In the middle of summer I often find my mind drifting to memories of back home.
At this time of year I particularly miss the English seaside, even though most of my childhood memories revolve around spots along the East coast where the breezes can be strong, the beaches pebbly and the murky North Sea rather cold.
No seaside trip was complete without an ice cream, usually a “99”. For the uninitiated, a “99” is a cone of soft ice cream with a Cadbury’s Flake sticking out of it. A little research shows that no one really knows exactly where or when the “99” was invented or where the distinctive name came from, but pretty much everyone in Britain knows exactly what it is.
An authentic “99” relies on soft serve ice cream so it is almost impossible to recreate at home. You really need to get it from a kiosk or an ice cream van serving a famous British ice cream brand like Mr.Whippy. That is why most people think of it as a treat, associating it with days out and special occasions.
Luckily, I found a way to replicate this iconic summertime treat in the heart of Georgia.
First I tracked down a couple of local sources for Cadbury’s Flakes, and stocked up.
Secondly, I had made a note of a video published a couple of years ago by Saveur magazine on making your own soft serve ice cream at home, using a stand mixer and dry ice.
The mix for soft serve is much lower in fat than regular ice cream and needs to be frozen much more quickly than a regular home ice cream machine will manage. You achieve this by putting the mixture in a stand mixer, churning it with the paddle attachment and slowly adding adding spoonfuls of dry ice which rapidly freeze it, whilst also bubbling like crazy and sending clouds of dry ice smoke around the kitchen, which is a lot of fun.
The full recipe and details for the ice cream are here: https://www.chefsteps.com/activities/soft-serve-ice-cream