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Cucumber ice cream (Victorian fashion) – ICE CREAM NATION

Cucumber – as a candy ice cream?! Sure, certainly! Come and be a part of me on a tour again to Victorian occasions, and meet the extraordinary Agnes Marshall – the Queen of Victorian ices! 


Cucumber ice cream – you don’t need to be British to take pleasure in this gem from the Victorian ages.

Victorian ice lotions

Victorian Lady Vintage Collage

– Cucumber ice cream? OH, how might my day presumably be any higher?

Beneath Queen Victoria’s reign (1837–1901) Britain was one of many world’s strongest and rich empires, underpinned by the industrialisation and huge imperial holdings. It was additionally a class-based society, so the overwhelming majority of individuals might solely dream about luxurious desserts like our Cucumber ice cream.

Nevertheless, due to the technological advances and a rich and rising center class tended to by business-minded meals entrepreneurs just like the formidable Agnes Marshall, this was additionally the time when ice lotions began to turn out to be extra available in broader segments of society.

Due to the spectacular moulds so widespread on the time, the ice lotions had been usually introduced  in a myriad of extravagant and ornamental shapes on the fancy dinner tables.

Ice lotions didn’t solely function desserts, and our cucumber recipe might effectively have served as a refreshing palate-cleanser between dishes (I guarantee you that it really works surprisingly effectively by itself too, although)!

Synthetic meals colouring could also be frowned upon by many at the moment, however within the Victorian days this was one thing new and extremely popular. Cucumbers could also be naturally inexperienced however that doesn’t translate into any inexperienced ice cream – at the very least not with out added colouring.

Agnes Marshall – The Queen of (Victorian) Ices

Agnes Bertha Marshall (1855 – 1905): grasp chef, entrepreneur, inventor and the undisputed Queen of Victorian Ices

Agnes Bertha Marshall, the period’s undisputed Queen of Ices, was by most requirements a fairly outstanding particular person.

She ran a “culinary enterprise empire” which might have been spectacular even in at the moment’s period of marketing-minded celeb cooks.

Agnes was a educated grasp chef in her personal proper, but additionally operated a famend cooking college, and an employment company for cooks. She additionally bought meals stuff, kitchen tools and equipment – together with these of her personal design, comparable to her well-known, patented ice cream machine! Realising the significance of selling, she lectured extensive and much, revealed a weekly paper and 4 prepare dinner books. The primary one, revealed in 1885, was her soon-to-be legendary “The Ebook of Ices”.

The Ebook of Ices is, to my information, out there in at the very least two trendy reprints – each are good, and the recipes nonetheless positively price it. One reprint  is titled Ices and Ice Lotions , but when you may get your palms on the charming re-print by the Metropolitan Museum of Arts, titled “Ices Plain & Fancy”, that one has an important introduction to the world of Victorian ice lotions and culinary habits and traits generally, and to Agnes Marshall particularly.

Agnes mastered all of the “normal” ice cream recipes but additionally had a knack for inventing fairly outlandish creations. Crème glacée au Foie Gras à la Caneton – based mostly on goose liver, cayenne, jelly and frozen eggs, all ideally moulded within the form of a duck!) Or what about fish curry ice cream? She additionally foresaw what at the moment has turn out to be liquid nitrogene-ice cream making, and was the primary to publish a recipe for ice cream cones – about twenty years earlier than their supposed-first invention on the 1904 World’s Truthful in Missouri, USA.

Following an earlier horse driving accident, Agnes died in 1905, on the age of 49. Regardless of all her accomplishments, the writers of culinary historical past largely handed her over and he or she quickly grew to become fairly forgotten. Fortunately, Agnes has been “re-discovered” lately, returning to take her rightful place within the pantheon of ice cream pioneers.


The Cucumber recipe

The recipe is definitely quite simple. All we’ll want is a few cooked and puréed cucumber, sugar, ginger brandy (or ginger wine), lemon juice, and sweetened cream or a custard. And a few high quality meals colouring to make sure a pleasant, cucumber-green color!

My perfect home-made Ginger brandy!


Ginger brandy, as soon as believed to be each an aphrodisiac and good for digestion, could also be a bit troublesome to return by today: I made my very own, utilizing a DIY recipe from Critical Eats:


DIY Ginger brandy

Briefly abstract: break up a vanilla been, peel and reduce in skinny slices about 60 gram ginger root, and boil along with 360 ml (1.5 cup) water and 240 ml (1 cup) sugar. Cut back the warmth and let simmer for about 20 minutes till the ginger has turn out to be smooth. Let the syrup quiet down. Zest an orange and blend the peel with the syrup and 360 ml (1.5 cup) brandy. Put in a glass container (like, a bottle), shake and seal. After sooner or later, take away the vanilla bean, pressure the remainder by means of a espresso filter sooner or later after that, and let sit for one more day to “let the flavours mellow”. Retailer as any liqueur; ought to maintain for a yr, however discard if it develops “off flavours or a cloudy look”.


If you wish to see the ice cream made in true Victorian fashion, do take a look at this humorous clip on Youtube from Audley Finish Home and Backyard.

Under, I’ll make it with trendy tools and I like to recommend that you just do the identical (making a purée of the cooked cucumbers is a lot simpler with an immersion blender than “pounding” the cucumber!). Let me stress, although, that each one the core elements of Agnes Marshall’s recipe nonetheless works remarkably effectively, as does the nice majority of her good and sound recommendation on ice cream-making!


Mrs Crocombe (performed by Kathy Hipperson) making cucumber ice cream in English Heritage’s in style video. Whereas the recipe used there’s credited to Mrs Crocombe, it may be discovered amongst Agnes Marshall’s recipes.

Begin with the cucumber …

Over-cautious? Sure, in all probability! At this time’s moderately seedless cucumbers would in all probability not want something greater than exterior peeling.


Peel the cucumber and take away any seeds.


Slice the cucumber in items, put them in a saucepan along with the sugar and the water. Prepare dinner till tender.

Tender cucumber in easy sugar syrup.

As soon as the cucumber is cooked, a contemporary particular person would let it quiet down after which purée all of it with an immersion blender or related.

Due to my trusty immersion blender, I can take a extra trendy route than the recipe’s prescribed “pounding” of the cucumber.

As soon as the cucumber has been changed into purée, add the ginger brandy, the lemon juice … and a few good, inexperienced meals colouring!


Should you determine to color your ice cream, go for a inexperienced shade that you just like (notice that the ultimate color might find yourself lighter than you anticipated, although)


Subsequent, put together the sweetened cream

Sweetened cream is actually simply that: cream sweetened with sugar. When frozen, Agnes referred to as it “plain cream ice” or “crème glacée”, and it serves as one in every of her base recipes – just about a recipe that would slot in very effectively within the nice Philadelphia ice cream custom of raw bases, in different phrases.

Nevertheless, for those who abhor Philly-style ice lotions and want to stick with cooked, custard based mostly ones as a substitute – you’ll be able to! Agnes labored with a number of base recipes, and you may actually (along with her blessing) add our particular cucumber purée additionally to a custard base. Sieve the purée first for those who’re anxious about strong left-overs.


Bringing all of it collectively

Now it’s time to mix our sweetened cream with the cucumber-ginger brandy & lemon juice purée. Whisk, and the bottom is prepared for churning.

We might not have entry to Agnes Marshall’s patented ice cream machine, however any trendy period machine ought to work completely!



Cucumber Ice Cream – standing the check of time


Once I first heard about Cucumber ice cream, I believed it to be merely an eccentric oddity. Think about the shock when each myself and my delighted testers realised that this really was a really nice and clearly out of the peculiar ice cream. And while the ginger brandy and the lemon juice add to the general impression, it does include a delicate however clear core flavour of cucumber.

If you wish to problem your folks and family members, this ice cream can also be an ideal one for “guess the flavour” – troublesome to pinpoint till somebody comes up with the suitable reply! And that is way more than a trustworthy reproduction of “peculiar boring cucumber”. Personally, I related the general flavour extra with some form of undiscovered “wild cucumber” – candy and stuffed with sparkly vitality: an ideal summer season ice cream.

As famous, the general texture leans in direction of sevenly grainy” which is kind of typical for a lot of Philadelphia-style ice lotions. Nonetheless, it retains surprisingly effectively within the freezer though (once more, like Philly ice lotions generally) I’d advocate to take pleasure in it sooner moderately than later.

I don’t assume I’ve ever tried something fairly prefer it, so all you jaded ice cream makers who really feel that you just’ve “had all of them” ought to positively give it a go! 


Cucumber ice cream (Victorian fashion)



  • 1 giant cucumber
  • about 115 ml (4 ounces/ ½ US cup) sugar
  • about 275 ml (1/2 pint / 1⅕ US cup) water
  • A “wine glass” Ginger brandy (optionally available; about 3-4 tablespoons ought to in all probability do high quality)
  • Juice of two lemons
  • a bit inexperienced meals colouring (optionally available however an integral a part of the unique recipe)
  • about 475 ml (1 UK pint or about 2 US cups) sweetened cream (= add about 115 gram/ ½ cup sugar to the cream)
  1. Peel and take away any seed from the cucumber. Slice in items and put in a saucepan.
  2. Combine within the water and the sugar and prepare dinner the cucumber till tender.
  3. Whereas the cucumber nonetheless is heat, purée it (the Victorians would have pounded the cucumber to melt it a bit, then pushed it by means of a sieve: a handheld blender will do completely, though you continue to might use a sieve for a cucumber-solids free base).
  4. Add the ginger brandy, the lemon juice and the inexperienced meals colouring. Sieve the purée-part of the bottom (see above).
  5. Add the sweetened cream and blend effectively.
  6. Freeze as per your liking (as normal, it’s endorsed to let the bottom quiet down and ideally chill within the fridge for a number of hours earlier than churning in your ice cream machine. The identical preparations are advisable earlier than still-freezing the bottom for those who’re utilizing your kitchen freezer as a substitute of an ice cream machine).

PS. Should you choose, you would additionally add the completed particular cucumber purée to a custard ice cream base of your liking (that is even set out as an choice in Agnes Marshall’s personal recipe)




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