I read recently that Heston Blumenthal is going to release three new and exciting ice cream flavours for Waitrose. Being Heston, these are not your run of the mill ice cream flavours. They’re going to feature Chocolate & Rosemary ice cream, Salted Caramel Popcorn ice cream and…Savoury Mustard ice cream….ermm??
The one that sounded most exciting and appealing to me was the popcorn ice cream. Popcorn ice cream – what a brilliant idea! I was trying to figure out in my head how it would taste and I soon decided the best way to find out would be try making some myself.
I thought the easiest way of achieving the popcorn flavour would be to infused the milk and cream mixture with the popcorn, strain this off and then use it to make the ice cream. I used a bag of sweet microwave popcorn for ease and then added it to the milk while it was still steaming hot. As I poured the milk over the top of the popcorn it sort of shrivelled and collapsed down on itself with a sizzling cracking sound. It was rather amusing to watch. If you’ve ever poured hot milk over sugar puffs as a child you’ll know what I mean!
I heated everything together and left it to infuse for a few hours. After this I blitzed the two together and then strained the mix to remove all the husks, pips and coarse bits from the popcorn. I tried eating a little of the soggy popcorn and it was not pleasant, so sieving is a must! It was then a simple process of making the normal ice cream using the popcorn flavoured cream.
I was so excited to taste the finished ice cream and I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was deliciously smooth and creamy with a definite ‘something recognisable’ flavour to it, but it wasn’t immediately obviously popcorn flavoured. Once I told people what it was there was an ‘ahhh yes’ of recognition, but I think the flavour was probably a little subtle. This didn’t stop it being utterly delicious though!
No doubt Heston does some kitchen wizardry to extract the intense essence of popcorn for his ice cream, but I feel for a first attempt, my popcorn infused ice cream was pretty good too. More popcorn required next time though.
Served with a little extra helping of popcorn it would make a fun end to a meal and certainly get the conversation going. If you’re one of those people who can’t choose between popcorn and ice cream when watching a film, well this way you can have both!
Popcorn Ice Cream
1 x 100g bag sweet microwavable popcorn
350ml whole milk
200ml double cream
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
½ tsp caramel or butterscotch flavouring
Cook the popcorn according to pack instructions. Place three quarters of the hot popcorn into a large saucepan and pour over the milk and cream. (It was crackle and deflate drastically).
Leave to infuse for 1½ hours.
After infusing, blitz and popcorn into the cream mixture using a hand blender. Then heat the pulpy popcorn mixture until hot but not boiling.
Meanwhile, lightly beat together the egg yolks, sugar and flavouring if using.
When the cream is hot, sieve the mix to remove all the pips, husks and popcorn pulp before pouring a little over the eggs to temper them. Whisk well, and slowly add the rest of the cream mixture.
Pour the custard base back into the pan and heat gently, stirring constantly until the custard thicken just enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 3-4minutes. Do not let it boil.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature before chilling until cold.
Then churn in your ice cream maker until thick or transfer to a container and place in the freezer until set.
Makes 1 pint ice cream