Challenge No. 19 – Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Have you ever made home-made ice cream without an ice cream maker? Better still, have you ever tried to find a recipe online for making ice cream without an ice cream maker?  It is not easy – finding a recipe that is!  My mum suggested this challenge and I thought it was a great idea.  I set out trying to find a recipe and a few times thought I had got one only to get to the last instruction and the recipe would say to “put it in your ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions”.  It was very frustrating! And then I remembered, my many (and I mean many!) recipe books in the flat.  I had a quick rummage and found Jamie Oliver has kindly provided a recipe which works with or without an ice cream machine. Yay 🙂

Although I had found a recipe for vanilla ice cream, I kept having a sneaky look online and do you know what I found? One of my new blogging friends has blogged about the same recipe.  You can see read about Laura’s experience at Feast Wisely

Jamie’s book (Jamie’s Comfort Food) not only gives you a lovely recipe for vanilla ice cream, it also gives 4 delicious flavour variations. One of my mum’s favourites is rum and raisin ice cream – she say’s its her ‘holiday ice cream’ but I think she would have it all the time if she could 😉 I know I would!

So for the rum raisin ice cream you will need the following ingredients:-

  • 100g raisins
  • 150ml dark spiced rum
  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 250ml double cream
  • 7 large eggs
  • 150g golden caster sugar

Edited - ingredients

These quantities make 1 litre of ice cream and Jamie helpfully tells me that 1 scoop is 106 calories.  I however like to believe that anything which is homemade is guilt free, so we don’t need to worry about the calorie content 🙂

Anyway, on with the recipe.  I started off by putting the raisins in a bowl and covering them with the spiced rum.  I covered the bowl with cling film and left it on the side for around a couple of hours.

Edited - rum and raisins

Once I had about half hour left, I got on with making the vanilla ice cream.  I halved the vanilla pods lengthways and scraped out the seeds.  I’ve seen chef’s do this on TV and it looks really simple…it wasn’t! I got in a bit of a mess but I managed to scrape most of the seeds out and get them in the pan.  I added the pods to the seeds and poured over the milk and cream.

Edited - vanilla pods Edited - vanilla cream

I put the pan on a low heat to gently warm for 15 minutes and then took it off the heat.

Whilst the vanilla cream mixture was cooling slightly, I separated my eggs and put the yolks in a bowl.

Edited - egg yolk 

Practical tip: Jamie advises to freeze the egg whites in a sandwich bag to make meringues for another day.  I therefore dutifully put the whites in a plastic container and put in the fridge so I could later make room for it in the freezer – I then promptly forgot to do this and ended up throwing away the whites! Silly me!

I whisked the yolks and caster sugar with a balloon whisk until pale.

Edited - whisked egg sugar

Before combining the vanilla milk with the egg/sugar mix, I sorted out the soaked raisins.  I took out around half and put them to one side.  I then used a hand blender to blitz the remaining raisins and rum together until it was a smooth purée. 

Edited - purée

I then took the vanilla cream mixture and poured it through a sieve into my egg/sugar mix.  I added a bit at a time and whisked thoroughly between each addition.  At the end, I made sure to push through as many vanilla seeds as possible – I mean come on, the more true vanilla flavour you can get the better!

Edited - combined

I added the combined mixture back into my pan and put it over a very low heat.  I stirred constantly, patiently waiting for the mixture to thicken.  Jamie’s says this should take about 15 minutes but it took me longer.  I had my pan on a very low heat and perhaps I could have turned it up slightly but I didn’t want to burn it.  When it was finally thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, I was happy it was done.

Edited - spoon

I poured the mixture in to a clean bowl and left it to cool – this took about a couple of hours.

Edited - cooling

Time to add the rum/raisin to my vanilla ice cream.  I poured in the purée and whole raisins into the cooled ice cream base and gave it a good stir. I then poured it all into my ice cream contained (a simple klick lock storage box).

Edited - in the container

I put the container into my freezer and set the time for 30 minutes.  According to the recipe you need to whisk the ice cream every 30 minutes for about 3 to 4 hours to help break up the ice crystals. The aim is to do this until the ice cream is nicely set. 

When I read Laura’s blog, she mentioned that she stopped stirring too soon and ended up with some ice crystals.  I therefore tried to preserver and when I had reached 4 hours and it still was set, I just kept going with my 30 minutes schedule. 

I got to 5 and a half hours and it still wasn’t set! It was also time for bed so I just left it for the night and hoped it would be okay in the morning.

So here it is…

Edited - frozen

It looked okay – except that the whole raisins had definitely all sunk to the bottom of the container!  It’s a nice treat for when you get to the bottom 🙂

Now, I don’t know about you but if I am going to have ice cream, it clearly has to be served with either hot chocolate fudge cake, a cone or perhaps best of all, cookies!  So I also made some chocolate chip cookies to sandwich together with the ice cream. 

Edited - cookie

Be sure to come back after the end of Challenge 52 when I will be sharing my foolproof recipe for these delicious cookies.

This was absolutely delicious! Dave tried a TINY bit and said “whoaa, you can taste the rum in that!”.  Well that’s what we want – rum, raisin and vanilla galore.  I’ve now got to be controlled and make sure I don’t eat the whole lot before my mum next comes to visit!

Coming up next week, Challenge No. 20 – maple syrup glazed ham! Hope to see you then. 


Challenge No. 13 – Candy Floss Cupcakes

See that lovely drawing at the top of the page, the one of the blonde girl holding the cupcake? Well, that was designed by my amazing friend Nic and is his representation of me 🙂 This next recipe was suggested by Nic who, as you can tell, is very creative.  If you want to see some of his other incredible work, check out his Facebook page here. Unsurprisingly, Nic’s creative mind didn’t just suggest any old regular cupcake, nope, he suggested a candy floss cupcake!

I did a quick Google search and found lots of inspiration.  One of my favourites was Harry Potter themed from bakingdom. Nic is a huge Harry Potter fan and so when I found this blog, I thought the idea was just perfect.  Whilst all the websites I found included a recipe, I decided to use my own cupcake recipe and just adapted it in line with what I had read for incorporating candy floss. 

So, to make my version of the candy floss cupcakes, you will need the following:-

  • For the cake
    • 175g softened butter/margarine
    • 175g sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • 175g self raising flour
    • 3 eggs
    • A drop of vanilla essence
    • 250g candy floss
  • For the topping
    • 550g icing sugar
    • 275g softened butter
    • Milk
    • A few drops of pink food colouring
    • A few drops of green food colouring
    • 250g cotton candy
    • 2 tsp of cream
    • Popping candy (I used chocolate covered because that’s all I could find)

This recipe makes 18 cupcakes. 

Edited - ingredients

First things first, I turned the oven on and gave it plenty of time to reach the required temperature, 180 degrees celsius. 

I started the cake mix by beating my softened butter with a fork until it was light and fluffy.  I then added the caster sugar and continued to beat until completely incorporated. 

 Edited - fluffy butter Edited - sugar and butter

P.S. I made these at my mum’s and she only had an orange mixing bowl which isn’t great for photo’s!  So please excuse the orange tinge on some of the photographs in this post!

Anyway, next up I combined my flour and baking powder in a jug and set this to one side.  I added my eggs one at a time to the butter/sugar mix.

Practical tip: each time you add an egg, put in about 1tsp of the flour and then mix together.  The flour helps to stop the mixture curdling.  

Edited - egg adding

Once all the eggs were added, I sifted in the flour and baking powder and mixed until well combined.  I then added a few drops of vanilla extract and gave it another stir. 

Time for the fun bit.  I took my candy floss and tried to break it up a bit with my fingers.  This was very messy as it kept sticking to me but it definitely helped get a nice even spread throughout the cupcake mix.  Once it was broken up, I stirred it into the cupcake batter. 

Edited - candyfloss Edited - batter and candy floss

I then put about 1 and a half teaspoons of mixture into each cupcake case.  Now, I’m a bit of a perfectionist and when I make cupcakes, I take things one step further and weigh each filled case to make sure they are equal.  As said above, I made these cupcakes at my mum’s house and it turns out her scales aren’t quite as accurate as mine, however, each cupcake case was either 35g or 40g with the mix in. It may seem like a bit of an OCD step but it helps get perfectly even sized and baked cakes 🙂

Edited - cupcakes oven ready

With the cakes (just about) equal size, I put them in the oven and set the time for 10 minutes.  When the timer went off, I rotated the trays to help make sure they had an even bake and popped them back in for another 8 minutes.  I then checked the cakes to see if they were done. 

Practical tip: in case you missed Challenge No. 5, to test whether the cakes are cooked, gently press the top of one of the cakes with your finger; if it is done it will be springy to touch and bounce back into place.  You can also take a tooth pick (or cake tester if you have one) and slide it into the centre of one of the cakes; if the cake is done the tester will come out clean.  If you think it’s not quite done return the cakes to the oven but keep an eye on them – 1 minute may be all they need but that 1 minute can make all the difference!

Edited - fresh out the oven

I let the cakes cool on the tray for a few minutes and then transferred them to a cooling rack.  

Edited - coolingThis is where my night changed plans, I had a yummy takeaway Chinese and a few glasses of wine with Dave and my parents.  I then went out to visit some friends for the evening and somehow ended up consuming quite a lot of vodka (I blame my friend Kev!).  Suffice to say, I was a little worse for wear on the Saturday morning.  However, after a trip to see some 12 day old lambs at a local farm and a quick nap, I was (just about!) ready to finish decorating my cakes.

I started by whisking the butter (using a handheld electric whisk) until nice and smooth.  Don’t rush this step – it is one of the most important stages to get the right consistency to be able to pipe your buttercream.  I always try to whisk the butter for a good 5 minutes. 

With the butter whisked, it was time to start adding the icing sugar.  I added a bit at a time, covered the bowl with a clean tea towel and then whisked until combined. I continued adding a bit at a time until all the icing sugar was incorporated.  As I got towards the end, I added a little milk to keep the buttercream from being too stiff. I then split the buttercream between 2 bowls.

In my slightly hungover state, I forgot to take any pictures of the above stages! I realised on the next bit and got the camera back out again.

Next up, I tried to combine the leftover candy floss with the cream.  This is done so it can be added to the buttercream without making the buttercream lumpy.  I however did this wrong 😦 I’d read that you should melt the candy floss with the cream but I didn’t read any more than this.  When I read the word ‘melt’ I instantly thought of heat.  So I put my cream into a small saucepan over a low heat and added the candy floss.  All than happened is that it started to caramelise and went horribly sticky and extra lumpy! I decided to throw it away and leave the candy floss out of the buttercream.

Edited - candyfloss cream

😦 It just didn’t work!

I was making the buttercream at about 2.30pm and that night, when lying in bed at about 1.30am it dawned on me, I didn’t need the heat! The cream alone would ‘melt’ the candy floss and then the liquid could be added to the buttercream.  Lesson learnt for next time and for any of you who may read this and want to give it a go.

Anyway, having given up on the candy floss flavouring, I added a few drops of pink food colouring to one half of the buttercream and gave it a mix with a wooden spoon.  I then took the cupcakes which were in the green cases and used the back of a teaspoon to add a small covering of the buttercream.  I got a handful of the chocolate covered popping candy and sprinkled it on top of the cupcakes. 

Edited - popping candy

I then put the remaining pink buttercream into a piping bag fitted with a wilton 2D nozzle and piped swirls onto the top of each one.

My brother wanted to help with the piping.  I let him do one and he actually did quite a good job! :)

My brother wanted to help with the piping. I let him do one and he actually did quite a good job! 🙂

Practical tip: if you missed Challenge No. 7 – when spooning mixture into a piping bag, I always find it easier to put the bag into a tall glass and turn the top down.

Edited - piping glass

I then added the green food colouring to the other half of the buttercream and repeated the above steps with the cupcakes in the pink cases.

The final stage was an extra special touch, inspired by the bakingdom blog.  I had created Honeydukes signs using cake-pop sticks, wrapped in purple ribbon and cling film and topped with homemade signs.  It was a little time consuming but the finished product for my Harry Potter loving friend was well worth it.

Edited - cupcakes finished

These cupcakes were a success with all who tried them.  The popping candy could have been a bit more ‘poppy’ and I was disappointed I messed up the cotton candy for the buttercream but overall I was happy with this bake.  The candy floss added a nice speckled effect to the cakes and they tasted yummy.

Edited - inside cupcakeComing up next week, Challenge No. 14 – moussaka.