This is one of my signature dishes at The Fat Duck. What makes this recipe so special is being able to make instant ice-cream at the table with the help of a little dry ice. Dry ice can also be used to turn bought smoothies and custard into ice-creams and sorbets. I serve this dish with marmalade because its bitterness and acidity cut through the richness of the ice-cream.
- 400 g sweet-cured smoked back bacon
- 1 litre full-cream milk
- 30 g semi-skimmed milk powder
- 24 large egg yolks
- 120 g unrefined caster sugar
- clarified butter
- 1 loaf brioche, crust removed, cut into soldiers (1.5 x 1.5 x 5 cm)
- golden caster sugar
- 6 medium eggs
- pastry offcuts or other bits of dough, to plug holes
- 400 g dry ice (see note)
- orange marmalade
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Infusing time overnight
To start the ice-cream base, preheat the grill to high. Lay the bacon slices on a baking tray lined with baking paper and place under the grill for 5-7 minutes or until crisp.
When the bacon is cooked, drain on kitchen paper and cut it into strips. Place in a bowl, pour over the milk then refrigerate to infuse overnight.
The next day, put the milk and bacon into a saucepan and add the milk powder. Place over a medium-low heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Remove from the heat.
In the meantime, blitz the egg yolks and sugar together using a hand blender. Combine the egg mixture with the warm milk and bacon and return the pan to the heat. Warm the liquid until it reaches 85ºC.
Once this temperature has been reached, remove the pan from the heat and pass the ice-cream base through a fine sieve into a clean container over iced water, pushing the custard through with the back of a ladle.
To cook the crispy soldiers, melt a tablespoon of clarified butter in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add some of the soldiers and fry on all sides, remove and place on paper towel to absorb any excess fat. Repeat as necessary to cook the remaining soldiers.
Clean the pan completely then place it over a medium-high heat. Add enough sugar to cover the bottom of the pan and allow to melt.
Once the sugar has completely melted and caramelised, add some of the soldiers, no more than 4 or 5 at a time. Turn using tongs in order to cover every side, being careful not to touch the sugar as it is extremely hot. Once coated on all sides, remove the soldiers from the pan, place on a silicone mat and allow to cool. Repeat as necessary, cleaning the pan thoroughly after each use.
To serve the ice-cream, use a large-gauge needle or an egg punch to make a hole in the top and bottom of the eggs and gently blow out the contents. Rinse the shells in cold water and place in boiling water for 45 minutes to sterilise. Remove, allow to cool and plug one of the holes in each shell with pastry.
Using a syringe, fill the eggshells with the ice cream base. Plug the remaining hole with pastry and keep refrigerated until needed.
To serve, make the ice-cream in front of your guests by cracking an egg filled with ice-cream base into a saucepan and adding some of the crushed dry ice while mixing continuously until the ice-cream is formed. This will take approximately 1 minute and it will look like scrambled eggs. Place in a bowl, add a teaspoon of orange marmalade on top of the ice-cream, place a slice of crystallised bacon on top and serve with crispy solders on the side.
• When handling dry ice, you need to take exactly the same precautions as you would with naked flames, hot pans and baking trays straight out of the oven. Don’t let it come into direct contact with your skin or you will get a nasty burn. And make sure all the dry ice used to freeze an ice-cream has dissolved before you serve it – you don’t want to bite into or swallow a chunk of dry ice!