Probably the biggest omission from Niki Segnit’s Flavour Thesaurus, is probably the greatest flavour pairing of them all. Probably.
Sure, she’s got the classics down: rosemary and lamb, tomato and basil, pea and mint, rhubarb and vanilla. And there are novel ones in there too: coconut and anchovy, globe artichoke and oyster, juniper and grapefruit.
But, Niki, HOW COULD YOU OMIT HONEY AND MARMITE? HMMMM?
I know what you’re thinking Marmite haters, and I demand you stop your doubting right now. Because this is a fantastic combination.
When I first starting slathering honey and Marmite on toast, I didn’t especially like either ingredient. But I found the sum of the two to be outstanding and mildly addictive. It’s that whole salt / sweet thing. It’s brilliant. Honest.
I’m pretty sure I’m the first person in the whole world to have put the two together.* But as my dad and at least one of my brothers also (and erroneously) believe they were there first, I’ve long thought that I needed to stake a greater claim to the combination.
So here it is.
Forget Stracciatella. Sod Hokeypokey. Erase any cravings for cookies and cream. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Homite©®℗™℠ ice cream. It’s brown, it’s sweet, it’s savoury, it’s delicious and it’s the future.
This time I’m pretty sure I really am the first. Well, at least there’s no mention of honey and Marmite ice cream on the first 5 pages of Google, so either I’m a genuine pioneer, or other honey and Marmite experimenter’s SEO skills are remarkably bad.
I made three different versions the other day, all custard based. The first was pure Homite; the second a vanilla ice cream with Homite ripple; and the third, a brown bread and honey ice cream … with a thick dousing of Homite sauce.
The full-on Homite is interesting, and it might not be for everyone. But that’s not because of the Marmite flavour; that’s subtle enough. It’s because it’s kinda savoury. It’s ice cream for grown ups, I suppose. If you like malt, or salted caramel popcorn, or bacon and maple syrup, that kind of thing, you should appreciate this.
Everyone should find the second one lovely. Vanilla ice cream (and this particular one is simple and super) goes well with the Homite combination. Hitting a seam of ripple provides a great flavour hit (that people couldn’t guess but did like). And as the ice cream melts, that flavour subtly spreads.
And the third ice cream is a great ice cream in its own right … but is made particularly awesome by the Homite sauce.
Go on, give one a try. They are worth a go on their own, as a collective, with simply toasted brioche, or on top of well nutmegged pain perdu (eggy bread).
*I recognise this may not be true.
This being a flavour combination I’ve been enjoying since my yoof, I reckon my Homite ice creams tenuously qualify for inclusion amongst KaveyEats‘ monthly ice cream feature (the theme for March being childhood flavours). In any case, whether you’re a keen, novice or expert ice cream maker, Kavey does nice round ups of lots of peoples ice cream efforts. So it’s a good source of inspiration. Have a look here.
Homite©®℗™℠ ice cream
(each recipe makes 1 litre)
The original Homite ice cream300ml double cream
4 egg yolks
100g runny honey
Put the cream and milk in a small heavy bottomed pan, bring to the boil and immediately remove from the heat sauce. In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks, honey and marmite together. Then add a small amount of the (still warm) cream and milk and whisk together. Continue to add the cream and milk to the bowl at a slow rate whilst continually whisking. Once you’ve added it all, you’re ¾ of the way to making your custard. Now all you need to do is add all the liquid into the same saucepan you started with, place it over a gentle heat and stir until the custard is thick enough to cover the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve into a measuring jug or anything, really.
Let the custard cool.
When at room temperature (or below), pour the custard into an ice cream mixer and follow the usual instructions. Decant and whack in the freezer until you need it.
Vanilla ice cream with Homite ripple
for the custard300ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
80g caster sugar
4 medium egg yolks for the ripple (both the honey and marmite amounts could be increased up to double the amounts set down here, if you wish) 50g runny honey 35g marmite
Bring the cream and milk to the boil and remove from the heat. Scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod into the hot milk and add the pod. Let the flavours infuse for 30 minutes.
Measure out the honey and marmite and mix together with a spoon.
Pass the liquid through a sieve (I find that vanilla pods always deposit little brown stringy bits), then heat it up again, this time just on a gentle heat for a minute or so. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a mixing bowl. Gradually pour the warm cream and milk over this, whisking continuously (as above). Return to the heat to thicken (again, as above) and pass through a sieve to remove any lumps.
Allow to cool and then pour into your ice cream maker. When that’s done its business, decant into a 1 litre container, layering the ice cream with drippings of Homite. Look to do about 3-4 layers of ice cream in a cylinder tub. Drizzle any remaining bits on the top (you could double the honey and Marmite amounts I’ve suggested if you’re feeling brave), then get a chopstick or similar instrument and draw it through the soft ice cream a few times before putting in the freezer to fully chill.
Honey and brown bread ice cream, with Homite saucec. 180g wholemeal brown bread, crumbed
300ml double cream
4 egg yolks
150g runny honey
175g wholemeal bread crumbs
Marmite ripple (roughly 60/40 honey to Marmite)
Spread your brown bread crumbs over a baking tray or ceramic dish. Toast in an oven at around 150C with the tiniest slather of butter for about 15-20 minutes, until the crumbs are golden and crisp. Give the mix a stir every five minutes to ensure an even crisping and to avoid burning.
Re-blitz the crumbs so they are nice and fine. They should now weigh about 80g in total.
Heat the milk and cream as before. Whisk the honey and egg yolks together. Add the warm milk and cream to the eggs, whisk, reheat and thicken, pass through a sieve and cool. Just before pouring into your ice cream maker, fold in the bread crumbs and then let the machine do its work. Serve with a liberal dollop of Homite – a heaped tablespoon of honey mixed with a tablespoon of Marmite should do the trick for about four people.