Scandinavian Saffron raisin ice cream
Exotic and alluring saffron, in the company of delicious raisins, soaked in sweet, spicy mulled wine. This exquisite ice cream - made on a reliable base of eggless Sicilian gelato - ranks high amongst my favourites. It can easily be prepared even without any ice cream machine.
  • 300 ml (1.25 cup) cream
  • 400 ml (1.7 cup) milk
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch (or equivalent type of starch)
  • 0,5 grams genuine saffron powder
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla powder of good quality
  • (optional, particularly if alcohol is used as recommended: about 1 tablespoon inverted sugar (Agave nectar, honey, corn syrup or equivalent)
  • good pinch of salt
  • About 100 ml raisins
  • 6 tablespoons sweet and spicy mulled wine (typically, Swedish Glögg)
  • about 1 teaspoon strong alcohol (like neutral vodka)
  • (in case no alcohol is used: soak the raisins in suitable non-alcoholic drink, such as Swedish Julmust, Cola or alcohol-free mulled wine, and make sure to add the suggested inverted sugar above to the ice cream base, plus about 1 tablespoon extra that should go into the liquid you use for soaking the raisins!)
  1. Soak the raisins in the alcohol (or non-alcoholic alternative) for at least a few hours.
  2. Mix 200 ml (0.8 cup) of the milk with the corn starch. Whip together, making sure there are no lumps left. Put aside.
  3. Pour the rest of the milk, the cream, the sugar (including the inverted sugar, if using), the vanilla, the saffron and the salt in a saucepan. Stir to dissolve the sugar and the salt, bringing the mixture to steaming hot (but not to a boil). Now, add the milk-corn starch blend and whisk everything together.
  4. On low-medium heat, still without quite reaching a boil, continue to stir for a few minutes (about five minute should generally do) until the mixture has thickened somewhat and any possible flavour-residues of the starch has disappeared completely.
  5. Take off from the heat and let cool. Then, chill the base thoroughly in a refrigerator.
  6. When chilled, freeze according to the instructions of your ice cream machine, adding the raisins and any remaining mulled wine to the base towards the end of the churning [if added too early, the raisins will likely sink to the bottom ...].
No ice cream machine? - No problems: Just still-freeze in your freezer!
  1. Just take the chilled base from the fridge and put in in a freezer-safe container, cover with plastic film and the lid. Put the container in the freezer.
  2. After about 45 minutes, take out the container and whisk through the base with a fork or similar, making sure to "even out" frozen parts and break up any large ice crystals being formed.
  3. Return the ice cream to the freezer, then repeat the 'manual churning' about every 20-30-40 minutes (depending on your level of vigilance; you should preferably begin to churn more frequently the firmer the ice cream becomes) for about a couple of hours. When the ice cream appears to have settled somewhat, add the raisins and the remaining mulled wine (this will cause the ice cream to soften up considerably). After the raisins and the alcohol has been added, be prepared to continue the 'manual churning', possibly for yet another 2-3 hours.
If no alcohol is used, the ice cream will freeze firmer. Soak the raisins in suitable non-alcoholic drink (soft drink, alcohol-free mulled wine ...) and add 1-2 extra tablespoons of inverted sugar to the ice cream base to make it softer. If you cannot find any mulled wine but still like the idea of raisins soaked in alcohol - go pirate and use about 3 tablespoons of rhum.