To me, nothing says winter and holidays like the scent of cinnamon and the aroma of dried fruit, especially figs. The fragrance of rum and whisky, hot plum brandy, the sound of wood slowly crackling in the stove; the magic of wintertime.
Christmas pudding and all similar desserts fall into the category of nostalgic, almost sentimental, desserts. Whether making memories or remembering, the traditional note that it brings is undeniable.
On the topic of tradition, many classic ice cream recipes start with a silky yolk custard, which indeed makes the ice cream quite lavish and smooth. However, the lush texture and velvety mouthfeel can be achieved even without the custard or an ice cream machine. A few simple ingredients, and a few hours of time is all that is needed. The sweetened condensed milk replaces the cooked base, and when combined with the double cream and the rum, it makes the ice cream soft and silky even after freezing.
Plenty of dried fruit soaked in aromatic rum until soft and supple, fragrant toasted walnuts, many crunchy morsels of toasted almonds, and a healthy sprinkling of warm winter spices make this ice cream so very special and perfect for the holidays. It can be served after only a few hours, or after the full night of freezing, it will be delicious either way. And if you are so inclined, add a few crushed Speculaas cookies just before serving and enjoy.
250 ml double cream
200 grams sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 grams ground toasted walnuts
50 grams toasted almonds, chopped
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
50 grams dried figs
50 grams dried apricots
50 grams prunes
50 grams raisins
50 grams sultanas
30 ml dark rum
50 grams candied peel, optional
Start by dicing all of the dried fruit. Pour the rum into a large bowl, add in the fruit, mix well, and let it soak in the rum for at least 4 hours. When the fruit is ready, take a large bowl, and add in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Add in all of the dried fruit, along with any remaining rum, and mix on low speed until blended. Add in the ground walnuts, chopped almonds, as well as the spices, and blend once more. The mixture should be sticky and quite fragrant.
In a separate bowl, whip the chilled double cream until soft peaks form, and then add it to the fruit mixture. Using a large rubber spatula, fold the cream through the fruit, until it is completely blended, and the consistency of whipped cream. Every piece of fruit should be covered with the cream. Cover the top of the bowl with cling film, and place it in the refrigerator to freeze. If you like your ice cream softly served, take it out of the freezer after 4 hours. If you prefer it in scoops, let it freeze for 6 to 8 hours. Yields 6 servings.
By Tina Vesić