Thursday, 17 February 2011

Pies, puddings, jelly and ice cream – Ickworth House

As part of my birthday present last year Mr CC booked us to attend the above named event at Ickworth House. The house and grounds are spectacular enough to warrant a visit but when you add a historic jelly and ice cream masterclass from one of the country’s premier food historians – Ivan Day – you’ll agree that a good day out just became a great day out! Here’s Ivan making his ice cream:

During his fascinating talk and demonstration Ivan covered the history of jelly and ice cream, at the same time making ice cream using only an ice pail, freezing pot and spaddle (a spatula/paddle cross). Notice that the table has a slope on one side for the melting ice to run off:

In this photo you can actually see the melted ice dripping off the slope:

The ice cream was ginger and lemon; as a lemon hater I have to admit it was beautiful. The texture was so light and smooth ...probably helped by the ice cream being made with cream rather than a custard base!

We were all invited to approach the spaddle with a teaspoon and help ourselves to a taster. I would happily have walked off with the spaddle! Mr CC, as is his way, merely turned to me and said of the ice cream, "make it happen." I have since obtained the recipe from Ivan and will be making [it happen!] soon.

Ivan brought a beautiful collection of antique ice cream moulds for us to look at:

My favourite, by far, was the tiny Cleopatra’s needle/obelisk/pyramid shaped hinged mould that had minute hieroglyphs cast into it in relief, so when the ice cream was turned out it would have perfect markings all over it:

It was probably the jellies that proved to be the crowd pleasers! Ivan certainly deserves some sort of bravery award for turning out four complicated jellies in front of an audience of 50 people...of course, they all turned out perfectly! Sadly, because the tin lining of the moulds was no longer intact, the jellies could only be admired visually.

I’d never seen such complicated moulds before. This one has fitted spirals moulds within the mould so that a stunning two-tone jelly can be created:

The jelly produced by this mould actually drew gasps from the crowd:

Indulge me while I ogle it some more!

A slightly simpler insert mould produced an equally bold result. The white cross (as for the spirals in the previous jelly) is made from flummery which is an early forerunner of blancmange.

While it may not have had the technical dazzle of the previous two moulds, I loved the look of this star mould:

This ceramic mould relies on simplicity and clean lines for its appeal. Ivan explained that in Edwardian/Victorian times this dessert would have garnered giggles and blushes from the ladies present at the table...I wonder why?!

I’m really getting into my jelly making and am frustrated that no one is making modern food-safe jelly moulds like this anymore. Of course, I dream of owning vintage moulds but when Ivan told me that the more complicated moulds can sell for around the £1,000 mark I realised (much to Mr CC’s relief) that it would probably remain just a dream...unless my lottery ticket comes up trumps!

In case you’re wondering, the “pies and puddings” part of the course name related to the lunch we were given. Any menu card that lists the puddings (steamed chocolate sponge with chocolate custard, jam roly poly and apple crumble with custard) stating “please come back for as much pudding as you want” is a winner with me!

This was a wonderful experience (thanks Mr buy awesome pressies!) and I can thoroughly recommend attending any talks by Ivan Day. On his site there are details of various courses he of which is historic ice cream making...mmm, how long is it till my next birthday?


Jules said...

That looks like a fantastic event.The jelly moulds look fantastic.

Lucy said...

This event sounds fantastic! The jellies look amazing - I wish those moulds were available everywhere.

Helen said...

Wow that sounds great. Ickworth House is just down the road from me - I'll have to look out for another of those Pies and Puddings events, they sound right up my street!

Hazel - Chicken in a Cherry Sauce said...

What a fantastic and unique experience! Some very beautiful and interesting jellies. Definitely not your average day out!

Rhyleysgranny said...

How amazing is that. Tremendous. Imagine making them in front of an audience and unrehearsed. Good on you. I suppose there are no recipes for the ice cream?

Perdita Tinsel said...

Very jealous! That looks the most amazing day out ever!!!

I heart cupcakes said...

Wow this looks great and I like you, LOVE, the moulds!

Unknown said...

How wonderful!
(A green eyed monster has blossomed out of my heart!)

Mrs Mulford said...

Love this post. What ever happened to jelly? We love it and make some but a rabbit mould is as far as I go now! Off to look at Ivan Day, thanks for the info

Catherine said...

Wow, that looks like a fantastic day out! Ickworth house looks like such a beautiful place. Those jellies are absolutley incredible, definitely takes a brave person to turn out one of those.

Cakelaw said...

What beautiful jellies. I love the spiral one with the flummery running up the middle.

Y said...

What an amazing birthday present! Oh, and I'm now in love with the word spaddle.

Maggie said...

That's my kind of day out at a beautiful National Trust property. The jelly moulds are a work of art, I think I would have held my breath when he turned the jellies out.

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, those jellies are fabulous! Definitely makes me want to try making one now.

Alison's Bakery said...

Just had to let you know that Ivan is on BBC Breakfast right now talking about Victorian ice cream and he has some of the moulds with him. He's on promoting a new programme that's coming on called Royal Upstairs Downstairs.