Brown bread ice-cream

Sophie Grigson's muscovado sugar and breadcrumb praline add a delightful crunchy touch to her mum's (Jane Grigson) version of this renowned ice-cream
By Sophie Grigson
Brown bread ice-cream
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6-8
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes plus freezing time
  • Effort: medium



  • 170 g muscovado sugar, light
  • 110 g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  • 300 ml single cream, (or substitute single cream mixed with milk, or use just milk)
  • 1 vanilla pods, slit in half lengthways
  • 1 egg yolks
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 tbsp dark rum
  • 300 ml double cream

Tips and Suggestions

This is my take on my mother's take on the recipe for brown bread ice-cream given in Gunter's Modern Confectioner printed in 1861! The original was made with no more than brown bread crumbs, sugar syrup and cream. My mother worked on it adding eggs and rum in particular. My variation is to toast the crumbs with some of the sugar to make what is essentially a brown bread praline. This preserves the marvellous nutty crispness of the toasted crumbs.


1. Set the oven to 200°C/gas mark 6. Mix the breadcrumbs with 100g of the sugar and spread out on a baking tray.

2. Bake for 8-12 minutes, stirring at least twice until the breadcrumbs are golden and have combined with the sugar. Be careful not to let the mixture burn.

3. As soon as it is ready take it off the heat and, while still very hot, stir it again and scrape up any pieces that have stuck to the tray. Keep stirring for a few minutes, until the crumbs have cooled slightly and are crisp rather than sticky. Leave to cool.

4. Put the single cream into a pan with the vanilla pod and bring up to the boil. Take off the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 15 minutes.

5. Whisk the egg and yolk with the remaining sugar until pale and fluffy. Once the cream has infused, add it the cream to the bowl with the eggs and sugar and whisk to make a custard. Stir over a low heat for a few minutes until it thickens slightly.

6. Take it off the heat, stir in the rum and then pour into a clean bowl. Leave to cool, stirring occasionally.

7. Take the double cream and whisk it until it just about holds its shape but is still a little sloppy, then fold into the custard, with the breadcrumbs.

8. Freeze in an ice-cream making machine or if you don't have one, pour the mixture into a shallow container and place in the freezer, set to its lowest setting. Leave until the sides are beginning to set, then break them up and push into the centre. Leave for another half hour or so, and repeat. Now leave until the ice cream has just about set but is not yet rock hard.

9. Beat hard with a wooden spoon to break up all the ice crystals. Return to the freezer and leave to finish freezing.

Transfer from the freezer to the fridge a good 30-40 minutes before serving, to soften.

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