Following on from last week's WKWE post which featured my visit to Frankie & Benny's and my dessert of chocolate brownies and mint ice cream, I promised a post with recipes inspired by this. The chocolate brownie recipe that I'm going to include here is the second of many I hope to share, and is a flourless brownie that I found in Nigella Express, which makes it good for those who have gluten-free diets. The mint ice cream recipe is from The IceCreamists by Matt O'Connor.
Ingredients (to make 16 squares)225g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, beaten
150g ground almonds (optional)
100g chopped walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees Celsius or gas mark 3. Melt the chocolate and butter gently over a low heat in a heavy-based saucepan.
- Take the pan off the heat, mix in the vanilla and sugar, and let it cool a little.
- Beat the eggs into the pan along with the ground almonds and chopped walnuts. Turn into a 24cm square baking tin or, most sensibly, use a foil one.
- Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, by which time the top will have set but the mixture will still be gooey. Once cooler, cut carefully, four down, four across, into 16 squares.
Mint Ice Cream
Ingredients250ml (8 fl oz) full-fat milk
125ml (4 fl oz) double cream
2 egg yolks
88g (3 1/4 oz) caster sugar
120g (3 3/4 oz) dark chocolate fondant mints, such as After Eight Mints, roughly chopped
- Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy. Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling. Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil.
- Pour the mixture back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature. For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture into the fridge. Meanwhile, melt the fondant mints in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water.
- Once the ice cream mixture is cooled, add the melted chocolate mints to the bowl, along with the mixture, blend with a stick blender and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for 6 hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4 degrees Celsius). Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions, or by hand.
- When the churning is completed, fold in the After Eight mints with a spoon or spatula, and scrape the ice cream into a freezer-proof container with a lid. Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least 2 hours).
- Decorate each portion with fresh mint leaves before serving.