I made these for Christmas last year (2017) and they turned out to be pretty tasty but a lot of trouble to make and, as such, didn't look as good as I'd hoped. Still, nice to do something a bit different with my ice cream making for this recipe.
The finished product is a small ball of chocolate, rum and mixed dried fruit ice cream covered in hard chocolate and topped with marshmallow and decorations. The idea is that the rum and mixed fruit bring the flavors of a Christmas pudding then the hard chocolate coating, marshmallow and decorations make it look like a mini pudding with custard and holly on top. I drew inspiration from an old book (Old Fashioned Homemade Icecream by Anne Creber, 1979) for the base and combined with this Mei's Hot Chocolate Ice Cream Bites recipe from Buzzfeed to get the balls with marshmallow.
Yield ~ 36 balls
Prep time ~
- Fruit and rum soak: 1+ hours (I did overnight)
- Base: 20 mins + freezing 6+ hours
- Making balls: 20 mins + freezing 1 hour
- Chocolate coating: 30 mins + cooling 1 hour
- Marshmallow and decorations: 30 mins + freezing 1 hour
Fruit, Nuts & Alcohol
- 100g (3.5oz) blanched almonds
- 60g (2.1oz) raisins
- 60g (2.1oz) currents
- 1/2 cup rum
Note: Rather than buying boxes of each of the ingredients which would have resulted in a lot of left overs, I found a box of 'Mixed Fruit' which had sultanas, raisins, currants, mixed peel and glace cherries which worked just fine.
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1 can (395g/14oz) sweetened condensed milk
- 1/3 cup sifted cocoa powder
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp mixed spice
- Fruit, nuts and alcohol (from above)
- 300g (10oz) dark chocolate
Note: I found the ice cream balls and melted chocolate really difficult to work with and there wasn't enough to cover all the balls so I ended up getting some chocolate ice magic for the second half which worked much better but doesn't taste as good
- 1/2 cup marshmallows
- 1/2 tbs butter
- Something red and green for holly and berries - I used red mini m&ms and spearmint jube lollies
Note: The melted marshmallow was really difficult to work with so I ended up using 2-3 times the amount listed above. I suggest you have extra on hand incase you find yourself in the same position (butter too).
Fruit, Nuts & Alcohol
- Put fruit and nuts in 1/2 cup of rum making sure as the rum covers as much as possible and leave to soak for 1+ hours
- Whip 2 cups of cream until soft peaks form
- Add spices and cocoa (1/3 cup) and fold through
- Add soaked fruit and nuts and any un-soaked up rum and fold through
- Transfer to loaf pan and cover with greaseproof/wax/baking paper to prevent ice crystals forming on the surface
- Put in the freezer for 6+ hours
- Remove base from the freezer and using a melon baller, trigger action ice cream scoop or table spoon, scoop out balls of the ice cream and place on a parchment covered sheet pan (baking sheet/tray) then return to freezer for 1 hour or until firm. You'll need to work quickly so the balls don't melt too much. If you can get a helper to work with you that will make things faster and you can try putting ice packs under your sheet pan to keep the temperature of everything down.
- Melt 300g (10oz) chocolate in a double boiler
- Remove ice cream balls from the freezer and dip/roll each ball through the melted chocolate until coated then place back on the tray. You can use two forks to handle the balls.
- Return tray to the freezer for 1 hour or until chocolate is set and balls are firm
Note: I found the melted chocolate difficult to work with as the balls were melting out of shape and the chocolate coating too thickly so I was only able to do about half. For the second half I used chocolate 'Ice Magic' which is liquid at room temperature, a thinner consistency than the melted chocolate and sets quickly on contact with the ice cream. This was much easier to work with but doesn't taste quite as good as the real chocolate.
- Prepare your holly and berry decorations
- Melt 1/2 cup marshmallows in the microwave with 1/2 tbs butter and stir to combine
- Remove balls from freezer
- Dip/drag a ball through the marshmallow, return to the tray and place your decorations on top before the marshmallow sets. Repeat and work quickly until all the balls are done then return tray to the freezer until balls are ready to serve.
Don't have an ice cream machine or looking to upgrade?
The two ice cream makers I recommend are the Cuisinart ICE-70 and the Breville BCI600 XL. Click the images below to read more about those two machines or check out my complete guide to ice cream makers to see all the options and read the pros and cons of each.
- As I've noted throughout, I found the ice cream balls difficult to work with as they kept melting out of shape, particularly when in contact with the hot melted chocolate in the coating stage. Keep in mind that its summer here in Australia at Christmas time so that didn't help. I'd suggest working in the coldest room you can, working with an assistant if possible to get through the balls quicker and utilising ice packs underneath your sheet pan to keep that as cold as possible as well
- The melted marshmallows are also very difficult to work with and you'll need to work doubly quickly as it gets very stringy (sticking to everything like bubble gum) as it starts to re-set. I'd suggest doing your balls in small batches and working with an assistant to make this work better. If you'd prefer an easier option then you might choose to do away with the marshmallows and use melted white chocolate instead to simulate the custard