Quite why the Nordic countries are so obsessed with liquorice is a mystery to me but what I do find is that there are the lovers and the haters, there doesn’t seem to be a middle ground. The Finns love really strong salty lakritsi or salmiakki, in Iceland they seem to favour chocolate-liquorice combinations, whether it’s lakris, lakrids or lakrits you’ll see it in all the grocery shops in this region.
It may be that it’s popular because of the love for salty foods. Sweden, and the rest of the Nordic region had to rely on salted meats and fish to last through the long winters. That love of salt did not dissipate when liquorice was introduced at the apoteket as a medicinal product in the 1800s. Liquorice falls into the Swedish palette: salty and sweet. Many Swedish dishes like gravad lax and types of sill are salty. Salty liquorice brings out comforting, homely flavours.
In the UK we seem to favour a sweeter variety, Bassetts liquorice allsorts springs to mind, having spent a great deal of time in Sweden I favour the salty kind, I think it stems from my cousin’s love of the stuff and as children spending all our pocket money on salty liquorice sweets.
An ice cream maker is not essential for this recipe, you can easily make it without, I have instructions on both methods. Whole milk and whipping cream makes for a lighter custard and this is a great base for all ice cream flavours.
The addition of the syrup in the ice cream is delicious but not essential, it’s just as delicious without.
Liquorice Ice Cream with Homemade Cones
- 200 ml whole Milk
- 300 ml Whipping Cream
- 90 g caster Sugar
- 1-2 Tsp Liquorice powder
- 2 Tbls Liquorice syrup
- 6 Egg Yolks
- 2 large egg whites
- 65 g Caster sugar
- 3-4 tablespoons Whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 100 g Plain flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
- Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the sugar and beat with a whisk for about 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened, is paler in colour and falls in thick ribbon.
- Heat the cream and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils – you’ll see a few bubbles at the edge.
- Now pour the heated milk and cream over the egg yolks whisking as you pour. Clean the saucepan and pour the egg and cream mixture back into the pan.
- Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Watch that it doesn’t boil – as soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, it should be thick enough, so take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle. if you have a cooks thermometer, it should not exceed 80C. Now add the liquorice powder, add one teaspoon and taste, add more if it's not strong enough.
- Pour the custard into a heatproof bowl, then sit it in a bigger bowl one third full of iced water to cool (this takes about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally to stop a skin forming. Put the bowl of custard in the fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, so it gets really cold.
- Get the ice cream machine running, then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30 minutes (depending on your machine). When it stops, it is probably too soft to eat, so spoon into a plastic container and swirl 1-2 tablespoons of liquorice syrup into the ice cream, cover with cling film, then a lid, and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. (It will keep in the freezer for 3 months but don’t take it out, then refreeze.) Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.
- To make it by hand: in step 1, heat the milk and half the sugar without the cream, whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar (the custard will be thicker), then follow from step 3. Whip the cream so it’s light and floppy, not too stiff, and fold it into the cold custard. Freeze for 3-4 hours, stirring once an hour until almost frozen, add the liquorice syrup at this stage, then freeze as above.
- Place the egg whites, sugar, milk, vanilla, and salt into a mixing bowl and whisk together. Stir in flour and butter until fully incorporated and the batter is smooth, it should be fairly runny, add more milk if needed. Lightly coat a nonstick frying pan with a small amount of vegetable oil. Pour 2 1/2 tablespoons batter into the hot pan and spread into a thin even layer. Place the pan a over medium heat and cook for 3 to 4 minutes or until base has set and is golden brown at the edges. Flip and continue to cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Quickly lay the disc onto a clean towel and roll into a cone shape, folding it in a little at the bottom so that you don't have a hole at the bottom for the ice cream to escape. Press the edges together to help it seal for 1 to 2 minutes or until cone cools and hardens. (this must be done quickly as the disc will begin to harden almost immediately after leaving the pan) repeat until all batter has been used.
- You may find that some of the cones are a little soft in areas, if this is the case pop them in the oven on 100C for 10 minutes then turn the oven off and leave them in there for an hour.