Cadbury’s Creme Eggs. How do you eat yours?
If you’re me, the answer is not very often. Despite their popularity (300 million of the things are sold every year in the UK), and strong association with all things seasonal (Creme Egg ads are to Easter what Coca Cola ads are to Christmas, sad but true), I’m just not that keen on them. Give me a caramel-filled alternative or handful of Smartie-like Mini Eggs any day over the sickly fondant slop that fills the nation’s favourite Easter egg.
That’s not to say I don’t like the idea of them. There’s something about peeling back the foil, biting off the top and licking out that gloopy goo which brings out the child in all of us. This childish joy has been so perfectly captured in the Creme Egg ad campaigns that every year I’ll be tempted to try one, opening it in eager anticipation only to be defeated after a couple of bites by the onset of sugar on top of more sugar.
Although I can’t quite get to grips with the taste of a Creme Egg, I do like the way they look. If you’re a regular reader of this blog you’ll know I like to experiment with chocolate coated ice cream (Salted Caramel Rolo Cups, Butterscotch Pecan Tartufi, Salty Snickers bars and chocolate-coated rhubarb to name a few), and with Easter just around the corner, I began to wonder whether I could create some sort of ice cream-filled egg.
Ever since I got an ice cream maker, I’ve wanted to make the flavour fior di latte. Literally translated as ‘flower of milk’ (fleur de lait in French), this ice cream showcases two key ingredients, milk and cream, and is as delicate as its name suggests. Because there’s no vanilla extract or custard base, it’s a sort of dairy version of a sorbet with an incredible, subtly sweet milky taste and a pure, clean white colour. Perfect, in fact, for replicating the pearly white fondant you find within a Creme egg (in looks alone, that is – as described above, the flavour is entirely different).
While I’d describe fior di latte’s flavour as elegant, fresh and clean, it also reminds me rather bizarrely of Mr. Whippy, or soft-serve ice cream to those outside the UK. It seems like sacrilege to compare this incredible ice cream with the cheap aerated swirls churned out of ice cream vans all over the country, but there’s something about the lightness of texture and milky taste that really does take me back to the very first time I tasted a 99 Flake.
This month, fellow food blogger Kavey’s Bloggers Scream for Ice Cream challenge was to recreate your favourite childhood ice cream experience or flavour. While a 99 Flake is never going to cut it as my all time favourite flavour, there was something so exciting about being bought one from the van as a child, pulling out the flaky stick of chocolate and licking off the sugar-sweet, slightly synthetic ice cream, that it probably deserves a place somewhere in my top ten. It’s the kind of food memory that belongs to a category where nostalgia reigns supreme, flavour forgotten in a haze of sunny afternoons in the park and carefree childhood days. If I ate one nowadays it probably wouldn’t taste the same, so why not try to recreate it in a new and interesting way for my twenty-something palate?
The recipe below is therefore my combination of two British favourites, the Cadbury’s Creme Egg and a Mr. Whippy ice cream, taken in a slightly more sophisticated (snobby, who moi?) direction with a delicate fior di latte ice cream and good quality organic milk chocolate (the flake in this equation). The passion fruit pulp is a little bit leftfield, but it works wonderfully with the lightness of the ice cream, the seeds providing crunch against the smooth interior of the egg, and passion fruit and chocolate working together in sweet, sharp harmony.
I’d originally intended to freeze a peach flavoured purée into the middle of my eggs, however after reducing down the fruit, what I was left with looked more murky brown than a beautiful bright orange. Still wanting some sort of yolky centre, I stirred a small amount of natural yellow food dye into the centre of half my egg halves before freezing, but left the other half plain, thinking I might be able to do something with them later on. That something is the addition of a small amount of passion fruit pulp and the slightly sour, juicy, crunchy yellow topping turned out to be the perfect partner for this ice cream.
If you don’t have time to make your own egg shells, do try this ice cream on its own; it’s simple, clean and the perfect palate cleanser. You could also cheat and spoon it into ready made Easter egg shells, or simply serve with a few shavings of milk chocolate and the passion fruit pulp spooned over the top.
Creme Egg Ice Cream (with a twist)
Ice cream adapted from The Perfect Scoop
300g good quality milk chocolate
500ml full fat milk
125g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
250ml double cream
Passion fruits, halved, to serve
Melt the chocolate in a bain marie and use to coat the insides of your Easter egg moulds. I’ve not provided exact quantities as the size of moulds will vary wildly, but if you do end up with any leftover chocolate I’m sure you can think of what to do with it! Pop your Easter egg moulds in the freezer to harden.
For the ice cream, warm the milk, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan. Whisk the cornflour and double cream together, then stir into your warmed milk.
Heat the mixture, stirring carefully, until it begins to boil and bubble. Reduce the heat immediately and simmer for approximately two minutes, continuing to stir. It will thicken slightly.
Remove from the heat, scrape into a bowl, cover and chill in the fridge for about an hour. Remove, whisk until smooth, then return to the fridge overnight.
When ready to make your eggs, churn the ice cream according to your manufacturer’s instructions. Remove your chocolate egg moulds from the freezer.
Once the ice cream is churned, spoon into the prepared chocolate moulds, flatten the tops with a palate knife and return to the freezer. If you wanted a dyed yellow middle, now would be the time to add a tiny amount of yellow food colouring to the centre.
Remove your eggs from the freezer a couple of minutes before you’re ready to serve. Spoon a little passion fruit pulp over the centre and enjoy!