Sean and I will be on “Mooney Goes Wild” on Radio One today to talk about ice cream and promote the book. You can listen in on the internet here if you wish. We’ll be on sometime between 3:00 and 4:30pm GMT.
With the weather finally warm, it’s a perfect time for mint ice cream. This is a flavour that helped define my childhood – it was definitely my favourite for many years. It’s fresh and cooling, smooth and has a bit of chocolate for a satisfying crunch. It’s also one of the flavours you will find in our book!
I’m such a mint fan, that I like mint in just about anything. There are two types of mint growing in my garden, even though I’m not much of a gardener, and on a summer’s day I relish a minty treat of some description or a cooling drink made with the fresh leaves. If you have mint in your own garden, pick some for this recipe. If not, buy a bundle of fresh mint. Mint extracts are extremely volatile, difficult to control, and generally too aromatic for the palate, so fresh mint is definitely my recommendation.
Murphys Mint Ice Cream with Chocolate Shavings
- 130g sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 240 ml cream
- 220 ml milk
- 10 g fresh mint leaves
- 20 g chocolate
What to do:
- Put the mint and the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from the heat.
- Beat the sugar and egg yolks together until thick and pale yellow.
- Beat the milk into the eggs and sugar in a slow stream. Don’t worry if bits of mint go in as well.
- Pour the mixture back into the pan, with the mint still in it, and place over low heat.
- Stir continuously until the custard thickens slightly (around 65-70C) and just coats the back of a spoon. Don’t over-heat, though, because at around 76C you will scramble the eggs!
- Immediately remove from the heat.
- Transfer the custard into a small container, cover, and refrigerate until cool (5C).
- Use a sieve to strain and remove the mint leaves.
- Create chocolate shavings using the chocolate and a grater or vegetable peeler.
- Whip the cream until it has doubled in volume (you should have soft peaks – don’t over-whip).
- Fold the cream (gently stir) into the custard.
- Freeze using a domestic ice cream machine, adding the chocolate shavings when it’s fairly solid.
- You can also just cover and place in the freezer, stirring every few hours, and again, add the chocolate shavings when it’s reasonably solid.
- If you’re using a domestic ice cream machine, transfer to a freezer-proof covered container when the ice cream has achieved a semi-solid consistency (around 15 minutes). Place it in the freezer, and continue to freeze until it is solid.
- To pasteurise the eggs, heat the custard to 73C and maintain that temperature for at least 5 minutes. Use a cooking thermometer, though! If the custard goes any higher than 76C, the eggs will scramble. Immediately cover and place in the freezer until cool.
- Instead of creating chocolate shavings, you can also melt the chocolate and pour it into the ice cream machine as its turning.
Today, I found myself in Killarney to do some bits and pieces for the shop. This last week has been such a whirlwind with the book coming out and lots of other things going on with the business (including a visit by a Japenese TV crew). So I took the opportunity to sneak off for a walk in the National Park.
Each time I go, it is balm to the soul. There is so much peace and beauty in the place, that even when it’s packed with tourists it’s a haven.
Today, however, there weren’t many people about, especially for a dry Saturday. The mood was gentle and lazy. Boatmen chatted or read the paper. Jarveys snoozed on their jaunting cars as their horses grazed away.
The lake rippled, the leaves rustled, and the ducks and swans paddled around aimlessly, even when a dog jumped in beside them to cool down. He emerged quite happy and shook himself. The ducks paid no attention.
A couple of Italian tourists walked ahead of me on the path, then stopped to kiss. I kept on walking. Soon I was alone except for the spectacular abundance of nature.
After an endless winter, spring is finally here on over-drive. The trees are sprouting leaves in record time, and the meadows have blanketed themselves with flowers in the past two weeks.
The scent of them is overwhelming, and as I walked I thought about the week-long trip I booked to Barcelona. It suddenly seemed to be a bit of a mistake.
Who needs Spain with weather like this? Although I’ll be happy enough with the buzz of the city, with the museums, sights, and tapas, perhaps a better vacation would be to simply grab my hiking boots and keep going in the park.
I’ve always wanted to walk the Kerry Way, stopping at bed and breakfasts each night. I have never done it, instead just dipping in and out from time to time. The mountains, however, looked so inviting today and the paths so soft that it was hard to turn away.
Sometime quite soon I’m going to do it. I’ll head to Killarney to take an hour walk and not come home for several days.
Since Christophe’s son is sadly a bit too young to help out, we’re looking for a production assistant for the summer, with the possibility of the position becoming permanent. So, if you want a summer in Dingle making ice cream, you can send a CV to:
- JP Houlihan, Murphys Ice Cream, Strand Street, Dingle, Co. Kerry
- You could also email it via this site, and I will pass it on.
Baking or other food background helpful, and love of ice cream a must! Legal only.
This might interest some of the bakers out there – for our book launch, we had edible icing sheets printed with the book cover for a honey lavender andÂ single-estate chocolate ice cream cake. There are obviously many applications for this – from photos of kids for a birthday to a wedding couple for a wedding cake.
There are quite a few companies on both sides of the Atlantic who print edible icing for cakes. If you’re really gung-ho you can even buy your own printer with edible ink. For us, it was just a once-off for fun.
We ordered our’s from anycake.com in the UK, and they were very responsive and helpful.
There has been a great crowd in town for Feile na Bealtaine, our delightful May festival in Dingle. As always, there has been such a packed and interesting array of arts and events. Sadly, with the book launch and a very busy shop, I’ve been unable to partake as much as usual. Still, even when working you can’t help avoid Feile – I snapped the above photos of the parade just outside our shop.
I’m feeling very tired, and very happy! Last night we launched the Book of Sweet Things a second time in our Dingle shop, and it was a great night. I don’t think the shop has ever been so full, and the party had to spill out onto the street.
Thanks so much to all our friends who came along (some old, some new), thanks to Mary and Eoin from Mercier Press, who drove up from Cork, to Tom Sheahan, T.D., to councillors Seamus Fitzgerald and Breandan MacGearailt, to Manuela Dei Grandi for the photographs, and again thanks to all our staff who made the night possible.
Now I need a cure for drinking too much champagne…