Whose tradition is it anyway? Bread for Toni, Lemon Myrtle and White Chocolate, Ice Cream Cake Recipe

Please don’t judge me. I have a confession to make… it is the middle of January and I still have half a panettone left.
It is difficult to explain but no one else in my family will eat it, and since I enjoy a slice only at breakfast, lightly toasted, with a cup of tea, there is really only so much one can get through!!

However, it seems, that I may actually be the odd one out here, as there is an entire school of thought that believes panettone is a an inedible passing food fad Are they right? How many of us are actually secretly hiding, unopened or rather large chunks of left over panettone, in the pantry or refrigerator? Or is yours just out in the open, (like mine) taking up square footage on the kitchen counter?

Am I perpetuating the myth that no one eats panettone?  Here is another great recipe idea for left over panettone!
Am I perpetuating the myth that no one eats panettone? Here is another great recipe idea for left over panettone!

I’m not convinced though, try telling the Italians that panettone is a passing fad! It seems that the original, flatter, and probably much smaller (aka manageable) version has been around since the fifteenth century. Hmmm, five hundred years give or take, it seems like a fairly strong trend to me!
All traditional festive foods have a legend or 10 behind them and my favourite story of the origins of this paradox, of slightly dry yet buttery fruit bread is this one;

“Does the name “Panettone” derive from Pan de Toni? According to tradition, Toni, lowly scullion at the service of Ludovico il Moro, was the inventor of one of the most typical sweets of the Italian tradition. On Christmas Eve, the chef of the Sforza burned the cake prepared for the feast. Toni decided to offer the mother yeast that he had kept aside for himself for Christmas. He kneaded it several times with flour, eggs, sugar, raisins and candied fruit, until obtaining a soft and leavened dough. The result was a great success and Ludovico il Moro called it Pan de Toni to honor its inventor.

Truly generous act on behalf of Toni I think, as I am sure that as a lowly scullion, to be able to make bread and have yeast available for his family, was not a trifling luxury. Secondly, it must have surely been a charitable master to not only name the sweet invention after Toni, but to not send the entire kitchen staff to the gallows for burning the Christmas cake in the first place!! Ha ha, I like it, and I pay due respect to all, who, when faced with dire need, fall back on creative dessert making!

The Italian cultural influence in Melbourne, which peaked with Italian migration back in the late 60’s and early ’70’s really helped give birth to Victoria’s current food and European style cafe culture. You can see the influence in our streets with the number of coffee shops per capita, it is truly astounding to most overseas visitors as to how many coffee machines they can spot in one quiet suburban shopping strip. You can also see it in the basis of so many ‘modern’ Australian menus which have strong Italian foundations. Who would have imagined that the home made antipasti found in the sandwiches of first generation migrant kids, school lunches, would now be routinely served up anywhere you care to eat? Everywhere from lowly cafeteries, to gourmet modern Australian eateries offer such a wide range of ethnically diverse dishes, that it would be strange not to see it on the menu!

It is so universally accepted that Italian cuisine is part if the strong foundation of modern Australian food, that when I recently asked an overseas visitor, “What is your favourite Australian dessert?”, they replied, ” Tiramisu.”

Looks a little like tartufo! How could you resist an Italian ice cream based dessert?
Looks a little like tartufo! How could you resist an Italian ice cream based dessert?

So, here is my recipe that I dedicate to ‘Toni’. I don’t actually know an Italian Toni, but to all my Italian friends, I hope you enjoy my Bliss, Australian take on, enjoying panettone well into January.

I am giving this blissed, ice cream cake, panettone, lovely citrus aromas by using lemon myrtle. Lemon myrtle has a flavour very, very much like lemon grass. It is green and woody with a good citrus kick to it but with none of the acid associated with lemons, so there is only a heightening of the already rich flavours in the panetonne. Lemon myrtle pairs so nicely with white chocolate that it only makes sense to marry them up and serve everything with ice cream! Since no one needs a reason for ice cream; ice cream is my choice for this new Aussie summer dessert. Heston’s recipe, from ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’, seems as good a place as any to start, given the unusual pairings and the nature of this creative dessert, so here is another great culinary genius’ recipe thrown into the Bliss grinder ;P. May be you can serve it for Australia Day? After all, who’s tradition is it anyway?

Panettone and Lemon Myrtle Ice Cream Cake
3 thick slices panettone, cut to the size of a small, loose bottomed cake tin (approximately 6 inch round)

Chocolate Ganache
150g 35% cocoa chocolate
1/2 cup whipping cream
Bring cream to boiling point. Add in chocolate, stir occassionally until melted and smooth. Leave to cool and thicken, stirring occassionally (at least an hour).

Lemon Myrtle White chocolate Ice Cream
180g Full Cream Milk
70g Caster Sugar
35g Milk Powder
420g Whipping Cream
90g White Chocolate
1 tspn Lemon Myrtle (or 1/2 tspn lemon zest, if you can’t get Aussie herbs!)

Heat milk, sugar and milk powder over medium heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Add cream and bring to the boil.
Add white chocolate and lemon myrtle or lemon zest, stirring occasionally until chocolate has dissolved.
Cool thoroughly.
Turn on your ice cream machine and churn for about 45 minutes or until the beater can no longer turn.

Work quickly to;
Place a layer of panettone into the botom of your cake tin.
Spoon a layer of ice cream over it, and smooth over with the back of a spoon.
Place second layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Spoon a second layer of ice cream over the panettone, as above.
Place third layer of panettone over the ice cream and press down lightly.
Cover the cake tin in glad wrap and place in the freezer.


When chocolate ganache has cooled to a runny fudge sauce consistency.
Take cake tin out of the freezer and run a knife around the inside of the tin to loosen the ice cream and turn the ‘cake’ out onto a plate.
Pour a generous amount of ganache over the top of the cake and smooth it out towards the edges allowing it to run over the sides of the cake.
Place ‘cake’ back into freezer.
Place remaining ganache into fridge to firm up (at least an hour)
Use a melon baller to scoop little balls of ice cream, and place them onto a cold tray and place ice cream balls back into freezer to firm up.
When ganache has become firm but not hard, use a small spoon or melon baller to scoop spoonfuls of ganache and roll them in Dutch cocoa powder, and keep them in the fridge.

When you are ready to serve, place mini ice cream scoops and ganache balls on top. The panettone is even drier, coming out of the freezer, but in combination with the ice cream and the ganache, it is a great textural compliment and the flavours work beautifully together!

Happy Birthday Australia xxx

Can you see the Southern Cross?  Happy Birthday Australia in all the finest, chocolatey, tradition :)
Can you see the Southern Cross? Happy Birthday Australia in all the finest, chocolatey, tradition 🙂

If you are enjoying being blissed, please drop me a comment with any feedback or comments!  I would love to know what you are enjoying most and what you would like to see more of.

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Japanese ice cream makes me happy!

It’s been a long cold winter, there is still snow on the mountains and I am eating and blogging about what makes me happy 🙂 My new year’s resolution of living my life instead of letting life live me has, so far, been a pipe dream and I have not come anywhere near actually making it happen. However, one of my additional little resolutions, New Year’s Eve and Summer is finally here,  has been well and truly ticked off the list. I am proud to say I have raced down that road and rung the bell (or at least caught up with the the guy ringing that happy bell!)

Says it all!
(Photo by Leo Reynolds, that I have lifted from Flickriver. Thanks Leo!)

I have noticed on my travels, that the colder the climate the more readily ice cream seems to be available and the more open everyone is to eating it! I was absolutely delighted to find that when we landed in Hokkaido, the northern most island of Japan and home to the snow monkeys, they are obsessed with ice cream! YAAAYYYY!!!! I won’t bore you with details of travel and sight seeing, I will just show you and tell you about the marvellous soft serve that I ate. The island of Hokkaido is the bread basket of Japan, so cows and fruit abound.  For the Japanese, soft serve is the ice cream style of choice. Smooth, refined, soft and delicate, everything that appeals to the Asian palate. I am used to the big bang, flavours of Aussie style cuisine and  I swing from loving the icy, bite in the mouth, gelati, to full bodied, richly creamy, home style, custard based, ice creams. Soft serve was always the poor cousin relagated to cheap choc dips and McDonald’s 50 cent cones, with that strange milky sweetness. Well, my mind has been changed!

Black sesame and milk, a really old school favourite flavour.

Our first stop, and we found a real old school favourite, Black Sesame. Black sesame, in any Asian dessert, has a slightly gritty texture and a pleasant deep bitterness that contrasts beautifully with a sweet finish. Both hot and cold desserts are made with this flavouring but ice cream is a perfect carriage. The smoothness of ice cream gives the ground sesame a soft bed to carry it and contrasting it with a plain milk is simply, genius.This is my dad in law’s hand…of course, he loves it!

Next ice cream stop, Hakodate tower. Hakodate, is the Southernmost fishing village on Hokkaido. Home to the

Cherry blossom ice cream, a truly romantic flavour, with a view of Hakodate.

3rd most spectacular night view on earth, as our tour guide tells us! I can vouch that the view was spectacular and that it was absolutely freezing too boot! Obviously didn’t stop us from eating more ice cream. This beautifully soft, and delicately flavoured Cherry blossom ice cream was what a lot of us imagine Japan to embody, all piled high on a crisp, wafer cone. Over 1000 cherry blossom trees are planted here, however, I missed out on that view by just a few weeks. Plenty of snow, just no cherry blossoms:(

And, this is where it starts getting weird. The Japanese seem so nice, so normal and then you dig a bit deeper and things start to get just a little strange! So, guess who went straight to the counter to order what no other adult, no matter how much they thought of themselves as gourmands, could bring themselves to do? Yes, my son ordered squid ink ice cream and ate the whole thing. Of course I had a taste, it tasted like, squid ink. Bitter. Bitter without the subtlety of black sesame and because it is such a novely, unfortunately not made with as much finesse. Icy and probably needing seasoning, I would even go as far as adding sea salt and herbs. I think we might be on to something Heston Blumenthal!!

Did I say I love the big bang flavours we get in Australia? Did I say I love

Yubari melon ice cream. MMMMMMM I love rock melon gelati and I love Yubari melon soft serve!!!

rock melon gelati? Actually, I didn’t, but I couldn’t get enough of this magnificent Yubari flavoured soft serve. It was larger and fancier than any of our previouis ice creams and the flavour made me question my allegiances, aaaaaaaaaaah.  Yubari is the Japanese take on rock melon, make it more amazingly perfect and packed full of flavour than any other rock melon on earth and these babies can sell for a record, 2.5 million yen for a pair! (That is a measly AUD 25,000 for 2. Don’t forget to bring a couple over for my get together next week!)

Camembert ice cream, makes complete sense!

Next stop, Camembert ice cream.  Of course.  How does that not make sense?  It makes so much sense that it is inspiration for a couple of great recipes that I am forming for the Summer holiday season. However, this little cone just didn’t have enough punch for me.  A great idea, not such great flavour.  Shame, shame.

Such great ice cream memories for 2012,  with recipes to come!  Please leave me a comment if you like my blog and don’t miss my recipe posts by subscribing or following my adventures!

The Grand Finale!
Banana, Chocolate, Milk, Yubari, Green Tea, and Strawberry.
Thank you Hokkaido 🙂

Full On, Grown Up, Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe

Quite simply, chocolate ice cream

Can anyone actually remember the point in time when they fell in love with chocolate ice cream?  Did it start with scooping your dessert from only  one-third of the tub of Neapolitan?  Or, was it the only flavour you wanted to eat when your Mum bought a mixed gelato from the Mr Whippy van?  Possibly, it was because an older brother or sister seemed to be enjoying their chocolate ice cream waaaay more than you were enjoying the vanilla baby cone that was dripping down your arm, and you screamed until you got the good stuff too!

Whenever it may have been, the love of chocolate ice cream transcends time.  As I  grew through chocolate single cones, chocolate ice cream thick shakes, chocolate ice cream sodas, chocolate on chocolate fudge sundaes, chocolate and lemon gelato, every single brand of chocolate ice cream from the supermarket freezer, and even a chocolate ice cream fondue from Hagen-Daaz;  Movenpick chocolate ice cream stayed the shining beacon amongst them all, creamy and smooth with a wonderfully lingering chocolate taste, there is little around that can compete.  So, when my hubby licked the bowl clean, and gave my full on, grown up, chocolate ice cream, his ‘dark chocolate purist’ blessing, I was pretty pleased!

Full on, grown up, chocolate ice cream sundae

Of course, for my blog it just wasn’t enough to serve it on its own!  I had to ‘Bliss’ it up with warm salted caramel sauce, sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt, served it in a pool of Kahlua and finished with a crisp and fragrant, home-made brandy snap.

Much to my detriment I am sure, I am the kind of cook that has the audacity to take a recipe from Erik Witzgimmin, (the calibre of chef that trained with luminaries such as Paul Bocuse) and just…change it!  I hope you enjoy my chocolate ice cream recipe as much as my hubby does  🙂

3  eggs (XLarge)

1 egg yolk

1 cup full cream milk

1  1/4 cup cream

1  vanilla bean

1/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon liquid glucose

200g  couveture, melted

1 tablespoon Kahlua

Whisk eggs, egg yolk and sugar together.

Deliciously over the top for a very special occassion!

Heat milk and cream with vanilla bean. Take out the vanilla bean pod.

Pour about 1/3 cup of hot mixture into the eggs and sugar while stirring with a whisk.

Pour egg mixture back into the milk and cream, and heat on low flame while stirring constantly until custard coats the back of a spoon.

Stir in melted chocolate, strain into ice cream maker pot.

Sit pot in an ice bath while stirring until custard cools.

Add Kahlua.

Place pot into ice cream maker and churn for approx 35 minutes.

Pour into container and freeze over night.

Beautiful on its own or serve it with a few frozen berries. Enjoy!