Baked Ice Cream

Thomas Jefferson was not the first to bring ice cream to America, but his kitchen was doing fascinating things with it. Samuel Leatham Mitchell, after dinner at the White House in 1803, wrote, Among other things, ice creams were produced in the form of balls of frozen material, enclosed in covers of warm pastry, exhibiting a curious contrast, as if the ice had just been taken from the oven.’ And this happened some sixty-four years before Seward’s Folly, the sale of Alaska to the United States by Czar Alexander II, which was celebrated in New York by Delmonico’s chef in the ‘invention’ of the Baked Alaska. Intriguing. Another twist in the ‘hot ice cream’ story. Irresistible. I had to try it. It works, if you use a very fine ice cream, made with the purest ingredients.


  • 500 mls (18 oz) best ice cream – see next recipe
  • 12 or 18 sheets filo pastry, about 15×15 cm
  • melted butter
  • light muscovado sugar
  • golden icing sugar
  • beaten free-range egg yolk and milk glaze


Scoop the ice cream into four or six balls or quenelles, and freeze until hard. Take three sheets of filo for each ice cream, and layer them on top of each other, brushing each layer with butter and sprinkling with the muscovado sugar. Put the ice cream in the centre and enclose in the pastry, as either an envelope or a bundle, sealing the edges by brushing with the egg glaze. Brush more over the exterior, and bake in a very hot oven, 220-250½C/450-500½F/ gas mark 7-9 for about 6 to 8 minutes, keeping as close an eye as possible on proceedings. Serve immediately, dusted with icing sugar. Very pretty on glass or dark plates.