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Ice creams and sorbets. Frozen delicacies to please the eye and the palate

ice creams and sorbetsBy Jill Norman

National Trust

It seems to be that the earliest printed English ice cream recipe appeared in 1718 in “Mrs Eale’s Recipes”, however this does not imply that ice creams weren’t being prepared since way before.

In 1751 Hannah Glasse in her book The Art of Cookery Made Easy she mentions a recipe for “added ices” meaning iced drinks.

Both ice creams and water ices became fashionable throughout the 18th century, served as luxury commodities in grand houses, fancy balls or as dainty desserts in posh tea rooms.

cucumber ice cream.pngHere’s the link for an English Heritage video to make cucumber ice cream.

in Victorian Britain a new addition to wealthy houses was a storing basement room called ice house like this one in West Sussex.

ice house

The availability of ice meant that it could be used for culinary purposes and not only for preserving food.

The variety of gadgets, moulds and dishes for serving and presenting ice creams and water ices became increasingly impressive and were often displayed and offered on special occasions as a statement of wealth and sophistication.

ice cream mouldsThe National trust published this little book with a fantastic array of recipes of ice creams and sorbets that go from dried fruit ice creams, to fresh exotic fruit refrshers, spiced and of course classic combinations with chocolate and vanilla.

Inspired by one of the recipes for making Indian Kulfi ice cream we prepared a chai ice cream with a very strong blend and dark chocolate bits with quite impressive results!

Although this book is out of print there are still some copies around in second hand bookshops (that’s how we got this one) and of course libraries.

Happy historical ice creaming!

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