Sunday, 26 October 2014

Caramel Icecream with Strawberries in Caramel Balsamic Syrup and Brandy Snap Wafers

Perhaps a bit old fashioned, however, this dessert is super easy to make and can be made ahead and assembled at the last minute. Each of the components are nice on their own but work so well together. The strawberries balance the sweetness of the icecream and the brandy snap wafers. I think of it as a dish of contrasts, soft and smooth creamy icecream, crunchy biscuit, sweet with some acid from the syrup, the firm texture of the berries, I could go on but you can work it out for yourself. Not sure why they are called brandy snaps as there is no brandy in them and the ginger is optional.

I make the icecream first and allow a few hours for it to set and then the brandy snaps, which must be stored in an air tight container as they go soft very quickly. Make the syrup whilst cooking the biscuits and when cool, pour over the prepared strawberries. Leave at room temperature for at least an hour. Leftover syrup can be used again or frozen for another time.

The technique for making the icecream is demonstrated here. For this version I wanted a stronger caramel flavour so I used  1 can of Top n Fill caramel condensed milk and 300 ml of cream. To make the icecream whip the cream until it is softly whipped, add the caramel condensed milk and continue to beat until thick. Do not overbeat. Place into containers and freeze.

I have used this brandy snap recipe for years, it makes a lot but can be halved easily. When I make the mixture I put it in a plastic container and put it in the fridge to firm up. Unused mixture can be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen.

Brandy Snaps

185 g butter
1/2 cup golden syrup
2/3 cup brown sugar

1 cup plain flour

1 tablespoon ground ginger

Place butter, syrup and brown sugar in a saucepan and cook on low heat until butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.

Stir in flour and ginger and mix well. Place mixture in fridge to chill. It will become thicker and easier to manage.

Roll small balls of the brandy snaps and place on greased tray / tray lined with gladbake. Allow room to spread. If making small biscuits place two on each tray or one per tray if large.

Bake biscuits at 175/180 Deg C. Biscuits should have spread into a thin disc and be golden brown. Approximately 5 -7 minutes.

Remove biscuits from the oven and allow to cool on the tray for one minute before removing from the tray.

For Wafers

Remove biscuits to cooling rack and allow to cool.

For Baskets

Remove biscuit from the tray and place over an upturned mould or cup and allow to cool.

Use the baskets for the icecrean or fill with whipped cream and berries.

For Cylinders

Remove biscuit from the tray and roll around the handle of a wooden spoon and allow to cool. The traditional way of serving these is to fill from either end with piped whipped cream.

Strawberries with Caramel Balsamic Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 -3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup boiling water
Vanilla extract

2 punnets strawberries,
washed, hulled and sliced into halves or quarters depending on the size

Put sugar and 1/2 cup water in a saucepan, place on low heat and allow sugar to dissolve. Stir occasionally.

Once sugar has dissolved continue cooking until the syrup turns golden brown. Do not stir as you will cause the mixture to crystallise. The mixture will also have become quite thick and syrupy.

Remove from heat, add boiling water and vinegar. Take care as the mixture will bubble up and spit.

Return to heat, stir until fully dissolved. Check flavour, add a little more vinegar if necessary and a little vanilla extract.

Allow to cool and pour over the strawberries.

The new ice cream scoop, very nice to use and a good replacement for the one that has gone missing - presumably it was accidently thrown away.

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