Ice-cream in an English freezing pail

Yesterday I shared a little story about the intrepid traveller Fanny Parks… here’s something I wrote last year about her recipe for ice-cream:

I recently came across an old recipe from the 1920’s or 30’s, pre-domestic refrigeration, when people could make ice-cream using a freezing pail. I guessed what a freezing pail was but then discovered an old book, Wanderings of a Pilgrim in Search of the Picturesque, by Fanny Parks who  was a Welsh travel writer; she was born in 1794 in Conwy and kept detailed diaries about her time in India with her husband.

This is what Mrs Parks wrote about freezing pails:

To freeze ice-cream in an English freezing pail, enough for a large party 

The freezing pail should always be of pewter – those from England are the best. The natives make them of a composition that answers well, but it is necessary to be careful in this respect, lest having a portion of lead in them, the ice should be rendered poisonous from the effect of the lime-juice.
The lid of the freezing pail ought to be made with a catch to prevent its coming off when the pail is tuned round by hand in the bucket of ice. The freezing pail should be of pewter because it prevents the contents of the vessel from congealing too quickly, and there is time to mix them thoroughly; for on this, in a great measure, deepens the excellence of the ice; if it be made of tin, the congelation is too rapid, and the materials have not time enough to allow of their being well mixed.

I don’t think I’ve ever come across the word ‘congelation’ before… I wonder when i can use it! Her use of the word ‘natives’ seems offensive to us now, but we can’t go back and change the way people were in the past.

Here is her recipe for strawberry or raspberry ice-cream:

Strawberry or raspberry ice-cream

  • 3 parts cream
  • 1 part fresh milk
  • 5 large tbsp. jam
  • 5 large tbsp. lime juice
  • syrup or melted sugar to taste
  • colouring
  1. beat the cream, milk and jam together then pass through a sieve
  2. mix well
  3. add lime juice and colouring
  4. stir well and pour into the freezing pail which should hold about 2 quarts
  5. take a deep ice basket, lay a bazar blanket inside, place within it a clean dry bucket
  6. put the freezing pot into the bucket and fix the lid securely
  7. open from time to time and stir mixture with a spaddle or bamboo

It is important to mix well,  properly stirred it resembles hard snow, after the fashion of Parisian ice-cream

A bazar blanket as far as I can make out is a thick cotton cloth, and a spaddle or spattle  is a round stick flattened at one end.

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