I’m not sure if recipes are allowed here, but Christmas is approaching and people might like this recipe from Emma Darwin (Charles’s Mrs). Charles Darwin would probably have been served this as a special treat on his birthday. It is a less weighty alternative to Christmas pudding. (I might try devising some cocktails for the grand opening too – I’ve got a DNA one somewhere, where you precipitate DNA into ice-cold gin (It’s actually pectin, not DNA, but that’s another story…)
Nesselrode pudding was a Victorian ‘iced pudding’ (what we now call ice cream).
There are some photos of elaborate Nesselrodes here:
Genuine Nesselrode pudding is made with puréed chestnuts and maraschino (a liqueur flavoured with cherry stones, that tastes like almonds). This, however, is Emma Darwin’s cheaper recipe, which is remarkably clever, substituting brandy and ground almonds for the costly, imported sweet chestnuts and maraschino liqueur.
225 g dried fruit (e.g., Maraschino cherries, apricots, raisins), roughly chopped if large
175 ml brandy (you may use fruit juice instead, if you prefer an alcohol-free version)
half a vanilla pod
500 ml double cream
250 ml whole milk
6 medium-sized egg yolks
50 g sugar
30 g ground almonds
If the fruit includes whole cherries or very large raisins, chop them up. Pour the brandy over the fruit and leave it to soak overnight. Note: If you don’t want pink ice cream, keep the cherries separate from the other fruit at this stage (see Step 6).
Split open the vanilla pod lengthways and scrape the seeds into the cream. Add the outer part of the pod to the cream as well. Mix with the milk and bring it to boil in a saucepan, stirring continuously (don’t let it burn on the bottom). When it’s boiled, take it off the heat.
In a largish bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar. When the mixture is white and creamy, beat in the ground almonds.
Discard the vanilla bean skins and pour the hot cream/milk onto the egg and sugar mixture, beating constantly.
Transfer the custard to a double boiler (or heat gently) and stirring constantly, heat until the custard thickens. This may take up to 10 minutes — it’s important not to let the custard boil. Note: How to tell when the custard has thickened sufficiently: you heat until it sticks to the back of a spoon held horizontally, and then draw a line through the custard on the spoon with a finger. If the line remains, the custard is ready.
Remove from the heat. Stir in the brandy and the fruit. Allow to cool, then refrigerate at 3–5 °C until cold (overnight is OK, but if you don’t want pink ice cream, leave out the cherries until the next, freezing, step).
Pour into an ice cream machine and follow the instructions with the machine (or alternatively, put the mixture in the freezer, taking it out to stir every four hours of so.
Note: Emma added the brandy and fruit only once the ice cream was partially frozen. This makes sense as too much alcohol will stop the mixture freezing, and Victorian methods may not have made the mixture cold enough to freeze hard.