09th Jul 2018
These ice cream sandwich bars, with their meringue, cream and summer berry combo, can be whipped out of the freezer at a moment’s notice, making them a nifty make-ahead dessert for a midsummer barbecue. Slicing evenly-sized biscuits is best done with a metal ruler and a sharp knife or pizza cutter.
Eton Mess Ice Cream Sandwiches
FREEZING FLAT We all have a habit of playing freezer Tetris, squeezing and slotting things into tricky spaces. Resist the urge to do this when freezing the filling for these ice cream bars. Leave it to set on a flat surface, not precariously perched on top of a bag of frozen peas or the bars will end up different thicknesses.
COOLING QUICKLY To cool things quickly, metal trays are useful because they conduct the cold. Place a tray in the freezer for 10 minutes then transfer anything you need to cool (in this case the heated berries) onto it.
1 litre good-quality vanilla ice cream
300g frozen summer berries
50g caster sugar
6 ready-made meringue nests or equivalent (75g meringue)
For the sandwich biscuits
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
100g caster sugar
160g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
40g cocoa powder
a good pinch of fine sea salt
Place the ice cream in the fridge to soften slightly. Meanwhile, tip the frozen berries into a pan with the sugar and pop the lid on. Place over a low heat for 4-5 minutes, just long enough to defrost them and release their juices, but not turn them to mush, as you want them to hold their shape. Set aside to cool fully.
Decant the softened ice cream into a large bowl and lightly stir in the berries and their juices. Crumble in the meringue nests and stir. Line a 23×23cm baking tray or cake tin that’s at least 4cm deep with plenty of cling film. Pour in the ice cream and use a spatula to smooth the top so it is even. Cover the top with cling film and return to the freezer for 5-6 hours to set.
For the biscuits, preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas mark 5. Line one or two large baking sheets with baking parchment.
Put the butter and sugar into a bowl or stand mixer and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Stir in the flour, cocoa powder and salt to form a ball of dough. Cut in half, then dust each piece with flour on both sides and roll out between two sheets of baking parchment into rectangles 3mm thick. Place these in the freezer for about 15 minutes to firm up – this makes it much easier to cut accurately.
Cut the chilled dough into 16 rectangles measuring 5×9cm. Use a fork to prick the top of the biscuits. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets and bake for about 12 minutes or until firm. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When the ice cream filling is fully set, flip it out of its tin onto a board and cut it into rectangles the same size as the biscuits. Sandwich together as many bars as you wish to serve immediately. Store any unused biscuits in an airtight container for up to 1 week, and sandwich them together with the ice cream filling as and when you want. Best served with a paper napkin on a hot day.
Extracted from The New Art of Cooking by Frankie Unsworth (Bloomsbury, approx €34). Photography © Kristin Perers.
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