We know it’s the middle of winter, the winter solstice even. The last couple of days have been blustery, wet and cold here in Melbourne. So maybe it’s a silly time to post an ice cream recipe, but throughout this cold and blustery time a mandarin has been my constant companion. Since moving to a studio a block from the Queen Victoria Market I’ve been eating tonnes of fruit, and the mandarins have been so ridiculously cheap and good. Last week the elderly Italian man buying a huge bag of mandarins next to Sarah and I said, “So sweet, so sweet.” We all ripped open a mandarin right there and then. So this is a wintery ice cream recipe in celebration of the perfectly in season mandarins.
The mandarin ice cream is held together by a soft chocolate biscuit sandwich. What better treat to brighten the shortest days of the year?
Mandarin Ice Cream Sandwich
The biscuits were adapted from: Granny Boyd’s Biscuits, How to be a Domestic Goddess, Nigella Lawson. The ice cream has a Stephanie Alexander, Cook’s Companion custard as its base.
for the ice cream:
1 cup milk
1 cup cream
1 vanilla bean, split
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup Castor sugar
4 medium mandarins (two juiced, the other two peeled of pith as best you can)
3 tbsp caster sugar
Put the mandarin juice and flesh into a small pot with the caster sugar and bring to the boil, then simmer, squashing the flesh against the sides until the mixture is thick and mostly uniform. Cook until just jammy, for say 5 minutes. Set aside.
Bring the milk, cream and vanilla bean to simmering point in a heavy-based saucepan. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks with sugar until light and frothy, then whisk in warm milk and cream. Return to rinsed-out pan and cook over a moderate heat for at least 10 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Strain into a cold bowl, then scrape in some of the vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod. (Rinse and dry the vanilla pod – it can be reused.)
Use an ice cream maker to churn the ice cream or stir every half hour or so, in a plastic container in the freezer, making sure to scrape around the sides of the container. Add the mandarin mixture half way through this process. Churn until frozen and creamy.
for the biscuits:
300g self-raising flour
30g cocoa powder
250g soft unsalted butter
15g caster sugar
Grease a baking sheet and preheat over to 170C. Sieve together the flour and cocoa. Set aside. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and soft, then work in the flour and cocoa. It might look like ti needs liquid but keep working the ingredients and it will form a dough. On a lightly floured surface roll dough out until ½cm thick and then cut into neat squares (a little smaller than the size you want for your sandwich). They will spread a little in the oven, so keep this in mind for sizing. Arrange on a baking sheet with a decent amount space between each biscuit.
Put the baking sheet in the oven and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150C and bake for a further 10 minutes. The biscuits should feel firm on top, but not hard, when they’re ready. They will continue to cook and harden as they cool. Try not to over cook because you want the biscuit with give for an ice cream sandwich.
(Our friend Sari was talking about a ginger biscuit and mandarin ice cream combination. So next time we might add a little ground ginger to the biscuit mix. Yum.)
Assemble the sandwiches using a plastic spatula and refreeze.
Makes enough for 6 ice cream sandwiches (there might be some cookie dough left over).