Hazelnut Cream

This is not a frozen ice-cream but a chilled cream, rather like the Italian “semi-freddo”. The original recipe, which dates from the late eighteenth century, used the cob nuts or filberts specially grown for market in Kent.


  • ½ lb (240 g) hazelnuts
  • ½ cup (120 g) castor sugar
  • tablespoons (30 g) cornflour or arrowroot
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups (7 dl) milk
  • 5 drops vanilla essence
  • cup (1.5 dl) double cream


Shell, skin and chop the hazelnuts finely. Put them in a bowl with the sugar and cornflour or arrowroot and add the well-beaten eggs. Bring the milk to just under boiling point and then stir the hazelnut mixture into it. Stir over a very low heat until the mixture thickens, but do not let it boil again.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla essence. Allow to cool for 20 minutes and then stir in the cream. Pour the mixture into a mould and put in the refrigerator overnight or in the freezer for 1 hour. Turn out to serve.