Victorian Ice Cream

Summer is here and there is nothing more enjoyable than basking in the sun, eating home-made ice cream (unless you are me; I despise hot, sunny weather and like to stay indoors). I do like ice cream though.

Despite the fact that freezers had not been invented, the Victorians also liked ice cream – and they made it themselves.

To freeze the cream, you break ice into a large bowl, make sure you have a good mixture of large and small lumps. Then sprinkle salt over the ice and listen to it crackle. Salt reacts with the ice and the crackling sound is the heat being extracted from the ice – when you take heat out of ice, it drops the temperature to that of a freezer. Perfect for making ice cream.
DSCF0616So, for those of you who would do as the Victorians did. Here is how to make some ice cream. Vanilla is so, well vanilla, so let’s try something a bit different.

Brown Bread Ice Cream (Cream de Pain Bis)
This recipe is from A. B. Marshall’s “Book of Ices”.

Make a pint of brown bread crumbs and mix them with 8 tablespoons of noyeau or maraschino syrup. A few drops of vanilla essence and 1 pint of cream or unsweetened custard. Freeze dry. Serve in a pile or mould.

Well, it’s not the most comprehensive of recipes but I suppose it assumes that the reader already has the skills a Victorian (lady) would have acquired. Being a product of the 20th/21st century you probably don’t have those skills. Just saying.

If you make this and it turns out well, let me know.

Hints on making ices:
1. Too much sugar will prevent the ice from freezing properly.
2. Too little sugar will cause the ice to freeze hard and rocky.
3. When dishing up ices, whether in a pile or mould, it will be found advantageous to dish them on a napkin or paper, as they will not conduct the heat to the bottom of the ices so quickly as the dish would.

If you try this and it doesn’t work, more detailed instructions can be had from the author (actually, since Ms Marshall left this realm in 1905, feel free to drop me a note explaining how you have failed miserably and I will offer advice).


About Jasen Quick

Author, historian, tutor.
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