Peanut Butter Ice Cream

I feel the need to mention how the obsession with peanut butter ice-cream came about before telling you all how amazing it was. On Wednesday I attended a little shindig hosted by WineStyle magazine and Real Time Wines. It was held at HQ in Sandton, a place I’d heard about from Cape Town people and which is now open here. The evening began with Pongracz MCC in its new 375ml incarnation which Andy (of Real Time Wines) said was just too big to drink through a straw. Well, I personally think that if I found myself in a park on a sunny day with a bottle of this stuff and no glass I would happily make do with a straw. (But then I have been known to do this before so perhaps I am just a heathen.) We then went on to do a blind tasting of six wines. My favourite turned out to be of the cheaper persuasion. I am not reading anything into that. Not at all. The whole purpose of the tasting was to illustrate that you can drink good wines that taste fantastic without breaking the budget. See? My kind of people.

The concept of HQ is genius really. They serve only salad, sirloin and chips. You get the salad (a take on a Caesar with Parmesan, lettuce and pine nuts) as a starter. You can then request how your steak is cooked but that is really all the contemplation that is required. As the person who finds what she likes on the menu and then only ever orders that (for ever more) this is exactly the restaurant I need. No guilt at not ordering something different. No menu envy. Genius I tell you. The steak (with its Café de Paris sauce) was honestly possibly the best steak I’ve had in Joburg. Ever. The chips were great, crispy on the outside and fluffy potato on the inside. They come around with more sauce and chips once you’re about half way.

But the real genius of HQ is their desserts. I know right? A steak restaurant with palatable desserts? You can have my first born child. I am not one for ordering desserts. They are always a disappointment. (Obviously I reserve this judgement for regular restaurants and cafes. Michelin starred/AA rosette places are another story.) Crémé Brûlée is always overcooked. Cheesecakes are crumbly and not smooth. Chocolate quality leaves a lot to be desired. However, I was pleasingly surprised with the chocolate fondant I ordered at HQ. It had the correct melt-y centre. It was hot and sweet and densely chocolate-y. It was something I would order again. It is responsible for the peanut butter ice cream.    

Ah peanut butter. Here we are again. I feel there is no explanation necessary for you presence here today. Just thinking about you makes me hungry. You see, chocolate and peanut butter are a marriage made in heaven. (Apologies for the cliche. There is no other way to describe them.) And as someone who ate a ridiculously good chocolate fondant on Wednesday, I decided it was necessary to recreate said fondant for Friday but to serve it with peanut butter ice cream. Its a happy place people.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream
250ml double cream
250ml milk
90g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup peanut butter

Heat the milk, cream and half the sugar to scalding point. Whisk in the peanut butter. In a bowl, whisk the rest of the sugar and the yolks until combined. Pour a ladle-full of cream mixture into the egg mixture and whisk. (This is called tempering.) Then pour that back into the cream mixture. Return to the heat and cook to 72C. Usually this is the temperature at which the custard coats the back of a spoon. Due to the peanut butter, it coats the spoon from the word go. If you tip the pan so you can see the bottom, you will observe that the custard begins to cling to the bottom of the pan. The mixture is now ready. Strain into a bowl and allow to cool to room temperature before chilling in the fridge over night. Churn in an ice-cream churner according to instructions. Serve alone, between stroopwafels or with chocolate fondants….

Chocolate Fondants
Alas this is not the recipe from HQ (I am on a mission to get it though so watch this space) but from a fellow chef with whom I worked ages ago. He declared it to be the best fondant recipe in the world. Its definitely up there in my top five.

175g dark chocolate (the better quality you use the tastier the fondants will be)
50g butter
50g sugar
2 yolks
2 eggs
2 tablespoons butter (30g)

Preheat the oven to 180C.
Melt the butter and the chocolate in the microwave or over a double boiler. Whisk the eggs, yolks and sugar to ribbon stage (where the mixture turns white-ish and you can make a ribbon with the mixture).

Fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs and mix until combined. Finally fold in the flour. Mix just until it comes together and the flour is combined. Don’t over mix.

Place in 4 greased ramekins and bake for 11-13 minutes, depending on ramekin size. Serve with ice cream of choice.