Fanny wants us to play 'lets pretend' with her for a moment, as she introduces a 'new' concept to our culinary catalogue. Alcohol. It can be added to food in cooking you know. Please don't look shocked. Please just smile and nod along with Fanny as if you have never raided the cocktail cabinet before in your life. Please never ever let it be known that you've succumbed to the 'one slosh in the pot, one for the cook' philosophy of kitchen capers. So, alcohol in your food, eh, what a grand idea! Fanny thinks it to be a particularly appropriate addition for ice-cream.
Fanny recommends a straightforward Crème de Cacao or Tia Maria to pair with Chocolate. Brandy goes well with coffee, as you might expect. And so Orange Curaçao with Orange Ice Cream. No surprises there, and no stretch on your booze stash. However if your ice cream is Almond flavoured, Fanny suggests Ratafia. For Strawberry her recommendation is Eau de Vie des Fraises. Raspberry requires Bénédictine. My cocktail cabinet is starting to feel rather inadequate. Fanny has a solution - stock up on baby bottles of booze, just one miniature at a time of course as prices are so appalling, scraping the costs together from your stretched household budget and therefore bit by bit building up an 'adequate' range. I'll continue pretending as I place a large on-line order for full bottles.
Fanny's marvellously modern idea for ice-cream is multi-layered and moulded. She has an array of historic moulds - china, tin and cooper. She also has a selection that she refers to as the 'make do' moulds, which she suggests may be what we use at home. These include cake tins, loaf tins and savarin rings. I have a rather charming little china ring mould though so do not need to stoop to the mere domestic level, just yet. For added fancy, Fanny insists that we make 'composite' ice-creams in layers, laced with our new-found knowledge of booze. Let's not let the pretence slip... Oh what a smashing idea!
I have some of Fanny's foundation ice cream already in the freezer. Made simply with whipped cream, folded in custard, and a touch of vanilla, before freezing, ready to be retrieved at short notice and flavoured up as required. Fanny suggests three layers of ice cream, but I, perhaps fuelled with the courage of alcohol, break rank and insist on only two. To half I add a spoonful of freeze dried Raspberry Powder which I picked up from Spice Mountain on my last trip to Borough Market. To the other half, some Pistachio Paste I bought from Sous Chef. The raspberry needs no additional colouring, but the pistachio benefits from a little harmless vegetable green-ness. I don't have Bénédictine (yet) but Fanny recommends Maraschino to go with Pistachio, so in it goes! Sparingly, this is Fanny's key to success. Swig.
Fanny's top tip for moulds is to burnish them hard and carefully with oil before filling. To un-mould once frozen, hold upside down under a very hot tap before placing on your chosen dish, shaking it vigorously and 'hey presto', out it comes. Sort of. Fanny reminds us to re-freeze the un-moulded ice cream on the serving plate until required (tented in foil) to be taken out when serving the main course. Otherwise folks will never get their forks through it. The finished ring of joy is a tempting triumph, tasty and a thrill for the eyes. Not like those 'revolting' Italian trifles such as Zuppa Inglese that Fanny hates so much, drenched in dollops of very crude Italian liqueurs such as Strega. Fanny's restraint is, she notes, a financial as well as a gastronomic consolation. Johnnie rates her ice-creams as Three Stars, in Michelin terms. Perhaps he's been hitting the booze too. Slosh. Quaff. Guzzle.