It’s ice-cream, Michael, but not as we know it

30 Oct
Ivan Day's wonderful ice-creams

Historic: Ivan Day’s wonderful ice-creams

After the horrors of making soap with Amanda, TV personality Michael Buerk was relieved to find himself back in our working Georgian kitchen making ice-cream.

Michael presents Inside the National Trust, the behind-the-scenes ITV series focusing on six National Trust properties, including my home, Wordsworth House and Garden.

In the latest episode, he can be seen working alongside leading food historian Ivan Day, a good friend of the Wordsworth House team, who shows him how to make an 18th-century delicacy: parmesan ice-cream.

As Ivan explains on his website, the first record of ice-cream in this country dates from 1671, when it was on the menu at a feast for the Knights of the Garter in St George’s Hall at Windsor Castle. However, it was such an exclusive dish that it appeared only on the king’s table.

The earliest printed recipe featured in Mrs Mary Eales’s Receipts, a little work on confectionery published in London in 1718. Mrs Eales claimed to have been confectioner to Queen Anne, during whose reign ice-cream continued to be a luxury enjoyed only at court and by the nobility. It wasn’t until the second half of the 18th century that ices became more widely available from confectioners’ shops.

Here’s the recipe Ivan used: Take six eggs, half a pint of syrup and a pint of cream. Put them into a stewpan and boil until it begins to thicken; then rasp three ounces of parmesan cheese, mix, pass through a sieve and freeze.

For more information about ancient ice-cream and fascinating historic foods of all kinds, visit his website.

Inside the National Trust is showing on ITV1 on Sundays, usually at around 12.25pm, over the autumn and winter – or you can catch up on your TV or PC.

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