of the tart. Crumble the Stilton over, then scatter the chestnut quarters over. Beat the eggs, milk and cream together, then pour over the tart.
Bake the tart for 30 minutes or until golden and set.