Saturday, 7 April 2012

Primrose Curd Ice Cream

Primrose Curd Ice Cream with Poached Rhubarb & Rhubarb Tuile

What is it about the mere suggestion of primroses in a dessert that sends us into a Spring time frenzy?  The delicate yellow petals are one of the first signs of spring's arrival. A bright and sunny springtime smile amongst the decaying brown of winter's dead foliage.

Last week end, I was lucky enough to be working with Liz Knight of Forage Fine Foods from Herefordshire at Bristol's largest food celebration the Love Food Festival.  Liz is both modest and dismissive of her formidable creative talent, which flow out of her as she creates seasonal treats using locally foraged wild foods, selling to the lucky people of Ludlow Farmers Market and some by mail order.  Inspiration comes from the hedgerows and from old English recipes, which she collects in old books and more interestingly by talking to local old folk, salvaging their recipes, often being told by word of mouth.  Liz demonstrated a primrose curd based on an old English recipe called Russet, named after the English apple. She poetically links the last of Autumns's fruit harvest with the first of the Spring's new tidings. I do like a bit of romance in my food.

This ice cream is two stages, firstly to make the Russet (Primrose Curd) I have used Liz's recipe and secondly added it to a simple ice cream base (creme anglais) and churned in my ice cream maker.

The curd is as magical as you might imagine, a rich appley custard with a delicate floral note.  Use this as an original cake toping, in a pastry case with some caramalised apple slices or alongside just about anything sweet.

For the pictured dessert (above) I poached some rhubarb in sugar syrup, made a rhubarb tuile (recipe below). Garnished the plate with rhubarb coulis and primrose curd (recipes below). For the perfect finish a garnish of yellow and mauve primrose petals.

Russet (Primrose Curd) Allow 2 days

  • A generous handful of unsprayed washed primrose petals
  • 450g sugar
  • 450g Bramley apples
  • 125 unsalted butter
  • 4 Large eggs
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  1. DAY 1 Finely chop the primrose petals, place them with the sugar in a container and stir through the primrose flowers.  Cover and leave for at least 24 hours (this will allow the flavours from the petals to release into the sugar).
  2. DAY 2 Peel and chop 450g of apples, place into a pan with 100ml of water and the lemon zests.
  3. Gently cook the apple until it is soft and mash into a puree. 
  4. Fill a larger saucepan with one third of water and place a pyrex or stainless steel bowl over the top (bain marie). Add the apple, butter and juice of lemon, primrose/sugar mixture to the bowl.
  5. Heat the pan and stir the mixture until the butter is completely melted.
  6. At this stage turn off the heat as you are about to add the eggs and if the apple mixture is too hot the eggs will curdle (split).
  7. Add the eggs to the mixture through a sieve and beat the eggs with a balloon whisk until the eggs are full mixed in.
  8. Put the pan on a gentle heat and stir the mixture until it becomes thick (and curd like) this usually takes about 10 minutes.
  9. Pour the curd into sterilised jars and seal immediately and store in the fridge. You can keep it here for up to 4 weeks. 
Ice Cream
  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 6 eggs separated
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 150ml caster sugar
  1. Place the milk and cream in a thick based saucepan with the vanilla pod sliced in half, scraping out the seeds inside.
  2. Gently heat until just before it comes to the boil take off the heat and cover with a lid allow to infuse for 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile separate the eggs and beat the yolks with the sugar until pale and runny.
  4. When the cream has infused remove the vanilla pods and pass the vanilla cream through a sieve.
  5. Mix a little into the yolk/sugar mixture and then incorporate all the vanilla cream.
  6. Place in a clean saucepan and return to the heat.
  7. On a gentle heat stirring all the time heat to but not boil until it thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Usually about 10 minutes. 
  8. Take off heat and allow to cool. Cover the top with cling film to stop a skin forming.
  9. Chill overnight;
  10. Add the primrose curd (I used about 500ml) and mix well. Add to your ice cream maker.
Rhubarb Tuile

This recipe is taken from  John Campbell's Formulas for Flavour 

Make a rhubarb compote, then add about half the weight of rhubarb compote in sugar  and boil till reduced. Reserve and chill. (now it's a coulis)

60gm icing sugar
15gm plain flour
3 Tbsp rhubarb coulis
20gm butter melted

Sift the icing sugar and flour together into a bowl. Add the rhubarb coulis and butter. Mix to a smooth paste. Chill the batter for 1 hour. Heat oven to 180C. Line a baking tin with parchment. Spread the mixture into approximate oblongs. Bake for abou 6-8 minutes. Allow to slightly cool and cut to your required shape. Allow to cool.


  1. Oh. My. Goodness. This looks amazing. I love the use of flowers in cooking. The flavours can be out of this world :)

  2. My dear George. Shame on me for not replying six months ago. My blog has fallen by the way side, though I do mean to make a return. Thanks for your lovely comments. I urge you to try this as spring is not so far away and it is truly beautiful. Lots of love to you. xx


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