That Heston Blumenthal – he loves Earl Grey, he loves ice cream, he loves making ice cream at home with dry ice. Let’s combine all those things for our entry into Kaveyeats.com’s “Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream Challenge”.
One of the blogs we’re always happy to recommend is Kaveyeats.com. Consistency, clarity of writing, plus frequent, varied and interesting updates makes hers one of the blogs that inspires us to try better with our own efforts.
One of Kavey’s regular features is the Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge. Got a blog? Check out the theme of the month, get out your ice cream machine and then let your creativity run wild. There’s plenty of fresh deliciousness every time.
We’ve always wanted to enter but, well, you’ve seen this blog. We’re pretty much restricted to Heston’s exact recipes; with maybe some slight variations and interpretations along the way. And it’s unlikely we’ll ever find an opportunity to make Heston’s Crab Ice Cream recipe, or even Heston’s Parmesan Ice Cream, recipe.
Then Kavey’s latest challenge came long. It’s titled “Inspired by hot drinks”, and this is a #BSFIC challenge that’ll fit in perfectly with Heston’s Ice Cream recipes, if we make one minor little tweak.
You see, the Fat Duck chef has a long-established love of Earl Grey tea (like with this Earl Grey Panna Cotta recipe), and our recent success making dry ice ice cream with a fire extinguisher means we hope we can create something interesting / different enough to be worth Kavey’s including.
Recipes: Heston’s Dry Ice Earl Grey Ice Cream recipe
Special Equipment: A C02 fire extinguisher, safety gloves & protective eye wear
Special Ingredients: Liquid glucose
Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 4- 8
Quick Facts: CO2 fire extinguishers store pressurized carbon dioxide in liquid form. When you set them off most of this comes out as a gas. But, because of the extreme cold, some of this C02 will freeze on its way out. Frozen CO2 is “dry ice”, and if you can catch it on the way out of the extinguisher you can use this instant dry ice to make excellent ice creams.
We’ll be using almost exactly the same ice cream recipe as we used for Heston’s Perfect Treacle Tart, but with added Earl Grey.
We like this ice cream recipe, and we think the pure dairy flavour will work well with the tea. Plus, we’ve proven in the past that this combination works, so hopefully none of our trademark embarrassing screw-ups!
This earl grey recipe should make just shy of a pint of ice cream.
- 2 – 3 Earl Grey Tea Bags
- 350g Whole Milk
- 150g Double Cream
- 40g Unrefined Caster Sugar
- 50g Liquid Glucose
- Bring the earl grey tea bags and milk to a simmer in a pan. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for a minimum of 20 minutes
- Alternatively leave the milk and tea bags to infuse overnight in the fridge (cold infusion protects delicate flavour compounds)
- Measure out 250g of milk, and combine with the remaining ingredients in a pan
- Stir over a low heat until all of the sugar has dissolved
- Wrap a pillow case around the nozzle of the fire extinguisher and discharge, collecting the resulting dry ice. Be careful when doing this
- Shake the dry ice out of the pillow case into a plastic or glass measuring jug
- Pour the ice cream base into a large plastic mixing bowl, and begin adding dry ice while stirring with a silicone whisk (don’t use metal, it’ll conduct heat rapidly and make the whisk painful to hold)
- Continue stirring and adding more dry ice until your ice cream base has frozen
- Serve immediately or transfer to a container then press with clingfilm and store in the freezer
Step 1: Tea Infusion
We’re basing this on the Heston Blumenthal Dry Ice Ice-Cream recipe from his In Search of Perfection Treacle Tart recipe, which is originally intended to taste just of milk. To make this something special, our first order of business is gonna be to add some Earl Grey tea flavour.
Start by weighing 350g of milk into a pan. The ice cream base only requires 250g, but your tea bags will absorb and hold onto some of that milk.
We started with two Earl Grey tea bags, but then added a third. It all depends on how strong you want the flavour in your ice cream. Bring the pan of milk and teabags to a simmer over a medium heat, then remove and leave to infuse for about 20 minutes.
Warning: After the first minute or so there might not be a lot of Earl Grey colouring. Whatever you do DO NOT start prodding at the tea bags with your spatula to “encourage infusion”. This’ll just result in one of the tea bags splitting and filling your flavoured milk with grains of tea leaf. Like this:
You don’t want these bits ruining the texture of your finished ice cream. If this does happen you can rescue things by straining the milk through a muslin cloth (or cheap disposable hairnet like we use).
Step 2: Ice Cream Base
Really easy: Weigh 250g of the ice cream base along with the other ingredients into a pan, then stir until the sugar and glucose have dissolved.
You can chill this ice cream base and store it for a couple of days (expiry dates permitting), or go right ahead and make your dry ice ice cream now.
Step 3: Discharge Dry Ice
Before the exciting bit starts we need to take a moment to be sensible / boring and remind you to take proper safety precautions to protect your hands and eyes. We use gardening gloves and some knackered 3D glasses from the cinema.
Also, be sure to open all the doors and windows you can. Remember that a lot of the CO2 will come out as a gas, so to save yourself from asphyxiation keep your work area well-ventilated.
Right, fun time: Wrap a pillow case around the nozzle of the extinguisher, don’t leave it too loose.
Here’s a video of us firing off our own fire extinguisher to collect the dry ice. I did a few test blasts, so unfortunately you won’t get to hear me yelping like a craven in surprise. In fact, I now realise that the videos in this post are quiet to the point of being slightly sinister. Enjoy:
Shake the dry ice out of your pillow case and into a bowl. Use plastic, as this won’t make your hands cold the way a metal bowl would. Here’s another eerily silent video of us doing just that:
Step 4: Mix
You want a nice, big mixing bowl for this. Pour in your ice cream base, and then start adding the dry ice. Stir vigorously, and in about a minute you’ll have frozen dry ice ice cream, made using your instant dry ice.
Here’s another creepily hushed video of me making our Heston-inspired Earl Grey dry ice ice cream recipe. See if you can spot the bit where I repeatedly try and fail to shake the ice cream out of the whisk:
And there you have it, Earl Grey Dry Ice Ice Cream, a recipe we hope Heston would approve of. It makes the perfect accompaniment to a slice of lemon tart (Sainsburys, £1.60).
… or served simply with some caraway biscuit we had left over from making Heston’s In Search of Perfection Trifle recipe. Like so:
This was a beautiful ice cream. Not too sweet, with a wonderful pungent Earl Grey flavour. It pairs excellently with citrusy flavours like those Heston recipe caraway biscuits, or the lemon tart. We think Treacle Tart would be a good match too.
As for the method of making the ice cream? Well, they’re not exactly cheap, but a second hand CO2 fire extinguisher is a great way to store dry ice at home ready for use whenever you want.
Sure, you can buy-in blocks of dry ice, but they’re nearly twice the price of a refill for our extinguisher. Some fire safety companies will even give you old, out-of-date CO2 extinguishers for free. Hop on yell.com and try ringing around some local ones.
P.S. If you’ve any dry ice leftover when you’ve finished making your ice cream, you can stick it in a drinks cooler or thermos with some grapes to carbonate them, or just piss about with it and a hot kettle like we’re doing here (again, an unsettling lack of ambient noise):
This dry ice ice-cream habit of ours is getting expensive, so we might save our next experiment for a special occasion. We’d love to try an alcoholic ice cream.
Of course you can’t make true alcoholic ice creams, because the freezing-point of alcohol is lower than the temperature most ice cream makers will go (-114°C, to be exact). Normally you’d have to flame-off the alcohol, leaving the flavour but removing the fun.
Dry ice is only about -80°C, so still not quite cold enough. But we reckon we’d have a good chance of freezing a boozy recipe. Anyone for Mojito Sorbet?
Have you tried making dry ice ice cream, or would you be tempted to give it a go? Fancy making the earl grey tea ice cream recipe. Let us know tour thoughts in the comments section below…