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I was listening to Nigella Lawson’s Christmas podcast about preparing for people unexpectedly stopping by who need feeding over the festive period, and about taking the stress out of festive cooking the other day. It reminded me of my favourite, make-ahead dessert that can be made in many number of incarnations, and just stashed in the freezer: the ice cream terrine (or, a tub of ice cream mashed up with the things you’d usually use as toppings, before being smooshed into a loaf tin, and re-frozen ready for slicing!)
Obviously you can just serve it up in slices as and when you need it, but if you want to make a show of things, plate it up, scatter over a handful of walnuts, some crumbled amaretti and a drizzle of good, local honey, and you can slice it at the table. Mine looks a little wrinkly because I line my loaf tin with cling film (it’s cheap and I always have it to hand), but if you’re looking for a fancier finish, a silicone loaf mould would work.
I always make my ice cream terrines with Haagen-Dazs. It takes less time to soften at room temperature than most ice cream, it re-freezes well once soft so that you don’t get a frosty terrine, and they have great flavours made without any of the additives you find in some other supermarket tubs. You can make any number of terrines by mooshing up different things with any Haagen-Dazs flavour (basically, you want something soft and chewy like dried fruit or marshmallows, and something crunchy like nuts or biscuit in there, at least), but at the moment I’m loving one of their very creamy, not too-sweet Honey, Walnut and Cream seasonal tubs. I like it as the nuts already in there are very slightly caramalised, and nicely distributed.
This terrine will make eight slices (serving 4-8 people), and you can use whatever loaf tin you’ve got, lined with a double layer of cling film. I use a 2lb loaf tin which makes a flat, skinny terrine, but a smaller one will make a taller one (which you can get more, smaller slices, if you’re looking to serve around 10 people.)
Put the sultanas and Disaronno into a small saucepan over a medium low heat. Allow the liquid to simmer (but not boil) until the sultanas are plump and have absorbed the liquor, and there is less than 1 tbsp of liquid left in the pan.
Meanwhile, line a loaf tin with a double layer of cling film, take the ice cream out of the freezer to soften slightly, and lightly crush the amaretti into manageable pieces.
Once the ice cream had reached the stage where you can just about scoop it (you want to keep it as frozen as possible throughout this next step, so work as quickly as you can!), scoop it out into a large bowl and add the contents of the saucepan and the crushed amaretti.
Using a mixing spoon, mash everything together until the sultanas and biscuit pieces are well distributed, and spoon the whole mixture into the loaf tin.
Press it into the corners, smooth over the top, fold any excess cling film over to cover it, and put it back in the freezer straight away for at least 2 hours, or until it is frozen solid.
Using Haagen-Dazs, using a large, sharp knife you can cut clean slices straight out of the freezer, but with other ice cream brands you may need to take your terrine out a little in advance.
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