Tag Archives: Ice Cream

Speculoos Ice Cream; Get Some Special Lotus in Your Life

Speculaas Ice Cream

Lotus Paste Without the Postage

When I used to do Foodie Penpals, many people would yearn for a jar of Speculoos (or Biscoff) paste in their parcel, and would covet jars sent to others. Since I live in the Netherlands, I have ready access to a supply from Lotus (original and best), if I should want any, which I mostly don’t. But, posting jars is expensive, especially since the smallest size they make is 400 g, so I decided to make my own. People make their own nut butters and choc-nut butters, so it couldn’t be that hard, right?  So I thought, until I actually looked at the ingredients.

It is mostly oil – palm, and rapeseed; sugar of one kind or another; rice and soya flours; and stabilisers. I won’t buy palm oil, so I  would really struggle to get the consistency right.

Last summer, I happened to read this recipe for Specunana Brownies. I won’t be making these, because I can’t eat bananas. But, Camilla’s photo with the brownies and ice cream really inspired me. I knew then that the best way to give speculoos to others without having to pay excess postage would be to make a speculoos ice cream, and write down the recipe for you all to enjoy.

I have entire notebooks (and a draft blog post) where I scribble down ideas that I have. If I live to be a million, I won’t live long enough to make them all, but it doesn’t stop me. Every so often, I go back over them, and I came across this one again recently. I had some egg yolks going spare, so I decided to give speculoos ice cream a go.

Speculaas Spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, aniseeds, cloves, peppercorns

Speculaas Spices

David Lebovitz makes a cinnamon ice cream using whole spices. I like this approach, and so I based my own recipe on as much whole spice as I could, whilst remaining true to the speculaas spice. As David suggests, you also have the option of adding more ground speculaas spice mix before you freeze it. If you aren’t near the Netherlands around the beginning of December, then you can always make up the spice mix I have used for my Kruidnoten. I found that with the amounts I used, I didn’t need it, but the strength of spice can vary hugely. I waited only until the custard had cooled, because I was happy with the taste – anything eaten cold will lose flavour, so the original base must have real depth. You can leave it overnight to be sure, if you prefer. If you do need to add some ground spice, add half a teaspoon at a time, mix well (there may be lumps), and taste before adding more.

Another main ingredient in the Lotus speculoos spread is brown sugar. I knew it would give the ice cream its classic colour, but I didn’t want it to be the dominant flavour. So I settled for a couple of tablespoons, which worked perfectly.

I don’t have an ice cream machine, so I made mine by hand. It will be quicker, but just as good if you use a machine, I’m sure.

This ice cream is a smooth and as tasty as the original spread,  just colder. So, instead of having Speculoos/ Biscoff envy, why not make your own?

Spice Trail Blog Badge

And since there is plenty of ginger in this recipe, I’m going to enter it for the Bangers and Mash Spice Trail.

Recipe: Speculoos Ice Cream

Ingredients

500 ml double cream
700 ml milk
5 cinnamon sticks
About 1/4 whole nutmeg, grated
1 tsp ground ginger
10 cloves
1/4 tsp aniseed
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
100 g caster sugar
2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
6 egg yolks

Method

I made a handmade ice cream before, with pictures. The ice cream may be a different colour, but the steps are the same.

Break up the cinnamon sticks slightly into big chunks with a pestle. Then place the milk, cream and all of the spices into a saucepan. Heat to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat, and set aside for at least half an hour to steep. Once the spices have worked their magic, strain through a fine sieve.

Bring the milk back up to just under boiling point. Whisk together the egg yolks and both sugars until they are light and creamy. You’ll be making a custard base for the ice cream.

Put the bowl containing the eggs and sugar onto a damp cloth, so you can pour and whisk without the custard going everywhere. Very slowly, add the warm milk to the eggs and sugar, whisking all of the time. You must take your time with this stage, or the egg will scramble.

Once all of the milk and egg are combined, return it to the pan. Heat gently, stirring constantly to stop the milk from catching on the bottom. Do not allow the milk to boil; again, you’ll get spicy, scrambled eggs. When the custard has thickened so that  it leaves a line when you run a finger down the back of the spoon you are stirring with, it is done. Return it to the bowl you used to beat the eggs and sugar in.

Now you need to cool it down quickly. Run a sink full of the coldest water you can manage. You need enough water to come most of the way up the bowl that you are using, but the water must not get into the custard, or it won’t thicken. Place the bowl of custard in the sink and stir while it cools.

Taste the custard. If the flavour is already really deep, then you can proceed to freezing. If you are at all unsure, then refrigerate the custard overnight, and see how it tastes when it is much colder. If you don’t think there is enough flavour, then by all means add some ground speculaas spice. If you need to add ground spice, then you will need to give the custard a really good whisk, to avoid lumps of spice in the mix.

Pour into freezable containers with a lid on. I use recycled ice cream containers, which are perfect for the job.  Put the lids on, and freeze for an hour.

I always make custard with a balloon whisk, because it gives me more control, and doesn’t make the custard froth too much, which will give a weird consistency. However, I always churn the ice cream with an electric whisk, to really make smooth ice cream. Remove the ice cream into a mixing bowl, using a spatula to make sure there are no crystals left around the edges. Churn the ice cream until smooth, using the electric whisk. Return to the container, and refreeze. Repeat churning and refreezing until you have a thick, but smooth ice cream, then leave to freeze completely overnight.

Remove from the freezer about 10 minutes before serving.

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Handmade Ice Cream

Hi, my name is Mel, and I am a gadget-ophobe.

Well, I guess that is not strictly true, I just don’t see the point of most of them. I suppose this comes partly from the make-do-and-mend attitude I have retained since my uni days, when all I had was a block of knives, a mixing bowl, a wooden spoon and a balloon whisk. Anything else I had to improvise with a wine bottle (useful as a blender and a rolling pin!), or whatever else was to hand.

Obviously, I have got many more of the basics now, which allows me to do much more, but I still have not been suckered by many of the more ‘faddish’ gadgets, such as a breadmaker, or ice cream machine. I enjoy making bread, and take great pleasure from trying to get a tight round, or a nice airy foccacia.

I have never really attempted ice cream before now though, because I was under the impression it was difficult. It was also not easy to find a recipe that did not involve the instructions to “place all of the ingredients into an ice-cream machine”.

Stages of hand made ice cream

Stage 1: an hour in the freezer, before whisking

Anyway, a bit of hunting around, and a lucky episode of Masterchef Australia left me a bit more encouraged try to make my own, especially since they recommend a custard base, and I do like a good custard. Because I wanted something to serve with rhubarb, I chose to flavour this one with ginger.

Here is how I did it:

Ingredients

5 Egg Yolks

100 g Sugar

400 ml Double cream

400 ml Milk

50 g Stem Ginger

1 Tbsp Syrup from the ginger jar

Making Custard

Finely chop the ginger, and add that to the milk and the cream in a pan. heat to just below boiling point.Set aside to steep for 20 minutes. Pass the liquid through a sieve to remove the pieces of ginger, but set them aside though, because you will use some later. Bring the liquid back up to boiling point.

In general, for flavoured custards, you add the flavouring to the milk – you also do this with the vanilla pod if you are making custard to go with your apple pie. So, if you want to make mint ice cream, and the essence to the milk, add cocoa or melted chocolate for chocolate ice cream and so on.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until they thicken quite a bit. Now for the tricky bit (or so they tell you). Very slowly at first, add the warm milk to the egg mixture. I do this by adding a little, and making sure it is whisked in before I add more. Once you have combined a fair amount, you can add the rest of the liquid much faster.

Once the egg and cream  is combined, returned to the heat and heat gently. Do not allow it to boil, or it will curdle. The custard will thicken, and when it leaves a line on the back of your wooden spoon then it is thick enough. Remove from the heat.

Stages of Ice Cream Making

Stage 2: Not much further than stage 1

The Ice Cream Bit

The custard needs to cool completely before you try to freeze it (not least for energy efficiency of the freezer!). You can either set it aside to cool, or a better way is to put it in a bowl, which is sitting in some ice in another bowl (or the sink) and stir it to dissipate the heat faster.

Once the custard is cold, then you need to put it in the freezer. Most sources I read said that you should put it in a bowl for this stage. Unfortunately, I didn’t read that until after I had frozen it, so I put it in an ice cream tub (recycled, of course). As long as the custard does not fill more than 3/4 of the vessel, it will be fine.

In order to make ice cream, er, creamy, you need to try to keep the ice crystals from getting too big. To do this, put it in the freezer for an hour, then take it out and whisk it. Repeat this process until you have a smooth, thick ice cream.For this recipe, I found it took four times to create the smoothness required.

Because I like ginger, I stirred in some of the chopped ginger from the custard making at the last stage of the whisk and freeze cycle. You could also add anything that you like at this stage – nuts, mint chips, chocolate chips, fruit.

Stages of Ice Cram Making

Stage 4: Thick, and after adding the ginger

The ice cream should last a few weeks in the freezer (in theory!), just don’t forget to take it out of the freezer about 10-15 minutes before you want to serve it.

I served mine with the aforementioned poached rhubarb, and some meringue. Well, I needed to use up those egg whites somehow!

Poached rhubarb, stem ginger ice cream & meringue

The finished product

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