In South Africa, we tend to dismiss lesser wines as “cooking wine” – the kind we used to drink as students. But any cook worth his or her salt will know that when cooking with wine, the dish will only be as good as the wine you use. Nowhere is this more true than when making a wine ice-cream. As a dessert, ice-cream is so delicate that the wine’s character is almost as apparent as when drinking it by the glass. For this very reason, the cultivar has a substantial impact on the taste of the ice-cream. When working with a Cabernet Sauvignon, for instance, the ice-cream is heavier, headier and the taste of the wine unmistakable. This was the first time I had made Syrah ice-cream, though, and the taste really took me by surprise. It was more fruity – with hints of plum and even cherry – and altogether lighter. The added spiciness of a Syrah is, of course, perfect for festive times.
1 bottle La Motte Syrah
250 ml milk
250 ml cream
105 g (130 ml) sugar
4 egg yolks
pinch of salt
2 ml vanilla essence
Pour the wine into a large saucepan. Heat to boiling point and reduce the wine to 125 ml.
Pour the milk, cream and half of the sugar into another saucepan and heat to just before boiling. Beat the egg yolks and add the warm milk /cream mixture. Pour it back into the saucepan with the rest of the sugar, salt and vanilla essence. Stir over low heat until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Add the reduced red wine and let it cool. Pour the custard into an ice-cream maker and churn until frozen, then spoon it into a container and put it in the freezer.
To prepare the recipe without an ice-cream maker, pour the custard into a container and place it in your freezer. Freeze until the edges of mixture begin to set. Then, using a hand mixer, beat mixture until smooth. Repeat this process until ice cream is frozen and smooth.
CHOCOLATE AND CLOVE SAUCE
250 ml cream
200 g 70 % dark chocolate, finely chopped
Pour the cream into a saucepan and add the cloves. Heat over a low heat to just before boiling point, then remove the cloves.
Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let it sit without stirring to let the chocolate and cream reach the same temperature. After a while, stir until smooth and serve with the ice cream.