Recipe: Arctic roll with basil ice cream and passionfruit curd

Top caterer Rose Lloyd Owen shares her recipe for a childhood comfort food favourite with a delicious twist.

I remember having Arctic Roll every Thursday at school and it was my favourite day! We always had some in our freezer at home – I think the whole nation did.

Birds Eye have brought their iconic Arctic Roll back recently, but it’s laden with E numbers – making it yourself is way more fun and even more delicious.

If time is short, you can simplify the recipe by using shop-bought ice cream and lemon curd – but if you do have the time, this is a show-stopping dessert.


(serves 6-8)

For the Sponge

  • 3 eggs
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence

For the Basil ice cream

  • 300ml double cream
  • 300ml whole milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 50g basil

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For the Passionfruit curd

  • 250g cold butter
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 8 – 10 passionfruits (this will leave you with extra curd, but it last for a few months in the fridge and is delicious with everything)

Recipe: Arctic roll with basil ice cream and passionfruit curd


For the sponge

Preheat your oven to 180c. Grease and line a swiss roll tin or flat shallow tin measuring roughly 30cm x 25cm (12” by 10”).

Beat together the sugar and the eggs in a freestanding mixer until pale and thick. It’s important to sieve the flour with this kind of sponge so it’s as light as it can be. Fold in the sieved flour, vanilla essence and baking powder until well combined. Pour into your tin and bake until golden and springy, which should be between 10 and 15 minutes.

When the sponge is still warm, lay out some baking parchment and sprinkle with lots of caster sugar. Turn the cake upside down onto the baking parchment and peel off the top bit of paper and then loosely roll up the sponge (lengthways) with the paper. This will prevent cracking when it’s cooled.

For the basil ice cream

Heat the milk and cream until it starts to gently bubble, remove from the heat. Beat together the sugar and the egg yolks in a freestanding mixer until pale and thick ribbons form. Chuck in a glug of the hot milk / cream and mix to slacken. Then slowly pour in the rest of the milk/ cream whisking gently. Return to a very gentle heat and stir constantly with a wooden spoon until it has thickened. When it has cooled, blend the custard with the basil (stalks and all) in a powerful blender until the milk is pale green with little flecks of dark green. Churn in an ice cream machine as normal.

When it has finished churning, lay the ice cream down on two layers of baking parchment and carefully roll it up into a sausage shape, about the same length as your cake tin. Twist the paper at both ends like a cracker and pop back into the freezer for an hour or so.

For the passionfruit curd

Melt the butter in a bain marie. Beat together the egg yolks, sugar and passionfruit and add into the bowl with the butter. Heat very gently, stirring constantly your eggs don’t scramble. It will become thick and glossy. We like to blend it briefly to grind up some of the seeds.

To assemble

Unwrap your cake roll carefully and place sugar side down on some fresh baking parchment. Spread generously with the curd. Unwrap the ice cream and lay in the centre, rolling back up tightly. Use the paper to help roll and secure it into a tight sausage shape.

Refreeze for 3 hours or so, but remember to take it out about 10 minutes before serving it and slice through it with a hot knife.

Serve with more curd and fruit.