Tuesday, 11 December 2012

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... damn 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
4 yolks
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.

This ice-cream is also my first entry for the Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream by Kavey Eats.  The theme this month is boozy ice-cream (two of my favourite things combined into one)... so if you're making boozy ice-cream this holiday season, do take part in the challenge...


  1. I've learned to make ice cream without a machine and you're right. It's pretty easy. I'm bookmarking this because I would like to make it for guests.

  2. I think this ice cream is suitably seasonal... well its suitably damn good anyway... love the combinations, really gorgeous x

  3. OMG, this ice cream sounds and looks delicious Michael...I never had with cognac...only with rum...I must give this a try....yum!
    Have a great week :)

  4. I seem to have plenty of grey, cloudy, damp days that you'd be most welcome to. This sounds like a great boozy little ice. The cognac would cheer me up on a winter day.

  5. I know what you mean Michael! It's always so warm here and it's seems crazy to make all of those traditional foods. Having said that, that's what we're doing this year (although I much prefer the sound of this ice cream).

  6. I live in the desert, I know exactly what you mean! As much as I hate the cold, it does make this time of the year feel more festive - the way it was when I was kid. So, I understand completely! You're still young, you have plenty of time to go back there :)
    And I love that you made ice cream, cause when it's warm, you know that's what we crave! This sounds fantastic, Micheal.. this just might be the next ice cream I make!!

  7. You are welcome to come back to England any time... I am moaning to high heaven about the cold, dark, damp weather (and have a stinking winter cold to go with it) but the reality is that I love living with the seasons and wouldn't do well in a tropical climate.

    Your ice cream looks delicious. Kind of a posher version of rum raisin. Wonder what it'd be like with some dates mixed in with the raisins? I adore dates!

    If you fancy it, but no pressure, wonder if you'd like to join in this month's Bloggers Scream For Ice Cream challenge, where I set a theme each month (which you happen to have met) and then share the entries in a round up post at the end of the month. Is a fun way of reminding people that ice cream is not just for summer (or Christmas!) and get them to try new things. Ping me an email if you want more info, don't like leaving spammy links on blogs.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi Kavey! Thank you... I am not coping well with all this heat as well... I am melting like butter :)

      I think dates would be delicious in this ice-cream. Yum. Great idea!

      Just sent you an email with my first entry to the challenge :)

      Merry Christmas to you too!

    2. So happy to you have you onboard. I've been thinking about this ice cream again since first reading it. Really do want to try some! :-)

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