Seriously cool: Chill out with these exotic ice-cream creations

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Indy Lifestyle Online

It looks like we're in for a long, hot summer, so it's time to get the ice-cream machine out and dust off the cobwebs. This year there are some Indian and Middle-Eastern influences flavouring my ice-creams, with ingredients such as rose water and cardamoms, Turkish Delight, perhaps even a hint of saffron adding an exotic touch. There is no end to the fun you can have with ice-creams, sorbets and granitas. Those ice-cream bars on the high street are good places for inspiration, although the quality isn't always up to scratch.

I also get the feeling that the good old knickerbocker glory and the sundae are going to make a comeback; they have been seaside staples for many years, but have been kept out of the capital – until now. Mark Broadbent, the chef at Bluebird in Chelsea, made a knickerbocker glory on the recent Great British Menu competition.

You can get really creative and arty with sundaes and coupes. Get your posh tall glasses out of the cupboard, dig out some of your old silverware – and perhaps mix them up around the table. Let's give the knickerbocker glory – or knickerbox, as Broadbent puts it – a new lease of life.

Turkish Delight ice-cream

Serves 6-8 (makes about 1 litre)

You can serve this ice-cream in various ways or just on its own. It would go really well with a fruit salad of, say, mangoes and papaya tossed with chopped, preserved stem ginger and its syrup; a bowl of fresh strawberries or raspberries; or even make it into a kind of Turkish knickerbocker glory with some cream or yoghurt and some crunched-up baklavas.

450ml full cream milk such as gold top, Guernsey or Jerse
50ml rose water
400ml Jersey or clotted cream or a mixture
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
200g good-quality Turkish Delight, chopped, with the excess sugar dusted off
70g shelled weight of pistachios

Bring the milk to the boil and remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together and then pour the milk on and whisk well. Return the mixture to the pan on a low heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly using a whisk, but making sure that it does not boil.

Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and rose water. Leave to cool and then churn in the ice-cream machine. Fold in the chopped Turkish Delight and pistachio, either in the machine or out, then transfer into an airtight container and freeze.

Mint choc chip sandwich

Makes 8-10

I used to love ice-cream wafers as a kid, although at that age I was oblivious to the dodgy quality of the ingredients. This is a kind of cross between a choc ice and one of those ice-cream wafers – and it makes a fun dessert for kids and grown-ups. You could also cut them into small pieces and pierce them with a cocktail stick for a party dessert.

450ml milk
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
400ml Jersey or clotted cream or a mixture
600g dark chocolate
A couple of handfuls of mint leaves

Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together, then pour the milk on and whisk well. Return to the pan on a low heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly using a whisk (don't let it boil). Remove from the heat, whisk in the cream and leave to cool. Churn four-fifths of the mixture in an ice-cream machine.

Meanwhile, bring a small pan of water to the boil and blanch the mint leaves for 15 seconds, then drain and refresh under the cold tap. Squeeze out any excess water then blend the leaves in a liquidiser with the extra fifth of the cream mixture. When the main mixture begins to freeze in the machine, add the mint mixture and continue churning. Chop half of the chocolate into small pieces and add to the ice-cream mixture. Remove from the machine and transfer to a 2-3cm-deep tray lined with clingfilm or greaseproof paper, cover with clingfilm and place in the freezer for a couple of hours or so until the mixture is firm.

Melt the rest of the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Line a tray with greaseproof or silicone paper and pour and spread the chocolate to about ¼cm thick and leave to set.

When the ice-cream is firm, cut it into 5in x 2in-sized slabs, squares or rectangles and return to the freezer. Dip a knife into boiling water, dry it with a tea towel and cut the chocolate in to the same sized pieces as the ice-cream. Sandwich them together and return to the freezer until required.

Perry jelly with summer fruits and elderflower ice-cream

Serves 4

Many of the younger generation may well not remember what perry is. If I say Babycham, then that might just give you a clue, although my spellcheck doesn't even acknowledge that girlie drink of the Sixties. If you've been watching the Great British Menu on telly, you will have seen me pressing pears down at Kevin Minchew's place to make perry. In crude terms, it's pear cider, although like cider, the name perry should stand for itself as a drink.

As I was representing the West Country, I had to put my thinking cap on for the pudding course. Cider seemed a bit too obvious, and I was inspired by those guys down in the west, like Kevin and James Marsden from Greg's Pit Farm, who keep on pressing those pears. Oh, and another person I would like to thank is Laura Leatham of Laura's Larder down in Gloucestershire (020-7376 4090), who sent me a couple of bottles of her amazing home-made elderflower cordial – it certainly topped some of those sweet, syrupy commercial ones.

For the elderflower ice-cream

300ml full cream milk such as gold top, Guernsey or Jersey
300ml Jersey cream
6 egg yolk
100g caster sugar
200ml elderflower cordial

For the jelly

500ml perry
70g caster sugar
4 sheets of leaf gelatine
100-120g small mixed berries

Bring 100ml of the perry to the boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Meanwhile, soak the gelatine leaves in a shallow bowl of cold water for a minute or so until soft. Squeeze out the water, add the gelatine to the hot perry and stir until dissolved. Add the rest of perry, stir well and put the jelly somewhere cool, without letting it set.

Fill individual jelly moulds, or glasses, or one large mould, with half the berries, then pour in half of the cooled jelly. Put in the fridge for an hour or so to set, then top up with the rest of the berries and unset jelly. This allows the berries to stay suspended and not float to the top. Return to the fridge.

To make the ice-cream, put the milk into a saucepan, bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together then pour the milk on and whisk well. Return to the pan on a low heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly using a whisk, but not letting it boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and elderflower cordial. Leave to cool, then churn in the ice-cream machine. To serve, turn the jellies out on to individual plates and then scoop a ball of ice-cream into the middle of each one.

Café carajillo granita

Serves 4-6

I've recently been to the Costa Brava area of Spain – and while I was finishing off dinner with this rather addictive coffee spiked with local brandy or anís liqueur, I came up with the idea that it would make a great after-dinner granita or even a dessert.

A lot of people have an espresso machine in their kitchens these days; or at least one of those Italian stove-top numbers – if not, you could just use strong filter coffee.

20 measures of espresso or strong black coffee (approx 700ml)
100g caster sugar
4 good measures of Pernod or Ricard or Spanish anís, such as patxaran
Chocolate-covered coffee beans to serve (optional)

Put the sugar in a bowl. Make espresso in the usual way and tip in to the sugar, stirring until dissolved. Add your Pernod, Ricard or anís and mix well. Pour the mixture in to a shallow tray and place in the freezer. Stir the mixture every hour or so; this disturbs the setting process so it forms a kind of slushy sorbet.

Serve in a martini glass or similar and scatter over a few of the chocolate-covered coffee beans.

'The Great British Menu Cookbook', £20, is published by DK

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