Yay! The freezer seems to (finally) be fixed! (firmly crosses fingers and places them behind back)…. I can’t believe how many months we have been struggling to keep it going…. emptying it…. filling it…. emptying it again….. as it limped from one defrosting disaster to the next. I am pretty sure it is doing what it should be doing now, but the trouble is I am not sure I trust it. It has let me down too many times recently and it is going to have to earn my confidence back!
Of course the first thing that has to be done to celebrate (and test) a working freezer is make some ice cream! I have so missed home-made ice cream for the last few months and typically, it had to be during the summer that we experienced ice cream famine….. How unfair is that?
To make up for lost time, we are going to have to go ice cream crazy…… First up…. a churned honeycomb ice cream made in the ice cream maker. Right freezer…. can you handle it?
I have had a hankering for honeycomb ice cream for ages. There seem to be lots of versions in the shops these days and some of them are totally amazing. I needed to know whether I could make anything near as good a rival….
Okay….. so I have never made honeycomb either, but who ever lets a little skill-gap get in the way when it comes to ice cream?
Having done some good ol’ internet research, it seems there are a million and one different honeycomb recipes out there. They vary in boiling temperature from 138 C to 150 +. Some use syrup, some honey, some brown sugar, some white sugar…. Some use butter, some don’t….. some have water, some leave it out…. but for sure they all have a happy dose of bicarbonate of soda to make the mixture magically explode volcanically upwards in the pan to produce zillions of tiny airy bubbles and that wonderful honeycomb texture.
Figuring you can combine the rest of the ingredients to taste, I decided to make it up as I went and tempted my daughter to join me in a kitchen science lesson! Honeycomb (or as it is known elsewhere in the world : cinder toffee or hokey pokey) works because the intense heat of the sugar makes the bicarbonate of soda break down, releasing carbon dioxide instantly, which in turn bubbles and expands the sugar into a molten sugary foam. It will rot your teeth for sure, but occasionally, the sheer joy of eating a piece of caramelly, sticky, crunchy, air-bubble filled toffee, is worth the risk…. When you eat it, the toffee seems to melt around the bubbles of air so that it dissolves into creamy, syrupy sweetness on the tongue.
Stir tiny little broken pieces of it into home-made, rich vanilla ice cream and you have heaven in a cone!
The texture of this ice cream is amazing….. decadent, velvety, and perfectly creamy. With each mouthful, you get little pockets of honeycomb explosion on the tongue to excite and energise the taste buds. Although you can eat the ice-cream as soon as it is frozen….. don’t! Patience is worth every extra minute on this one….. leave to mature in the freezer for at least 24 hours and the honeycomb will soften and begin to meld with the ice cream making it more rounded and mellow….. Divine!
Oh….. and leave it too long when you are trying to take photos and you can enjoy the most amazing creamy toffee puddle!
I am sharing this delicious ice cream with :
Cook Blog Share with Becki at This Is Not My Home.
Free From Fridays at the Free From Farmhouse.
Honeycomb Ice Cream (churned) makes about 650 ml
butter or vegetable oil for greasing
- Pour the cream and milk into a large saucepan and heat on a medium heat. Heat until it is just boiling.
- Meanwhile, place the sugar, egg yolks and vanilla in a large bowl and whisk until thick and pale.
- When the milk-cream has just reached boiling point, remove from the heat. Very gradually add a little at a time to the sugar-egg mix, whisking continuously. It is essential that you add the cream slowly and whisk continuously to avoid the mixture curdling or scrambling.
- Give the saucepan a wash.
- When all the ingredients are fully combined, pour the mixture back into the clean pan through a sieve to remove any bits.
- Heat over a low heat, stirring continuously until the batter thickens to a light custard consistency and coats the back of the spoon.
- Pour the batter into a container, place cling film over the top and leave to cool. When it has cooled enough, place in the fridge to chill completely before churning.
- Whilst the custard is chilling, make the honeycomb : Prepare a deep 8 x 8 inch (20 x 20 cm) tray or cake tin (I used a silicone one) by greasing well with either butter or vegetable oil (do not line with paper).
- Put the water, sugar, honey, golden syrup, butter and salt in a large heavy-based saucepan. Place over a low heat, stirring occasionally to allow the sugar to completely dissolve.
- Meanwhile, measure the bicarbonate of soda into a small dish and crush or sift any lumps. Place nearby so that it is quickly and easily accessible when you need it. Also ensure you have ready a whisk for mixing the bicarb in when the time comes.
- When the sugar has dissolved, increase the heat to medium and bring the sugar mixture to the boil. Using a sugar thermometer, heat the mixture to 140 C. Watch very carefully as you do not want the sugar to burn.
- When the mixture reaches the correct temperature, immediately remove from the heat and add the bicarbonate of soda. Briefly whisk the bicarb through the mixture straight away to distribute. The mixture should expand and froth vigorously. Do not over-whisk.
- Quickly pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Do not stir or disturb the mixture as this will knock out some of the air bubbles. Leave to cool completely.
- When cold and set, remove the honeycomb from the tin and smash into small pieces with a rolling pin (in between baking paper). Set aside.
- To churn the ice cream – Take the completely chilled ice cream batter from the fridge and churn using an ice cream maker by the manufacturer’s instructions.
- When the churning process is complete, fold the honeycomb pieces through the ice cream whilst it is still soft enough to do so.
- Spoon the finished ice cream into an airtight container and place in the freezer to allow to harden. Although you can eat it soft straight away, this is an ice cream which benefits from 24 hours in the freezer…. It seems to allow the honeycomb to mellow into the creaminess a little better.
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