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Add each ingredient to a stainless-steel food mixer on a medium speed in the order listed above, leaving the first three to mix on their own at high-speed for a couple of minutes.
Once everything is in there and mixed to a smooth batter, add sufficient liquid nitrogen to freeze the ice cream into a solid, creamy mass. In the unlikely event that you don’t have any liquid nitrogen handy, this recipe can be made in a household ice-cream maker.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered – after creating a rum and sultana/golden raisin flavoured cocktail – that there was once a place called the Sultanate of Rûm. Bearing absolutely no connection to rum, the drink (or dried grapes for that matter) the Sultanate or Rûm was a Muslim state that existed between Turkey and Persia during the Middle Ages.
Now, with that behind us, let’s get on with the drink (although boozy dessert may be a more appropriate description). One of my favourite childhood treats was rum & raisin ice-cream – in fact it’s probably where
I first encountered the taste of rum. That sensation of the raisins popping in your mouth, while the sweet and silky rum flavoured ice-cream cools your palate.
It seems like an obvious pairing of flavours, and when you consider the intense, heady, bordering-on-boozy sweetness of dried fruit, it’s no great wonder that spirits pair so well with it. And with the possible exception of brandy, there’s no better example than rum, where oak and spice reformulate the DNA of the fruit, amplifying and embellishing the natural flavours.
Dried fruit and alcohol has a much longer history than ice-cream, as folks have been using wine to preserve fruits since Ancient Egyptian times. Later, these preserved fruits were used as ingredients in baking, to make steam puddings, fruit cakes, flans, and that queen of British desserts – trifle.
In the context of ice-cream, rum and raisins first encountered each other in Italy, where the combination is often referred to as “Málaga”. This name comes from the specific variety of Málaga raisins that are used in the preparation, which are made from Muscat and Alexandria grape varieties – both known for their high natural sugar content. The Sicilians were the first ones to create Málaga gelato, which was originally made with sweet wine instead of rum. The raisins were soaked overnight and mixed into vanilla gelato, providing a sweet burst of alcohol in every bite. The trend caught on, and in the 1980s, Häagen-Dazs introduced a rum and raisin ice cream to the US market.
My ice-cream recipe doesn’t use raisins as such, but instead calls for Pedro Ximenez wine. This dessert wine, is like bottled concentrated sultana (golden raisin) flavour.
It’s technically a sherry, matured in oak casks in Spain – some of which are used to mature rums. The wine takes on a thick, glossy lustre, and it positively turbo-charges the flavour of my ice cream. The rest of the ingredients are quite standard. I chose to use a combination of Jamaican pot-still and Demerara rums, which nudges that highester flavour right to the forefront of the dessert.
You can make this drink using an ice-cream maker, but for best results, I recommend using dry-ice or liquid nitrogen – both of which are surprisingly easy to track down these days.