"I" was, without doubt, a particularly difficult letter in my alphabetical quest. There really aren't that many ingredients that begin with "i" and in the hours that I spent wracking my brains, there was one word that seemed to get wedged inside my head, repeating itself again and again until finally I gave up, rolled over and realised it could no longer be ignored. This word was "igloo". Igloo. Igloo. Igloo. But you can't eat igloos. Igloos aren't food. But maybe they could become food. Maybe I could make an edible igloo?
I scoured the internet for igloo moulds, but my search proved to be a fruitless enterprise. I'm sure there must be someone out there, somewhere, who makes igloo moulds, but where? Somewhere impossible to find that's where. And so, with a disappointed and protracted sigh, I came to the realisation that I would have to give up my search and somehow "fashion" an igloo myself. I found some half sphere moulds, but they were smaller, ideally, than I'd had in mind. So the idea needed to evolve - why make an igloo, when I could make an igloo village? An Inuit igloo village! OR, better still, an Inuit ice cream igloo village? I decided I wanted to make an ice-cream flavoured with something eaten in the Inuit diet and after researching online and ruling out raw caribou liver and seal brain as flavour options, I decided cranberry would be the most authentic wild berry in the Inuit diet that I could get hold of and so, it was cranberry ice cream that it must be.
Cranberries are anything but the colour of ice, so after freezing the ice cream in moulds lined with cling film, I unmoulded them and dipped them in melted white chocolate and returned them to the freezer. Because the melted chocolate is going on a frozen base (the ice cream) there is no need to temper it first. I made the igloo entrances using white chocolate plastique - a combination of tempered white chocolate and liquid glucose, kneaded together to create pliable, plasticine-like chocolate which you can roll out to cover cakes or use to make chocolate flowers or, in this case, igloo entrances. Once I transferred the Inuit ice cream igloos to a frozen serving plate, I dusted them liberally with icing sugar to make a snowy scene and then sprinkled on some iridescent magic fairy sparkle dust in ice white to give my village a glinting diamond shine.
Iridescent Inuit ice cream igloos
for the cranberry ice cream
1 tub (300g) frozen cranberries
1 pot (300 ml) double cream
Icing sugar to taste
A squeeze of lemon juice
for the igloos
300g white chocolate, melted
50g white chocolate plastique
Line your moulds with cling film - I used both half sphere moulds and a few custard pots, to give my igloo village some perspective - big ones at the front, little ones at the back. Make sure there is an overhang of cling film.
Blitz the frozen cranberries in a food processor with a little lemon juice and then, while the motor is still running, pour in the cream - it should immediately start to form the texture of ice cream. Take off the food processor lid and sift some icing sugar over the top. Blitz again and taste for sweetness, adding more if necessary. Transfer the ice cream into your cling film lined moulds and fold the cling film overhang over the top of the ice cream to cover their tops. Stick them back in the freezer. Place a large serving plate in the freezer ready for later.
In the meantime, make your igloo entrances. Soften the chocolate plastique by kneading it - don't let it get too warm though, or it will turn into sticky chocolate sauce. Make a sausage and cut it to the length you want your entrance to be. Place the cut sausage on a small piece of baking parchment and rub it backwards and forwards to create a flat base. Use a fine, sharp knife to cut a "U" shaped hollow in the base of the sausage and then, using the tip of the knife, gently carve the surface of the entrance so that it looks like it has ice block marks.
A little while before serving, take the ice creams out of their moulds, take the cling film off and dunk the ice cream in the melted chocolate and pop them on the frozen plate. Glue the igloo entrances to the half spheres with a little melted chocolate. Sift over some icing sugar and iridescent lustre before serving accompanied by a delicious glass (or several) of chilled Icewine.