Fennel Seed and Honeycomb Ice Cream
Though honeycomb takes a matter of minutes to make, it always feels like you’re making something special. It fizzes and it swells, like something out of a Roald Dahl storybook. Stirring honeycomb into ice cream is divine, though you can easily make it separately to crumble on top. The custard is infused with fennel seeds to enhance the aroma of the ice cream and impart a gentle flavour of anise. It’s goddam gorgeous.
- 1 vanilla pod
- 500ml double cream
- 150g caster sugar
- 3 tsp fennel seeds
- 5 medium free-range egg yolks
- For the honeycomb
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
- 50g caster sugar
- 2 tbsp golden syrup
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
TIME TO PREPARE: 4 HOURS + COOLING TIME
TO COOK: 20 MINUTES
1. Split the vanilla pod lengthways using a sharp knife, then, with a teaspoon, scoop out the seeds from the pod. Place the pod, vanilla seeds, cream and fennel seeds in a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Bring the cream to just below boiling, then remove from the heat. Leave, covered with clingfilm, to infuse for 15 minutes. Strain into a jug.
2. Whisk the sugar with the egg yolks until pale and frothy, then pour in the cream, whisking until combined. Place back over a low heat and stir until thick and creamy. Test the thickness with the wooden spoon trick (see tips, page 258). Leave to cool.
3. Pour the custard into an ice cream machine. Following your machine instructions, churn the ice cream until just frozen (this should usually take 1 hour, depending on your machine). To make ice cream without a machine, freeze the custard in a shallow tub and whisk at 30 minute–1 hour intervals for about 4 hours, until frozen and creamy.
4. While the ice cream churns or sits in the freezer between whiskings, make the honeycomb. Grease and line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Mix the sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and set over a low heat. Without stirring, heat until the sugar dissolves, then whack up the heat and allow the sugar and syrup to bubble until they turn a deep hazelnut colour. Remove from the heat and whisk in the bicarbonate of soda. The mixture will splutter, grow and fizz. Pour quickly on to the baking tray, then leave to set for 10 minutes, without touching, before scrunching up the greaseproof to crumble the honeycomb. Stir into the half-set ice cream.
5. Transfer the machine-made ice cream to the freezer or leave the hand-whisked version to freeze more. Scoop when ready to serve.