Perfect brown bread and Armagnac ice cream

‘Where better to be during a recession than in the kitchen? You can busy yourself at the stove being as creative as an artist living in a garret, producing delicious, affordable dishes to enrich you physically and mentally. This wonderful recipe uses up stale bread (a good country loaf or sourdough would be ideal), doesn’t require an ice-cream maker and produces spectacular results, particularly when paired with chocolate sauce’

Thomasina Miers

Brown-bread and Armagnac ice cream

Extract from Fergus Henderson and Justin Piers Gellatly’s
The Complete Nose to Tail
Published by Bloomsbury

Makes 1 litre

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250g stale brown bread, crusts cut off
250g caster sugar
4 large egg yolks
600ml double cream
1½ tbsp Armagnac


Whizz up the bread in a food processor or blender to make crumbs, then spread them out on a baking sheet and toast in an oven preheated to 180°C/gas mark 4 until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave overnight to dry out.

Put 75g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan with two tablespoons of water and place over a low heat until melted, tilting the pan occasionally so it melts evenly. Raise the heat and boil without stirring until a dark tan caramel is produced. Stir in the whizzed breadcrumbs and pour the mixture onto an oiled baking tray to cool and set. Blitz to coarse crumbs in a food processor and then put to one side.

Place the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the base of the bowl. Whisk with an electric beater until the mixture has tripled in volume and is very thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, whisk the double cream until it forms soft peaks. When the egg-yolk mix has cooled, fold in the whipped cream, then fold in the breadcrumbs, followed by the Armagnac. Pour into a plastic container and place in the freezer until set. It’s great served with hot chocolate sauce (see below).

Hot chocolate sauce Ingredients

500g plain chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa solids, broken into chunks
700ml water
120g caster sugar


Place all the ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Pass through a fine sieve.