Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream (#4)

5 04 2012

Update – June 7, 2012: This recipe won the Grand Prize in Carrie’s Experimental Kitchen’s Home Grown Chef Contest!

Happy Easter!  This calls for a special Easter ice cream recipe — something that goes beyond crushing a bag of Cadbury mini eggs and mixing them into vanilla ice cream (though that would probably be pretty tasty too).  Seeing that my dad has always been a fan of hot cross buns, I thought I’d try replicating the taste of this bakery treat in ice cream format for Easter this year.

Hot cross buns at Cobbs Bakery at Lonsdale Quay Market

Hot cross buns are sweet, mildly spicy buns that are studded with currents and raisins and marked with a symbolic cross.  They’re an Easter tradition and typically served on Good Friday.  I think I’ve developed an ice cream recipe that hits just the right combination of spices, flavouring, and dried fruit.  Be sure to use the best quality spices and dried fruit you can find.  If you’re buying bulk from a grocery store, make sure their bulk products have a high turnover for greatest freshness — yes, you *can* taste the difference!

Note: After three weeks of using up to 50% whipping cream for the dairy portion of the custard base, I’m switching over to using 100% half-and-half.  While whipping cream does result in an ultra-premium taste and increases the scoopability of the ice cream, I’m convinced that continued high usage will wreak havoc on my waistline, even if I use Baby Donvier and make smaller portions!  Don’t worry, using half-and-half does not significantly affect taste.  In fact, you might also want to experiment further and cut the half-and-half with some milk.

Hot Cross Buns Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 quart)

2 eggs
3/4 c brown sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp allspice
1/4 tsp nutmeg (use freshly ground, if possible!)
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp sea salt
2 tsp orange zest, finely chopped
2 tsp lemon zest, finely chopped
1/2 cup currants
1/3 cup golden raisins

Icing (optional):

1/4 cup icing sugar
1/8 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp milk

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 2 cups of the half and half, spices, and salt.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining 1 cup of the half and half to stop the cooking.
  5. Add zest, currents, and raisins to the mixture.  Cool and chill overnight in the fridge.
  6. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  7. When ice cream is firmly chilled, scoop into serving dishes.  If garnishing with icing, mix together icing sugar, vanilla, and milk.  Drizzle an X over each scoop of ice cream.

The Official Taster says:
“Better than the real thing!”

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