I think a Christmas dessert should draw gasps of delight and excitement when it arrives at the table, because that’s what feasts are all about, aren’t they? My attempt to make a splendid tower of ice cream certainly drew some gasps when my family saw me making it, although whether these were of delight I can’t say. Bafflement, more like. “Are you sure that’s not going to topple over?” my daughter asked. Well, I wasn’t sure, but it turned out all right in the end. Okay, the tower had a rakish tilt to it, but once I’d festooned it with meringues and poured summer berries all over it, it looked pretty spectacular (although it was another matter fitting it back into the freezer, and I think I’ll draw a veil over that episode).
I used three plastic flower pots of diminishing size to mould the ice cream, first plugging the holes with a blob of Prestik and lining the bottom of each pot with with a circle of baking paper. The tower used exactly five litres of just-softened vanilla ice cream (proper dairy ice cream, that is) and each layer contained a different filling. To the base layer, I added a jar of fruit mincemeat, chopped hazelnuts, chocolate chips and crumbled Amaretti biscuits. The second layer contained coffee, whiskey and more chopped up chocolate, and the third layer was plain ice cream (a special concession to picky eaters). You can add anything you fancy to the ice cream – have a look at my Layered Christmas Ice Cream Cake with White Chocolate and Berries for more ideas.
When the layers were frozen, I pulled out the blobs of Prestik to release the vacuum and then wrapped heated cloths around each pot to loosen the ice cream. Once the layers were stacked, the tower went back into the freezer for half an hour to firm up (oh, okay, I had to take out two of the drawers to fit it in) and then I poured the berries all over it.
You can make the individual layers a few days ahead of Christmas, but cover each one tightly with clingfilm so that the ice cream doesn’t pick up an unpleasant whiff of freezer.
The quickest way to heat a cloth is to wet it and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. You’ll need to reheat the cloth a few times for each mould.
Are you looking for more South African Christmas recipe ideas? Check out Getaway’s Christmas recipe guide.
This recipe was originally published on Scrumptious SA.
My new cookbook, Scrumptious: Food for Family and Friends (Struik Lifestyle) is available at all leading bookstores in South Africa.