We asked the creator of Panzer’s new Ice Cream and Chocolate Mousse – Richard Stafford – about how he creates our newest grocery hit. Flying off the shelves, keep an eye out for new batches each Thursday!
Panzers’ ice cream is made only with the very freshest ingredients, no preservatives whatsoever, and fits squarely into the definition for ‘artisanal’. It means the shelf life of the ice creams are a little shorter than those sold in supermarkets, but the taste is a million times better. Everything, apart from the churning, is done by hand.
We use only the best ingredients: hazelnut paste from Piedmont, in Italy; pistachio paste from Bronte, Sicily; Earl Grey tea from the Tregothnan Estate in Cornwall; chocolate from a single estate in the Caribbean.
With so much competition in the ice cream sector, I try and create a point of difference with flavour combinations. I take my inspiration from desserts and puddings on restaurant menus. If I like the look or taste of something, my first thought is, will that work as an ice cream, and if so, how? And so, I make a Key Lime Pie ice cream, a Panforte ice cream, a Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream, a Burnt Basque Vanilla Cheesecake ice cream, a Southern Blueberry Cobbler ice cream… and so on.
I’m old enough to remember the dull, flavourless ice creams of the 70s in the UK. It wasn’t until I first went to America that I discovered how inventive ice creams could be. I fell in love with Cookies ’n Cream, eating more than was healthy, and ever since I’ve loved ice creams with ‘bits’ in them – or mix-ins, as they’re called in America. I do my own version of Cookies ’n Cream now: Chocolate Milk and Cookies. In my opinion, it knocks the commercially-produced one out of the water. You’ll find quite a few of my ice creams at Panzers have mix-ins – chocolate crumble in the Piedmont Hazelnut ice cream, pieces of gooey rosewater meringue in a Lemon Ice Cream, soft chocolate flake in a Mocha, and pieces of lemon cake in an Earl Grey Tea ice cream (called Tea & Cake Ice Cream!).
One of the best aspects of making ice cream is good old-fashioned R&D. Sometimes it takes several iterations to get an ice cream right, and I confess to having had to throw away an ice cream straight from the churner once or twice. That’s the price of experimentation, but when it succeeds, the results are so worth it. For example, it took five attempts to perfect my Wholemeal Sourdough Ice Cream with Seville Orange Marmalade, made with a dark sugar ice cream base, kernels of crunchy wholemeal sourdough, and swirled through with Seville marmalade. It was worth all the failed attempts.
In the interests of good kitchen economy, I ensure the many egg whites left over from the ice cream making are put to good use. I also make a chocolate mousse, one of the most enduring puddings. I’m not going to disclose the recipe, but it’s underpinned by the delicious aforementioned single-estate chocolate from the Caribbean. And again, it’s made by my aching hand!