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Regency Recipe: Apricot Ice Cream

You may not have noticed how often Regency-era characters indulge in 'ices' - but I have. My love for ice cream is lifelong and my favourite characters share my passion. Ice cream as we know it, has only been enjoyed in England since about 1718 so it was still a relatively new form of dessert by the Regency era and many flavours were unusual, to say the least. Rye ice cream, for example, is one I think I might manage without. Fruit-flavoured ices became a wealthy person's treat by Austen's time, simply because summer is fruit season in her world, and also the hardest season for keeping ices from melting (ices and ice cream are the same sort of treat). Ice was a luxury many cooks could not afford, which is why winter desserts like 'rhubarb ices' became common. I, however, prefer to pretend I can afford Regency-era fruit ices, so this blog is devoted to the following recipe from Hannah Glasse's Art of Cookery Made Plain (1755), which was undoubtedly popular in Regency England. Note, they served ices in moulds - a lovely touch I think goes with any era.


Ingredients:

12 ripe apricots

170 g / 6 oz / ¾ cup powdered sugar

470 ml / 16 fl oz / 2 cups of cream

Preparing your apricots:

1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil.

2. Score the bottom of each apricot and place them in the pan.

3. Let them boil furiously for 3 minutes.

4. Drain the apricots in a colander and rinse them in cold water. The skins will now slip off easily.

5. Slice fruit in half and remove pits.


Regency Method:

1. Beat prepared fruit fine in a mortar.

2. Add 6 ounces of double refined sugar and a pint of scalding cream

3. Work mixture through a sieve.

4. Put it in a tin with a close cover, and set it in a tub of ice broke small, with four handfuls of salt mixed among the ice.

5. When your cream grows thick round the edges of your tin, stir it well and put it in again till it is quite thick.

6. When the cream is all froze up, take it out of the tin, and put it into the mould you intend to turn it out of.

7. Put on the lid and have another tub of salt and ice ready as before.

8. Put the mould in the middle, and lay the ice under and over it.

9. Let it stand for four hours, and never turn it out till the moment you want it.

10. Then dip the mould in cold spring water, and turn it into a plate.


Modern Method (because we have blenders and freezers now):

1. Place the apricots, cream and sugar into a blender and purée until smooth.

2. Pour this mixture into a dish with a tight fitting lid and place it in the freezer.

3. After 1 ½ hours, stir the ice cream so that it is smooth once more and return it to the freezer.

4. Continue this process every few hours until it is semi-hard.

5. Spoon the mixture into prepared moulds or allow it to harden in the dish and serve it in small scoops.


Serves 6-8

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