Mince Pie Ice Cream

Happy December, everyone – the countdown to Christmas begins! 😀 I can’t believe how fast this year has whizzed by, as it didn’t feel that long ago when I was stuffing myself with mince pies in the name of “research” (you can read my comprehensive review here).

It’s been a crazy year of trying new things and challenging myself, but some things never change… like my love for mince pies 😛 I thought it’d only make sense, since this is originally started as an ice cream blog, to combine two of my favourite treats.

 

Directions

  1. Make the vanilla ice cream base using your preferred recipe – I like this one from bbcgoodfood, although have adjusted for sweetness.
  2. As the custard base is cooling, prepare the mince pie elements.
  3. Take 3 mince pies of your choice (I used Sainsbury’s Deep-Filled ones) and remove the pastry top.
  4. Spoon out the mincemeat filling and mix into the custard base.
  5. Bake the now-empty pastry cases until they are lightly crisp (approx. 5 minutes at fan 180°C). Break them into small pieces.
  6. Churn the ice cream base in your machine, and towards the end (mine takes around 20-25 minutes), sprinkle in the mince pie pastry pieces to add texture to the ice cream. Add as much or as little you like.
  7. Serve with a warm mince pie or on its own – enjoy!

I’m really pleased with how this ice cream turned out. The vanilla ice cream is spiced with the Christmas flavours of nutmeg, clove and cinnamon, and laced with sultanas, currants, candied citrus peel and sweet shortcrust pastry.

 

Thinking of doing some other Christmas ice cream flavours… let me know if you have any ideas! I had these amazing scoops from Gelupo in London – Christmas pudding and salted caramel & gingerbread. Absolutely divine.

The Best Mince Pies to Try This Christmas

I love this time of the year in the build up to the holiday season. Even though the days are getting shorter, darker and colder, nothing warms me up more than seeing the sparkly lights and festive decorations, and enjoying a hot beverage. Winter is also a great reason to eat more – it’s cold and we’ve got huge coats on anyway..

I’m loving making slow-cooked chillies, beef stews and delicious ragus, but more importantly – the Christmas season has heralded the return of my favourite festive sweet, the mince pie! If it wasn’t obvious from the title of this post, I’ve been on the hunt for the best mince pies that London has to offer. But first, what exactly is a mince pie? It’s basically a fit-in-your-palm-sized buttery shortcrust pastry filled with mincemeat – a fruity, boozy, spiced mix of vine fruits and citrus peel (with no actual meat!).

I’ve sampled a range of mince pies from the supermarkets and high street cafes but will be updating this list as we get closer to Christmas – do let me know if there are any you think I’ve missed out and need to try!

1. Heston from Waitrose Spiced Shortcrust Mince Pies with a Lemon Twist (£3.00 / 4 pies) – 9/10

This was probably the most unique mince pie that I tried, though I suppose it’s more of a tart than an actual pie! Waitrose also has a chocolate & ginger version which also looks really good (see below). I loved the crumble topping and the zesty lemon curd, which complemented the sweet mincemeat. The spiced pastry also tasted delicious. The only downside is that I wished there was more of the filling to balance against the pastry!

2. Sainsbury’s Deep Filled Mince Pies (£1.10 / 6 pies) – 7/10

Sainsbury’s is my go-to supermarket so I had to try out their classic mince pies and I was pleasantly satisfied. The pies are packed full of sultanas, raisins and currants and some orange peel. I didn’t find the filling to be overly sweet and was actually slightly tart. Overall, a good solid choice of mince pie and great value for money.

3. Marks & Spencer’s The Collection Mince Pies (£2.50 / 6 pies) – 8/10

These mince pies are beautifully decorated with a snowflake and star design. The mincemeat filling makes M&S’s version so good – it’s bursting with vine fruits, cherries and clementine, with a full brandy flavour and citrus notes. The citrus means that the filling doesn’t end up too sickly sweet. The pastry is also decent – very buttery, but I found it got a bit sticky in my mouth – not an issue when washed down with some milk though!

4. Iceland Luxury Mince Pies (£1.89 / 6 pies) – 8/10

This was voted as the nation’s favourite mince pie last year, so I had high hopes! The pastry on these mince pies were lovely – really buttery and almost crisp when warmed in the oven. Also has a delicious gooey filling with juicy fruits. Unexpected place to find such a tasty mince pie!

5. Starbucks Mince Pie (£1.69 / ea) – 6/10

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This was a pretty hefty mince pie (both in price, as compared to the options above, and also in size). The mince pie is very deep and was generous with the sultanas, currants and raisins. I found the filling too sweet though and with the heavy dusting of icing sugar, it was a bit too much on the whole. The pastry was also very crumbly. This probably wouldn’t be my first choice of a baked good in Starbucks but it’s still pretty tasty enjoyed with one of their Christmas coffees.

6. Konditor & Cook Mince Pie (£1.60 / ea) – 7.5/10

I love the cakes at K&C, so I had to give their famous mince pies a try too! These were smaller than I expected and I polished it off in a few bites! Their mince pies have a lovely handcrafted look and are tantalisingly golden brown. The filling is plump with raisins / sultanas but there isn’t a lot of it! All in all, a delicious mince pie with buttery pastry (yet not being too dry), but the price means that it’s more of a treat / good for a gift – K&C sell it in gift boxes of 6 for £10.

7. Waitrose’s All Butter Chocolate and Ginger Mince Pies (£2.00 / 4 pies) – 8/10

img_9532I’ve never tried a chocolate mince pie before and what a delicious revelation! When warmed in the oven, the crisp pastry and the soft filling have a gooey brownie-like texture, which is divine. The filling is laced with orange oil and ginger, giving the pie a lovely spicy and warming flavour. On the whole, the mince pie isn’t too sweet and the chocolate, orange and ginger flavours pair together really nicely. If you’re looking for a twist on the traditional mince pie, this one is highly recommended!

Hope you all have a lovely Christmas / holiday season, filled with lots of delicious food (already excited for all the Christmas cakes) & wishing everyone the best for 2018! 🙂

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Eating the World: Mallorca

Holidays give you a dangerous taste of what life is like away from work… and our week in Mallorca was delicious. I don’t quite want to accept that I’ve come back to reality, so I’m writing this post to wallow reminisce.

We visited so many beautiful places – the dramatic Tramuntana mountain range and the little towns tucked away in the valleys, the hidden calas with the most turquoise waters I’ve ever seen, and the incredible Es Pontas, a gigantic natural rock arch with one of the most difficult deep water solo routes.

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Being on holiday was no doubt another excuse to eat as much as we physically could. We had so much tasty seafood paella, tapas and most importantly… ice cream! These were my three favourite flavours from the trip!

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1. Crema catalana

I found out that this is a popular Spanish dessert, kind of like a creme brûlée. The ice cream was wonderfully creamy and custard-y, but what made it special was the flecks of caramelised sugar throughout the ice cream – so good

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2. Tiramisu

We came across this brightly decked out gelateria in Valldemossa. This was our first stop along our mini road trip through Serra de Tramuntana and I absolutely loved this small town in the mountains! I had a lovely time browsing the shops selling Spanish wares (though admittedly it was all very touristy) and marvelling over the amazing views. 

This gelato was the perfect treat on this hot day, and I particularly liked the swirl of coffee / chocolate sauce. 

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3. Kinder bueno

This was a sweet after-dinner treat along the Pollença seaside (and I’m pretty sure this was our second ice cream of the day so we conservatively shared a scoop). 

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All in all, this was an wonderful getaway and I can’t wait to visit again. For now, I’m feeling semi-rejuvenated and will have to go back to exploring London for new and tasty ice creams! 

Raspberry Ripple Ice Cream

Even though it’s only August, it’s already getting cooler and the days are getting shorter here in the UK… but as if that would stop me from making more ice cream! I love ice cream in all seasons, and I’m looking forward to experimenting with more autumnal and winter flavours (mmm mince pie perhaps?). But for now, summer’s not quite over yet, so I’m taking advantage of the remaining sunshine and beautiful fresh fruits.

Raspberry ripple is a classic British flavour which wonderfully showcases the sweet and tangy berries. I love the balance between the velvety dairy ice cream and the fresh berry coulis – this ice cream also looks amazing with its lovely scarlet-purple swirls, and is sure to impress friends and family.

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Inspiration

London was going through an unbearable heatwave, so we decided to escape our furnace of a flat and head down to Bournemouth for a day. Turns out the rest of south-west England had the same idea, as the beaches were completely packed! It was such a lovely day, lounging under the sun and going for a paddle in the sea.

It might’ve been the heat, but I’m not exaggerating when I say I had one of the tastiest ice creams ever from a small beach-side hut. This scoop of raspberry ripple meringue had light ribbons of raspberry through it, with crunchy pieces of meringue swirled in as well.

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Creation

I’ve made raspberry ripple ice cream a few times now, and most recently I decided to make a version with not only raspberries, but also blackberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants. This gave the coulis a deeper purple colour and a tangier flavour (so I probably should’ve added more sugar).

Summer berry coulis

  • 250 g mixed berries (frozen or fresh)
  • 75 g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  1. On a medium heat, gently cook the berries with the sugar and lemon juice. 
  2. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash any stubborn berries. 
  3. Cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the mixture has reached a jam-like consistency. 
  4. Let the mixture cool, then blitz in a blender until smooth. 
  5. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the seeds. 
  6. The remaining coulis can now be used to swirl through ice cream, yogurts, oatmeal or as a topping for other desserts – enjoy!

The ice cream turned out really well, and it looks gorgeous too! It’s so delicious served on its own, or with a handful of fresh berries on the side.

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Dark Chocolate Sorbet – Part 1

Inspiration

Not going to lie, I was a bit sceptical when I heard about this dairy-free dessert. I couldn’t imagine how a sorbet could have the rich texture of an ice cream!

Essentially, sorbet has a base of water / fruit and sugar; whereas ice cream has a base of milk, cream or a combination of both. Given the obvious difference between these ingredients – I was pleasantly surprised when I tried these dark chocolate sorbets from two great spots in London recently.

1. La Gelatiera (Stratford) – Extra dark chocolate with Calabrian chilli

IMG_8237I visited La Gelatiera’s lovely cafe in East Village with my sister and boyfriend after our 10K race at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The race was great fun, though exhausting, so seeing the signs pointing to GELATO drew me in instantly. I needed an energy boost and this sorbet did just that!

This was a velvety and luxurious dark chocolate sorbet which had the same richness as an ice cream. I was impressed by the deep flavour of the chocolate, and really liked the kick of chilli at the end of each bite (or lick). As a bonus, it’s also vegan.

The only issue I had with this was that I felt it left a slight residue on my tongue afterwards, but it could just have been the particular batch, as I’ve not had this issue with any of their other flavours in the past!

2. Udderlicious (Covent Garden) – Dark chocolate and sea salt

img_8294.jpgAs a complete coincidence, I also had this delicious duo of sorbets after a 10K race (the British 10K around Central London!). I feel like the run completely justifies having dessert before lunchtime!

I had a dark chocolate and sea salt sorbet and also a peach and raspberry daiquiri sorbet. Two contrasting flavours – the chocolate was very creamy while the peach and raspberry was light and fresh – but both were fantastic.

I’d highly recommend a trip to Udderlicious if you haven’t been before as they have some of the most delicious flavours London has ever seen (I really like their matcha & chocolate chip ice cream too).

I was so impressed by these two experiences that I had to give it a go myself – you won’t believe how easy it is to make as well!

Check out Part 2 of this post to see how my own dark chocolate sorbet turned out…!