Glorious ice cream ideas

A knickerbocker glory, in all its glory

A knickerbocker glory, in all its glory - Credit: Chris Taylor

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream: it’s one of very few things on a menu that absolutely everyone loves, say Richard

On average, each person in the UK eats nine litres of ice cream every year which sounds a lot, until you realise that not only do the Scandinavians eat more, but the Americans royally beat us into submission with an average of 20 litres per person per year. 

Soft scoop, gelato, Mr Whippy, sorbets, lollies...I love them all, and as a man who’s had a Fab lolly (or three) almost every day for the last 30 years, I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to iced treats. 

Growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, the choice was pretty much limited to vanilla, chocolate or strawberry with an exotic block of Neapolitan considered the height of sophistication. When Pocklington's red and white ice cream van did its Friday evening round, if there was a scoop of banana to be had, I thought I’d been handed a cone of heaven! 

Today you can find almost every flavour in a tub, but vanilla still tops the charts. 

Norfolk has a host of fantastic ice cream makers, Ronaldo Ices, Danns Luxury Norfolk Ice Cream, Lakenham Creamery, Parravni’s Ice Cream; we all have our local heroes. Further afield the worldwide giants offer all sorts of wonders.  

At restaurants the choice is even greater with savoury ice cream on offer in flavours ranging from Heston’s bacon and egg to goat’s cheese, Parmesan to oyster. The oyster ice cream on a shellfish platter at Jason Atherton’s Pollen Street Social remains in my top five of things I’ve ever eaten. We even got in on the act at the restaurant, creating a Baron Bigod ice cream to sit atop a warm onion tart. Delicious. 

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It all seems a very long way from the diesel-scented, instantly-melting white whip that came from the depths of the freezer of the jangling Sunday ice cream van of my youth, and I still have a frequent pang for a Viennetta for Saturday's teatime afters. 

Even today to visit Richard in Dimascio’s Ice Cream van on the seafront at Great Yarmouth, often in the depths of winter, and sit in the car facing the bleak North Sea is an afternoon well spent. An ice cream with flake and all the sprinkles for Stacia and a chocolate and marshmallow oyster for me. 

Of course, you should always gild the lily if there’s an opportunity, and the spectacle of a proper ice cream sundae is a thing of true beauty. Knickerbocker Glory, Eton mess, the classic coffee and cream Café liégeois and, I think, the king of ice cream concoctions, the banana split topped with maraschino cherry - all wonderful treats. 

In 1977, when I first started work in Great Yarmouth, a treat on a day off was to visit Vettese's ice cream parlour on Regent Road: it remains one of my most cherished memories of an incredibly exciting time of my life. Moving from the Fens to the seaside at the age of 15, I felt like I'd been transported to Las Vegas: the sights, sounds and smells of crammed seaside town are still vivid, and Regent Road felt like the most glamorous place on earth! 

The Vettese family originally started to make ice cream in Scotland in 1919, but soon saw the benefit of moving to the seaside to open their first Norfolk parlour in the 1930s, and what a joy they chose Great Yarmouth. 

Last summer, The Assembly House afternoon tea had an ice cream theme with a mint choc chip Gateau Opera, a 99 cupcake, raspberry ripple cookie sandwich biscuits, a Neapolitan macaron and a strawberry sundae shot, all served with a side of seaside-style doughnuts. All the ice cream flavours, but no ice cream! 

I’ve given you some recipes for a couple of our most popular sundaes, but in reality, there are no recipes, just a case of piling the ice creams, fruit, sauces and sprinkles into the tallest glass you can find. Make sure you source a spoon that reaches the bottom!  

A knickerbocker glory, in all its glory

A knickerbocker glory, in all its glory - Credit: Chris Taylor

Knickerbocker Glory 

2 tbsp icing sugar 

300g raspberries 

100g blueberrries 

1 ripe mango, peeled, stone removed, chopped 

150g fresh strawberries, chopped 

200ml double cream whipped  

12 scoops vanilla, strawberry, chocolate ice cream  

Cherries, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate flakes 

For the raspberry coulis, measure 150g raspberries into a food processor, add the icing sugar and pulse until smooth. 

Tip the raspberry purée into a sieve set over a bowl. Use a metal spoon to push the fruit pulp through the sieve. Discard the seeds 

Layer the ice cream, blueberries,strawberries, remaining raspberries, couils and whipped cream into the sundae glasses, piling it high. 

Top with whatever takes your fancy, with fruit, 100s and 1000s. wafers, cherries, it’s up to you!. 

Raspberry ripple hazelnut cookie sandwich 

Raspberry ripple hazelnut cookie sandwich - Credit: Steve Adams

Raspberry ripple hazelnut cookie sandwich 

Makes 8 to 10 cookie sandwiches  

Cookie recipe 

150g of hazelnuts, roughly chopped 

100g of icing sugar, plus extra for dusting 

155g of butter, softened 

200g of flour 

1/2 orange, zest only 

1/2 egg 

1 pinch of salt 

Filling  

150g full fat cream cheese 

1 dessertspoon icing sugar 

200g crushed raspberries ( 150g crushed, 50g left whole ) 

Simply stir the cream cheese, icing sugar together and fold in the crushed raspberries 

To make the cookies 

Preheat the oven to 170°C/gas mark 3.  

Cream together the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and fluffy  

Stir in the hazelnuts, flour, salt and orange zest 

Add the egg and mix slowly until just combined 

Roll to 3mm thickness and then use a pastry cutter to cut into small rounds. Arrange on a lined tray 

Bake for about 8 minutes, or until a light golden brown colour6 

Sprinkle with caster sugar and allow to cool on a wire rack 

To assemble 

Sandwich the cooled cookie with the cream cheese filling, popping a whole raspberry into the centre of the filling before putting together. Dust with icing sugar 

One of the Assembly House's ice cream specials

One of the Assembly House's ice cream specials - Credit: Steve Adams