Honeycomb Ice Cream & Mini Baked Alaskas

honeycomb ice cream (yossy arefi)
honeycomb candy (yossy arefi)
honeycomb ice cream (yossy arefi)
baked alaska (yossy arefi)

Last week over on my Food52 column, Project Dessert,  I shared a recipe for Mini Baked Alaskas with honeycomb ice cream, brown sugar poundcake, and torched swiss meringue. They were adorable and so tasty, but the real star of the show was the ice cream made from crushed homemade honeycomb candy folded through a simple ice cream base. As the ice cream sits in the freezer, the honeycomb melts a bit, making delicious and beautiful swirls and striations through the mix along with bits of crispy and chewy candy. So good.

Follow the links above to make all of the components for the Mini Baked Alaskas or if you aren't up for the whole project, no worries. The poundcake and ice cream are both stellar stand-alone recipes. The poundcake would be especially nice with some of Spring's first strawberries and fresh cream.

Honeycomb Ice Cream

Makes about 2 pints

Honeycomb candy is also known as sponge toffee, sea foam, hokey pokey, but all you need to know is that it is delicious caramelized sugar candy. If you’ve never made candy before this is a great one to start with, and you don’t even need a thermometer.

Honeycomb Candy

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup dark corn syrup or golden syrup

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

pinch salt

Ice Cream Base

2 cups heavy cream

1 cup whole milk

1 cup granulated sugar

4 large egg yolks

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch salt

To make the honeycomb: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat.

Combine the sugar and corn syrup in a medium (at least 3 quarts) saucepan. Stir to combine well.

Cook the mixture over medium heat, swirl occasionally but do not stir once the pan is on the heat, until the sugar has melted and the mixture is the color of dark maple syrup about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the baking soda and salt. The mixture will bubble up and foam quite a bit. Quickly pour the mixture onto the prepared baking sheet. Let sit at room temperature until cool and set. When cool break the candy into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To make the ice cream base: In a medium saucepan, whisk the cream, milk and sugar. Whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl.

Heat the cream mixture over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the cream is just barely simmering. Ladle a bit of the hot cream into the egg yolks and whisk to temper the yolks.

Add the eggs to the saucepan pan and cook the mixture while stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Whisk in the salt and vanilla extract.

Transfer the mixture to a container and chill the completely, at least 4 hours or overnight.

Just before churning the ice cream, break up about 3/4 cup of the honeycomb candy into rough crumbs.

Churn the ice cream in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions, just before the ice cream is done churning add in the honeycomb crumbs. Transfer the mixture to a freezer safe container, cover, and freeze until very firm.


baked alaska (yossy arefi)
honeycomb ice cream (yossy arefi)

Ricotta Gelato

brooks headley's ricotta gelato (yossy arefi)

This is the kind of recipe I knew I would love before I even made it. It is one of the simplest recipes in Brooks Headley's, Piglet winning, Fancy Desserts, and it is ridiculously easy. All you have to do is take some good ricotta (sheep's milk if you can swing it), add some honey, simple syrup, and a pinch of salt, then chill and churn it. Done and done. I liked this gelato best as soft serve, straight from the machine, but you could transfer it to a freezer safe container and chill it for a couple of hours to make scoops like the ones shown here. 

For as much as I love richly-hued food and food photography sometimes a blank canvas, white on white, is just the thing, but I wanted to top my gelato with some crunchy bits for texture so I chopped up some salty fried Marcona almonds and white chocolate to sprinkle on top. It made for a nice sweet -salty-creamy combo. This gelato would also be delicious with berries or roasted fruit or maybe some cacao nibs or anything that tastes good with ricotta sprinkled over top really. Maybe tomato jam and a little olive oil? Too weird? Go crazy with the free styling people. I hear Brooks' team made this into a canoli inspired treat for his Superiority Burger Pop-up burger joint, which also sounds great. 

brooks headley's ricotta gelato

Brook's Headley's Ricotta Gelato

The original recipe in Fancy Desserts makes about 2 quarts of gelato which I knew was a bit more than my home machine could handle, so I cut the recipe in half. To make simple syrup: combine equal parts granulated sugar and water in a saucepan, cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes to a boil and the sugar is completely dissolved. Chill thoroughly before adding the simple syrup to the other ingredients in this recipe. Oh, and I probably don't need to tell you all this, but use good quality ricotta here, the sheep's milk kind if you can find it. 

3 cups full fat ricotta (750g)

1 1/2 cups simple syrup (500g)

1/4 cup honey (85g)

pinch salt

Add the ricotta, simple syrup, honey, and salt together to a medium, deep-sided bowl. Blend with an immersion blender for one minute, until super smooth. Set the bowl over an ice bath and chill, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for three hours, or overnight if you have the time. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer's instructions. Serve immediately or transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze until firm.

brooks headley's ricotta gelato