We've been a bit disappointed with the food scene in London. It's true you can get just about anything you want, but the quality and price of food in the grocery stores and restaurants often falls far from our least expectations. That being said we have found a few gems in the Big Old Smoke. One such gem, just a few blocks away from our apartment flat is Andrew Edmunds*. It's a tiny candle-lit place with tables squashed together and squeezed in corners. The food, however, is pretty darn good and on one recent visit I tried the Brown Bread Ice Cream. I had never had it and the server told me it was from Victorian times where old toasted bread was stirred into vanilla ice cream. I had to give it a go - it was delicious! I've never seen it on any other menu and haven't seen it in any ice cream shops in England so I wanted to try making it at home.
First step, make some brown bread. I wanted something moist and easy to crumble so I made my Irish Soda Bread. This is the simplest bread to make (taking mere minutes to stir together) and absolutely heaven to eat warm from the oven. Would be a perfect too for a certain holiday that falls tomorrow. If you don't have the time, energy, tools to make ice cream for the Brown Bread Ice cream you must still do the following: (1) make this bread and eat the better part of it minutes out of the oven, standing at the kitchen counter with a huge slab of softened butter; (2) save a few bits of bread to make the brown bread crumbs (recipe below); (3) stir into your favorite store-bought vanilla ice cream (softened); (4) freeze it for a bit and enjoy your Brown Bread Ice Cream.
If you do have the time, energy, and tools to make ice cream at home use this ice cream base recipe - it's basically a vanilla ice cream base, but some of the regular sugar is replaced with dark brown sugar.
BROWN BREAD ICE CREAM BASE
- 2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- pinch salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 1x Brown Bread Crumbs (recipe follows)
Heat cream, milk, sugars, vanilla bean (scraped and leave pod in pot) and salt. Heat the mixture to a scald. Meanwhile whisk egg yolks. Temper the eggs with the hot mixture. Put everything back on a low heat to thicken the mixture so it coats the back of a spoon. Strain. Chill mixture. Spin the ice cream following your ice cream machine's instructions. Just as it is done spinning, add most of the brown bread crumbs, reserving some for garnish. Keep in freezer till ready to serve.
- 3 oz (2-3 slices) brown bread
- 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 1/2 oz unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 350ºF/175ºC. Crumble brown bread between your fingers - some should be like sand, other like small pebbles. Because my bread is so moist using your hands will be possible if you use my Irish Soda Bread recipe. If you use another brown or whole wheat bread you may need to use a food processor. Melt butter and brown sugar on low heat till sugar is melted and the mixture barely comes to a bubble. Put brown bread crumbs in a heat safe bowl and pour the brown sugar+butter mixture over top. Stir in till well mixed. Place on a sheet pan lined with parchment (grease with a small bit flavorless oil) or use a silpat. Bake for about 15-20 minutes till edges crisp up. It will bake into one piece, but let it cool for a few minutes after it comes out of the oven and then crumble, leaving some bits larger than others. Do not use in the ice cream base until it is completely cooled. Reserve some crumbs for garnish.
To celebrate St. Patrick's Day I'm joining Daily Spud's St. Paddy's Day Food Parade with this post!
*Andrew Edmunds does not have a website. The restaurant is located at 46 Lexington Street in Soho, Central London. Reservations taken only a week in advance at +44 (0) 207 437 5708.