Chocolate and Mint Arctic Roll

This is my entry for this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge.  This month’s challenge is to make a swiss roll or roulade.  Well, you have already witnessed my roulade attempt for last week’s Sunday lunch.  Well, this was this week’s Sunday dessert.  My two girls have fallen in love with mint choc chip ice cream and I keep having to buy tubs from the supermarket to sate their appetite. I have wanted to make mint ice cream for a while.  The mint in our garden is in its prime, a month earlier than usual.  It is also rampant so finding another use for it is a big bonus.

I have always wondered how you got the mint flavour in there – do you infuse the cream or infuse a sugar syrup? (Obviously, if you are a commercial ice cream seller you use mint flavouring and you don’t go in for this infusing malarkey). I googled mint ice cream and found that you can infuse the cream or you can infuse a sugar syrup.  I decided to go with the former.

My first attempt was a disaster.  I decided that to get the green colour you probably needed to chop the leaves and the stalks.  I forgot that mint turns brown when bruised and the cream turned a mucky brown colour on top – not very appetising.

So, the second time round I removed the leaves from the stalks and discarded the stalks (the chickens loved them). I kept the leaves whole and infused them for an hour in the warm cream.  This seemed to work very well but the cream wasn’t very green.  So I thought I would puree the mint leaves and push them through a sieve with the cream again, risking that this may turn the cream brown.  Well, in actual fact I nearly turned the cream red (reminder to self – stick blenders are extremely sharp and will cut your fingers!). Fortunately, all blood was contained well away from the infused cream and I had no reason to tell my guests that we were having mint and strawberry ice cream, as suggested by my helpful neighbour.  I also still have my index finger and thumb intact, just about.

Anyway, as it turns out the infused cream did have a subtle green glow about it.

Not quite commercial mint choc chip green  but lovely anyway.  I was surprised by the taste, it is nothing like commercial mint ice cream.  It had a subtle mint taste with a slight earthiness about it.  I really enjoyed it. I don’t think the kids were as impressed though because it didn’t taste like what they are used to.

I could have just served it as it is but I still wanted to enter this month’s challenge, so I thought an arctic roll might just hit the spot.

I made a traditional swiss roll rather than a roulade.  The difference for me between the two is the flour used in a swiss roll.  If I was making it again I might use the roulade recipe as it is richer and not quite so dry as a swiss roll.  But this did roll better.  I borrowed my mum’s tin – the right size for the recipe, and rolled it straight away as it came out of the oven.  Then unrolled it to fill it with ice cream. No cracks!

Next time I will make the ice cream the day before to give it time to freeze properly and I might just take James Martin’s advice to freeze the ice cream in a plastic pipe as trying to roll it in greaseproof paper was messy and difficult.

For the Mint choc chip ice cream
600ml double cream
60g mint leaves
50g caster sugar
6 egg yolks
1 dsp cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g dark chocolate, chopped into chip sized pieces

For the swiss roll
3 eggs
75g caster sugar
50g plain flour
25g cocoa powder

For the ice cream:

Pour the double cream into a saucepan and add the mint leaves.  Place the pan on a medium heat and bring up to almost boiling point.  Remove the pan from the heat and  leave to infuse for 1 hour.

Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla extract together until combined.  Sieve the cream into a jug and discard the mint leaves.  Pour the cream over the eggs and whisk well.  Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring all the time, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Allow to cool and then freeze in an ice cream maker following the manufacturer’s instructions or pour into a plastic container and place in the freezer removing every half hour for two hours to beat the mixture and remove ice crystals.

I would then recommend sourcing a clean plastic pipe as James Martin advises and freezing the ice cream in this.  Otherwise, lay a piece of greaseproof paper on a worktop and spoon on the ice cream and roll up into a tube shape measuring 5cm x 30 cm.  I found this quite difficult because I had made my ice cream that day and it was melting as soon as I handled it.  So I would advise making the ice cream the day before to give it time to freeze properly.

For the swiss roll

Grease and line with greaseproof paper a shallow swiss roll tin measuring 33cm x 23cm.

Whisk together the eggs and the sugar in a large bowl until the whisk leaves a trail when lifted. Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together and fold very carefully into the mixture.  Spread this evenly onto the tin.

Bake in a preheated oven at 200°c, gas mark 6 or with the grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven of the Aga for 8 minutes until the sides are shrinking away from the tin.

Whilst the swiss roll is cooking, lay a piece of greaseproof paper, which is bigger than the swiss roll tray, on the worktop and dust with cocoa powder or sugar.

As soon as the swiss roll is removed from the oven carefully invert it into the greaseproof paper.  Peel away the paper that is on the bottom and, using the paper underneath to help you, roll into a swiss roll.  Place on a wire rack to cool.

When you are ready to serve, remove the roll of ice cream from the freezer, unroll the swiss roll.  Place the ice cream in the middle and re roll the swiss roll to cover.  Serve in slices.

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21 thoughts on “Chocolate and Mint Arctic Roll”

  1. This looks delicious and perfect for the summer! You could cheat and slip in a bit of green food colouring to help with the colour? Though I think it looks fab as it is.

    So jealous of your ice-cream maker!

    1. Aww thank you Maggie. Yes, you could colour it, but it seems a shame to for some reason. Ooh yes I am very lucky to have an ice cream maker. My mum kindly let me keep hers at my house:).

  2. Sometimes, you cooking sounds more like a chemistry experiment – I admire your determination to start all over again til you get it right. You could only do that if you really enjoyed what you do, and you obviously do.

  3. Yum! I really like mint chocolate chip ice cream, but the bright green color has always been off putting to me. Of course, that is probably what attracts the girls! And thank goodness you did not have to serve red-tinted ice cream. Love the idea of infusing your own fresh mint.

    1. Aw thank you Michele. Yes I was very glad that I didn’t infuse everything with my blood. I would have been very sad to throw away attempt number two. I think what attracts the girls to these things is that it is from a shop – much more appealing than mummy’s food. I remember being exactly the same when I was their age.

    1. Yes, Nancy absolutely I agree – real mint, but for some reason I hadn’t thought about how commercial commercial ice cream tastes before. I really like this version.

  4. Oh, I think I’d much prefer your mint ice cream, it sounds wonderful and it’s a lovely shade of green. I’m impressed as I’d have thought it would go brown too. As for your perfect roll – well really, what can I say?

    1. Oh Choc, so glad you are impressed. 🙂 It is a lovely shade of green, I would quite like to paint some walls that colour. I always have the same thought when I mix stewed damsons with custard. But the DIY store might think I am a bit mad if I took them mint choc chip ice cream and stewed damsons and custard and asked them to mix me a couple of paints.

  5. I’m really intrigued to learn that there is a difference between Swiss roll and roulade. You learn something new everyday. I didn’t even consider the difference when I made mine, as I just used the easiest recipe I had to hand. Maybe if I did my research, I would have found a recipe that rolled better.

  6. Wow, arctic roll was one of my favourite desserts as a kid and this looks WAY better than the bought version we used to have! My husband would go absolutely mad for this, I’m definitely adding it to my list of stuff to try. I love that you made the ice cream with fresh mint too 🙂

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