I’ve always preferred eating ice cream when the weather is cold. Don’t get me wrong, winter, spring, summer or fall, all it’s gotta do is call and I’ll eat it, yeah, yeah, yeah, ice cream’s my friend. But my preference is to devour it when it’s chilly outside.
Vanilla, strawberry, salted caramel with white chocolate chunks, mango, ‘Phish Food’, I don’t discriminate. I love it all. But not equally. I am much more inclined to choose something with texture, you know like mix-ins or chunks as opposed to just a plain flavour. I’m also not a fan of impersonators; low fat, frozen yoghurt, sorbet, ice blocks, granita. If I am desperate then sure, but choice numero uno every time is good old-fashioned ice cream.
I’ve written before about how, like music, food carries memories and I think no food does this better than ice cream. The minute a paddle pop hits my lips I’m 6 years old at my grandparent’s beach house with not a worry in the world. Likewise, whenever I’m downing Cookies and Cream, I’m transported back to California and my university days, where I first discovered this tasty wonder of ‘nature’.
Although I have made it from scratch many times before (it’s really not that hard, just time consuming), I don’t tend to do it much these days. Rather, I prefer to make it the ‘cheats way.’ To do this you need to buy the best quality ice cream you can afford in whatever flavour you want and soften it out of the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Once it’s soft, you need to mix through whatever you like, for example, chopped up chocolate bars, your favourite roasted nuts, crushed biscuits, anything at all! After you’ve mixed your add-ins through, you set the ice cream back in the freezer until firm, about half an hour. And you’re done!
The options are endless for this. You can serve it at a dinner party and tell the guests you made it, because, um, you actually did! And the best part? It will take you about 3 seconds to do every time! My mother in law recently made Halva ice cream using this technique. It was divine!
I once posted a photo on the PHOODIE Facebook page of my sister Natalie’s famous meringue and hazelnut ice cream cake. I have never before been so inundated with requests for a recipe in my life than I was that day! The crowds went mad for it. I didn’t’ get around to putting it on the blog but what better way to share it than in a post celebrating the wonder that is ice cream! Enjoy!
Natalie’s Meringue and Hazelnut Praline Ice Cream Cake
(Makes a 23cm round cake)
9 egg whites (3 egg whites per meringue)
2 1/4 cups caster sugar (3/4 cup per meringue, which is 1/4 cup per egg white)