The Magnificent Ice Cream Van


The magnificent ice cream van is a magical thing, a nomadic shop that springs up just when you need it, poking it's head through sand dunes, parading at funfairs and jaunting round residential street corners, announcing itself with a jolly jingle and colourful outfit, and transforming even the most quiet suburban street into an instant community event.


The call of the ice cream van is a familiar song that will always ring in our ears as a fond memory from our childhoods. Be it classic soft scoop with a Flake 99 or garish wonders like the Twister, Rocket Lolly or Fab, we'd be on our feet and running up the sand or down the street with a handful of change for that special treat. But how did the trusty ice cream van and his man come about and how did they get their ice cream so soft and creamy?


Before families could own their own freezers, the ice cream van was a vital solution to delivering fresh ice cream to your home, but with the introduction of home freezers the ice cream van transformed to sell a variety of novelty ice creams and lollies such as the Zoom, Orbit, Feast and Screwball, with exciting names to capture children's imaginations. In the 1950s the ice cream van had a makeover, attracting customers through it's pretty pastel pallet. Despite it's calls for attention and vivid lolly options, the ice cream that remains a favourite with children and adults alike is the soft scoop in a cone, or Flake 99. This whippy ice cream is achieved by doubling the amount of air in the mixture, an invention made by a chemical research team including a young Margaret Thatcher!


If you can't wait for the ice cream van, here's how to make your own vanilla ice cream:

You will need: 6 eggs, separated 175g caster sugar 2tsp vanilla extract 450ml double cream, whipped until thick

Here's how: Whisk the egg whites quickly until stiff but not dry (you may want to use an electric mixer). Add the sugar, 1tsp at a time, and continue whisking until it's all mixed together and is glossy and stiff.

Whisk the egg yolks quickly in a separate bowl until they are thoroughly blended.

Gently fold everything into the egg white mixture. Place the mixture in a large, shallow freezer-proof container, cover, and freeze for eight hours.

Soften the ice cream before serving by transferring to the freezer for 10 minutes.


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