NZ Woman's Weekly

Coffee and brandy ice cream – Foodies’ corner

When you hear a curious detail about a public person’s food preferences, it’s important to do a little research. A food spy told me Prime Minister John Key loves the liquorice ice cream at Antoine’s restaurant in Parnell, Auckland.

“Is it true?” I queried down the line to chef and owner Tony Astle, “our PM loves your liquorice ice cream?” With a banging of pots and the yelling of an order, Tony confirmed the information – so the next step was obvious.

Would he part with the recipe so we could test it out and print it for our lovely readers? “No! No!” he barked, which left me almost speechless. “Tony, why ever not?” I asked “It’s a great story.”

“Well,” replied Tony, “it’s a really tricky ice cream and even the test kitchen would be challenged. And even if you got it right and printed it, I don’t want cooks calling me all in a fluster and getting upset because it wouldn’t work for them.”

Years ago, Tony went on the radio with a recipe that inspired many cooks, but, for months after, he was left handling calls from upset people who couldn’t get it right. “It’s just tricky that one, but I will give you my coffee and brandy ice cream instead. It’s delicious and very easy.”

For this recipe, use scales and a sugar thermometer. It’s a simple method but the three stages are important. As there is no custard base, don’t put it into an ice-cream machine or it will separate. Once you’ve put it in the freezer for 48 hours it won’t need churning.

Coffee and brandy ice cream
Ready in 40 minutes, plus freezing, serves 6 to 8

  • 200ml liquid coffee
  • 1 1/2 tbsp instant coffee
  • 160g sugar
  • 600ml cream
  • 2 tbsp brandy
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 6 egg yolks

1. In a heavy-based pot, reduce liquid coffee, instant coffee and sugar to a syrup on medium heat until you reach jelly stage (110°C on a sugar thermometer, or see tip below). Keep an eye on it as it slowly simmers and don’t let it boil. Allow 15 minutes and avoid going above 110°C or you may end up with toffee.

2. Meanwhile, beat the cream, brandy and vanilla to soft peaks, then refrigerate.

3. Beat egg yolks with an electric beater to a very thick and creamy consistency or until you reach ribbon stage (see tip).

4. When coffee reduction reaches 106°C to 110°C, remove from heat and allow to cool for 3 minutes.

5. Start the egg beater again and slowly pour the syrup in a constant stream into the egg yolks, directing it down the side of the bowl. Switch beater to medium speed and beat for 5 to 10 minutes until cooled and well mixed.

6. Using a spatula, gently fold the beaten cream into the coffee-yolk mixture. Pour into a container and place in the freezer for 24 to 48 hours. Tony also suggests pouring the mixture into individual serving containers before freezing, as it is really more like a frozen parfait than an ice cream.

Cook’s tip: Ribbon stage is reached when the whisk is removed and its resulting trail lasts 4 to 5 seconds before disappearing smoothly back into the whipped egg. To test jelly syrup stage, quickly cool a spoon of boiling sugar syrup on the surface of iced water. After a minute, the syrup should become jelly-like and feel quite tacky between your fingers.


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