Guinness Ice Cream

Guinness Cans

Easter has been crazy busy in the shops, much more so than expected, and I had to make an emergency run of ice cream today. We ran out of several flavours, so I was up bright and early getting the mix ready and then freezing.

Besides the main flavours, I decided to do a Guinness ice cream, to have another Irish flavour in the cabinet. The recipe is below. Of course, being me, I couldn’t resist throwing in some chocolate chips. You don’t have to!

Murphys Guinness Ice Cream
3L of Guinness1 Cup (237ml) Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 1/8 Cups (266ml) Cream
1 1/8 Cups(266ml) Milk
500 ml Guinness
A handful of dark chocolate chips.

Yield: 6 Servings

1. Measure out 100ml of Guinness and set aside.

2. Boil the remaining 400ml Guinness until it reduces to 100ml in volume. Cool.

3. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow.

4. Bring the milk to a simmer.

Cup of Chocolate Chips5. Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream.

6. Pour the mixture back into pan and place over low heat. Stir until the custard thickens slightly (around 70C). Use a thermometer, as at 75C the eggs will scramble!

7. Allow the custard to cool.

8. Stir in both the reduced and non-reduced Guinness.

9. Whip the cream.

10. Gently fold in the custard.

11. Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, or cover and place in the freezer.


Guinness Ice Cream1. I haven’t made this recipe for home use, so I would love any feedback if you try it!

2. The photo of 3 litres of Guinness is what I used. Don’t pay any attention to the volume!

3. I combine reduced and non-reduced Guinness because using just reduced loses a bit of freshness in terms of flavour.

4. You don’t have to use the chocolate chips of course, but I do think Guinness and chocolate go well together. You could also use this as a companion to a chocolate cake.

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The End of Lent

Easter eggs

It’s all happy days and celebrations here in the world of ice cream with the end of Lent, which ended at 12 noon today. (I must say that I always thought it ended tomorrow, but my Aunt Carol, not being one for undue suffering, set me straight.)

In any case, Chocolate is back, coffee is back, indulgence is back.

The shops are packed, and the smiles are large.

Happy Easter!

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Hot Chocolate Revisited

Bittersweet Hot ChocolateAfter my last post, I decided to revisit the hot chocolate recipe I gave here and check it against the Pierre Herme cookbook. Certainly the master of sweet things would have much to offer.

His take on hot chocolate has the following differences to my recipe: he uses water instead of milk, and he adds quite a bit of cocoa as well as the chocolate. In my opinion, the result was less than optimal, with the taste of chocolate blunted by the sensation of the cocoa and the water making it less luxurious.

There’s a funny thing that happens with bitter things such as coffee and chocolate, and that is that you need sweetness to taste the flavour. It’s said that we’re hard-wired to like sweets and avoid bitter tastes, since most poisons in nature taste bitter, and so bitter things are an acquired taste (kids very rarely like coffee or bitter chocolate). Bitter things are delightful as we get older, and I’m a big fan, but there is a balance to be struck, and the Japanese refer to it as “umami.”

Chocolate emulsionHigher cocoa content only brings more chocolate flavour up to a point. 70% chocolate has more chocolate flavour than 30% chocolate. However, if you go much above that, I believe you stop tasting the chocolate and you only have a taste sensation of “bitter.” The flavour complexity is lost without sweetness.

To me it’s the same as coffee. Virtually all Italians stir at least two sugars into their espressos. There is a reason they do so, and that is to bring out the coffee flavour. Espresso without sugar simply tastes bitter. Espresso with sugar tastes of coffee. Try it, if you like, adding sugar in small amounts, and you will see that the full flavour of the bean will emerge.

Anyway, it pains me to say it, but I do believe there is a thing as too much chocolate. I happily stand behind my earlier recipe!

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Chocolate Desserts

Chocolate Desserts


What a fabulous treat awaited today when I returned to my office after first working on fixing up the courtyard, scooping ice cream and then spending a chunk of time bent over the ladies toilet in the Dingle shop replacing the sheared bolts holding down the bowl (ah yes, the joys of business ownership!).

The Pierre Hermé “Chocolate Desserts” book written by Dorie Greenspan was front and centre on my desk. I had ordered it from Amazon after reading about the experiences of cooks working with it on eGullet, but with all the excitement of the Easter rush I had forgotten all about it.

Any chocoholic will salivate simply looking at the pictures. I didn’t get a whole heap of work done the next hour. I just leafed through the pages and drooled. I can’t wait to get in and try some of the recipes (I noticed one straight away for chocolate crepes. I’ll have to try it out and perhaps modify the previous recipe!) Below is his chocolate, coffee, and whiskey granita. Bottoms up!

Chocolate Desserts 2


By the way, there is an nice aggregator of food blogs called Food Porn Watch. A peculiar name all right, but worth a look for any foodie. The photos on many of the blogs are sublime. I guess I’ll have to up my game!

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Crepes and Ice Cream

crepe sorbet closeup One of my favourite ways to eat ice cream is wrapped in a crepe. The combination of the warm crepe with the cold of the ice cream and the textural sensation are delightful.

Over the winter, we served crepes in the Killarney shop, but we’ve stopped for the season because it’s just to busy and crepes are too fussy when there is a crowd of customers waiting to be served. However, crepes are quite easy to make at home, and you can use the same crepes to make a main course (a tasty filling is spinach, cheese and toasted pine nuts).

crepe panIf you regularly make crepes or pancakes at home, I highly recommend getting a crepe pan. I picked the one on the right up at a catering store for around 12 euro. What a difference it makes! Not only do they come out the perfect size every time, but they don’t stick and cook better.

Murphys Crepes

10 Servings


150 gm flour (non-rising – see earlier post)

40 gm butter, melted

15 gm sugar

250 ml milk

75 ml water

3 eggs

1/4 teasp. salt

What to do:

1. Combine flour, sugar and salt.

2. Add milk, water, butter and eggs and process until smooth (use a food processor ideally or electric mixer).

3. Leave to settle in the fridge for at least an hour.

Note: You shouldn’t need any oil or butter on the pan if it is a good one. The butter in the crepes will keep them from sticking.

5. Pour into the pan (it should be hot) and cook over medium heat on one side until the edges begin to lift away from the pan. Flip and cook on the other side.

6. If you want to make them all at one time, put a stack on a plate with waxed paper in between them to keep them from sticking. You can keep them warm in the oven on low heat.

7. Scoop out your ice cream into the centre of the crepe and roll the crepe around it. I used raspberry sorbet.

Crepe8. If you’re feeling artistic, decorate with chocolate sauce, lime or anything else that strikes your fancy and goes well with the ice cream flavour you’re using.

9. Serve immediately.


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How to Make a Milkshake

Today in the Dingle shop, as part of our preparations for the Easter rush, we had a meeting with myself, my brother, and the two shop managers to work out exact specifications for each of our desserts. Basically that means we made each of our desserts and argued over what exactly goes into them and what’s the best way of serving them.

We ended up with lots of desserts that we had to eat and, after tackling a sundae, I was faced with a chocolate milkshake. There is worse punishment to be had!

It’s easy making a milkshake, but hard making it smooth with a regular blender or food processor (we have a special shake blender). Here’s how you can do it:

Chocolate milkshakeMurphys Chocolate Milkshake

Ingredients (serves 1): 

2 scoops Murphys chocolate ice cream

1 cup milk.

What to do:

1. Put the chocolate ice cream and milk in the blender or food processor and allow it to soften for at least five minutes (or more if you followed my storage instructions and had to chip it from a rock-hard tub). Blending it straight away will leave lumps of ice cream in the shake.

2. Blend until smooth on high speed.

3. Garnish with cream and chocolate shavings if you have the patience and any about the place.


(Of course it doesn’t have to be chocolate. You can make a milkshake with any flavour ice cream.)

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Tips on Buying and Storing Ice Cream

mint cone Although probably most of you know all about this, I thought it might be a good idea to discuss a few tips on buying and storing ice cream. There’s not much to it, and it might be a boring subject, but it can make a big difference in terms of ice cream enjoyment when the spoon comes out!

Ice cream can become icy or grainy when it’s not stored properly, and flavours can taste diminished.

So, starting at the shop:

1. Do the rest of your shopping first and pick up the ice cream last.

2. Make sure the ice cream tub is hard in the freezer. If it feels soft, the shop’s ice cream freezer may not be cold enough and the ice cream may not be at its best. It’s possible that the freezer is just going through a defrost cycle, but if it’s a regular occurrence, you should bring it to the attention of the shop manager.

3. Make sure the ice cream is well within its “best before” date.

When you get home:

1. Put the ice cream away in the freezer first (that is, if you don’t want to eat it immediately!). Bury it it in the back, if possible. Ice cream becomes icy when it gets soft and refreezes.

2. There is no such thing as storing ice cream too cold. If you have a freezer that is colder (chest freezers are usually around -30C) and one that is warmer (a normal freezer should be around -18C), keep it in the cold one!

3. If you open it, eat some, and return it to the freezer, putting on a layer of plastic wrap before replacing the lid will help keep the ice cream air-tight.

Finally, never refreeze ice cream that has been out of the freezer a long time or ice cream that has become melted! It could be a food safety issue.

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Black and Tans

I just stumbled upon the following website that brought my attention to Ben & Jerry’s new flavour in the States: Black and Tan.

Even though I might be considered a competitor in the Irish market, Ben & Jerry’s is actually close to my heart because the two founders were two of many reasons I went into this business. They made ice cream more fun. They seemed to have fun at what they were doing. They had a social conscience.

I remember their ice cream as much better than it is now, before they became part of Unilever. I would eat a tub of Cherry Garcia at one sitting, marvelling at the huge chunks of chocolate and amount of cherries. I don’t remember any water in the ingredients back then.

A Black and Tan flavour? This is weird on so many levels. First of all, for some of their Irish-American customers, surely “Black and Tan” wont immediately bring to mind the drink but rather unsavoury historical references. Are they not aware of this?

Secondly, their website states this flavour is for “beer enthusiasts” but there is no beer (or stout) listed in the ingredients, just “natural flavours.”

It makes me kind of sad. Have they come so far from what they were?

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