Friday 22 August 2014

Elizabeth David's Glace à l'abricot - BSFIC random recipes

Last month I won the most brilliant prize - a lifetime premium membership to Eat Your Books, which is a fantastic cookbook index site. Once you've tagged all the cookbooks (and some blogs and magazines) you own on your "shelf", you can use it to search for recipes without flicking through pages, bookmark things you want to make and make notes on the success (or otherwise) and variations you made to the recipe. I've been finding it extremely useful - especially in the recent cherry glut. I would never have thought to look in Tamasin Day-Lewis's books for a Bakewell recipe, but it was her frangipane filling I ended up using. It's brilliant. I love getting more use out of the cookbooks I have acquired over the years.

As I won this amazing prize through Kavey Eats, it seemed fitting that I should try to use it for this month's Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge. Even more fittingly, this month Kavey has teamed up with Dom from Belleau Kitchen to do a combined BSFIC/Random Recipe challenge.

In order to generate my random ice cream recipe, I did a search in my indexed recipes for ice cream. Which produced 402 results. Then I went to a random number generator which picked #312. This identified a flaw in my system. My search had identified every recipe on my shelf featuring the words "Ice" and "cream". Recipe 312 was Elizabeth David's iced ham mousse... which didn't really fit the bill, or sound in any way appealing. So 311 was her Apricot Ice, Glace à l'abricot, from French Provincial Cooking.

This is a classic custard-based ice cream, with a bit of whipped cream folded through just before freezing. It's not churned, it's just given a couple of stirs while freezing, which suits me. Mrs David's recipes are not for those who like explicit instructions. "Make a custard with 1/2 pint of thin cream or, for the sake of economy, milk". So I heated the cream with a split vanilla pod, poured it onto the egg yolks, which I'd beaten with caster sugar and then returned it to the pan.
Egg yolks beaten with caster sugar
It worked well, although I would have preferred a more pronounced apricot flavour - maybe the addition of half a dozen dried apricot halves to the puree, or perhaps a ripple of apricot jam. I also think that freezers are probably more efficient now than they were in 1960 - my ice cream froze very hard and needed a good 15 minutes to be scoopable, and even then it wasn't a tidy scoop. I also suspect that I was supposed to drain the apricots before pureeing them, instead of including the poaching syrup which obviously added a lot of extra liquid. But as I hardly ever make proper custard-based ice cream, I was still proud of this one.



grace said...

i would definitely support the addition of an apricot jam ripple. :)

Kavey said...

So happy you're enjoying Eat Your Books and that you've already been able to reap the benefits.

Those somewhat vague recipes are, I find, much easier to handle for savoury recipes than sweet ones, or perhaps that's just because I feel more confident or comfortable with savoury cooking?

Unknown said...

i'm reminded of scene from friends when Rachel cooks a trifle with mince meat because the pages got stuck together... not sure the ham sounds all that appealing but the apricot glace looks and sounds gorgeous... a few people use Eat Your Books to chose their random recipe now and I must give it a go myself. Thanks so much for the brilliant entry x

Alicia Foodycat said...

Grace - it would be good, wouldn't it?

Kavey - I definitely agree! Happy to riff on savoury but with sweet...

Dom - I can't believe I hadn't joined before. It's amazing!

Taste of Beirut said...

This recipe looks great! It may help to use "Amardeen Paste" which is an apricot paste that you can buy at your local Middle Eastern grocer.

Suelle said...

Tinned apricots often taste more intense than fresh, with the added benefit of being able to use the recipe all year round!

It sounds a delicious ice cream, even if it did have a delicate flavour!

Couscous & Consciousness said...

I keep meaning to investigate an Eat Your Books subscription. It seems like a great idea.

Your apricot glace looks wonderful - love the idea of a ripple of apricot jam through it. In the height of the season, I roast fresh apricots for making into gelato - it really intensifies the flavour.


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