White Chocolate & Ginger Caramel Icecream Sandwiches
Don’t get upset with me, but I detest Christmas pudding and fruit mince pies. There I said it. Maybe it’s a dried fruit thing, I’m not sure…….but I do know that they’re just not my thing. So consequently, when I am charged with Christmas day dessert (every time!) I will always make something less traditional. The last couple of years i’ve made icecream sandwiches and this year, given our 35C forecast, I’ll be doing the same.
Although the old Christmas pud isn’t for me, I absolutely adore the tradition of those warming Christmas spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove, so I’ve decided to incorporate these into some icecream sandwiches.
The icecream is White Chocolate & Ginger Caramel which I’ve then paired with a biscuit which happens to be very special to me. This biscuit takes me waaaaay (yes it is a long way) back to my childhood and to the Dutch side of my family. It’s a traditional Dutch biscuit called Speculaas. Thin and crisp, it’s a biscuit packed full of those beautiful warming spices I love so much. The recipe I’ve given you here is actually my Gran’s. She made those biscuits better than I ever will and rolled out the dough so wonderfully thin resulting in a thin, crisp, and exceptionally more-ish biscuit - always served with a steaming cup of rooibos tea. If you can, try and get a speculaas spice mix (available online and selected gourmet stores). By the way, the recipe will make more biscuits than you need for the icecream sandwiches - this is a blessing, be happy.
So here you have it folks, my Christmas dessert. Start at least a day ahead, or do what I do and have them done days in advance and ready to pull out of the freezer when you need them. One less thing to do on Christmas Day - got to be happy with that! Oh and if you want to serve them in the middle of the table, put a ceramic/stoneware serving dish in the freezer for 30 minutes prior and then arrange your ice cream sandwiches in it and serve. Will keep them nice and cold for longer.
Merry Christmas everyone!!
PS. Don’t fret if you don’t have an icecream machine, there are other ways. You can “churn” it the old fashioned way by taking the custard out of the freezer every hour or so and whisking it madly - do this 3 or 4 times. Or, I’ve also seen an ingenious way of churning it by pouring the chilled custard into a snap lock bag (making sure to completely seal it) and then putting this bag inside a larger one filled with ice. Then shake it til you make it basically. Dance around the room like no one’s watching.
White Chocolate & Ginger Caramel Icecream Sandwiches
White Chocolate & Ginger Caramel Icecream
750ml thickened cream
260ml full cream milk
4cm knob of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
100g white chocolate
50g caster sugar
8 egg yolks (save the whites for a pavlova perhaps!)
1/4 tsp salt
90g crystallised/glace ginger, chopped
150ml store bought thick caramel or dulce de leche (try Nestle Top & Fill or Bon Mamam Caramel, or gourmet stores for dulce de leche)
Speculaas Biscuit (makes 50)
375g plain flour
260g unsalted butter, cold
225g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon *
1 tsp ground ginger *
1/2 tsp ground cloves *
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg *
1/4 tsp ground cardamom *
1 tsp bicarb soda
3 tbsp milk
* Note: if you can get hold of Speculaas spice mix, replace the above spices with 1.5 tbsp of the spice mix.
Heat the cream, milk, and sliced fresh ginger over medium heat until the mixture comes to the boil. Turn off the heat and allow the mixture to sit and infuse the flavour of the ginger for at least 30 minutes. Once the mixture has had time to infuse, add the white chocolate, sugar and salt and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the chocolate has melted (stirring to ensure the chocolate doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan and burn). In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour the heated cream mixture over the egg yolks whilst whisking constantly then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard into a bowl through a sieve to remove the fresh ginger and any eggy bits. Now add the chopped crystallised ginger into the custard and place plastic wrap directly over the top of the custard to avoid a skin forming and place in fridge to cool completely (or alternatively, cool over a bowl of ice if you’re in a hurry).
Once the custard has chilled, churn in an icecream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Pour the icecream into a tray (such as a lamington tray or a plastic container - I use a shallow plastic container which is 28cm x 28cm), drizzle with the caramel and use a knife to swirl it through the icecream. Level the icecream with a spatula or pallet knife, cover and freeze overnight.
Preheat oven to 160C and line 4 large baking trays with baking paper.
Place all ingredients except for the milk, into a food processor and process until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add the milk and pulse until the dough comes together. Form the dough into a flat disc shape, wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for an hour.
Remove the chilled dough from the fridge and on a floured bench top roll out the dough to around 3mm thick. TIP: this dough softens very quickly, so I find it helpful to cut off 1/3 of the chilled dough, put the 2/3 back in the fridge and roll out a portion at a time.
Using a 6mm round cookie cutter, cut rounds of the dough and place onto the prepared baking trays, leaving at least 3cm between each one. If you have a cookie stamp, you can use it now. I find it useful to refrigerate the cut cookies at this stage - they tend to hold their shape better whilst cooking, however, 4 trays is a lot to fit into the fridge (especially at this time of the year when the fridge is full to bursting!), so you can skip this stage if you like.
Bake the biscuits for 20 mins and then allow to cool before transferring to a wire rack.
Remove the icecream from the freezer and using the same cookie cutter as the one you used for your biscuits, dip the cutter into hot water and then press into the icecream (you may need to leave the icecream out at room temperature for 5 minutes or so to soften slightly). Cut enough rounds to fill your biscuits. Use a pallet knife or offset spatula to tease the icecream rounds out (the first one may be a bit difficult but they should come out quite easily after that) and sandwich them between two biscuits. Place in an airtight container and freeze until required.