Ice cream gone wild

by Avery McGuire

Here at the lab where a myriad of cultures merge, each one of us bring a bit of our own culinary heritage that we can’t shake loose. Whether it is a belief about the way cheese should be cut, the idea of what ingredients do and do not pair well together, or the love for an iconic dish from home, within each of us is a set of foodways that have been ingrained at a very young age. We each light up with  fond memories and joy when we think of a comforting dish from home. It is these dishes that we are always excited to share with the others to,  in a sense, welcome them into our home.

For those of us from North America, last summer we realised that our love of the iconic ice cream sandwich has not yet translated across the Atlantic. When I presented that first ice cream sandwich of the summer to the team, half of us (those from the US and Canada) were filled with childlike glee as memories flooded our minds from summers spent chasing down the ice cream truck, being handed that cold treat in exchange for a few hard-earned coins, peeling back the wrapper and biting thought the brownie-like cookie to reach the sweet vanilla ice cream, while the others marveled at the beauty and surprising brilliance of the novel treat.

Things are rarely ‘normal’ here at Nordic Food Lab, so the classic ice cream sandwich we know and love had to get a little wild.

Wild edible plants are everywhere, yet many people walk through life not noticing their abundance. As a way to familiarize Danes (or any passer-by) with the great diversity of wild vegetation growing right here in the city, I spent most of the warm summer days picking wild plants such as beach roses (Rosa rugosa), pineapple weed (Matricaria discoidea), elderflowers (Sambucus spp.) and bullace (Prunus domestica sbsp. insitita), and turning them into delicious ice creams. Each ice cream flavour was sandwiched between a complementary cookie, packaged in a brown bag, and served around Copenhagen from our Nordic Food Lab bicycle.

Below you will find some recipes to inspire you to look to the edible plants growing wild in your neighborhood and think of them as ingredients rather than just a garnish, or even worse, a weed. 

Elderflower and Lemon Ice Cream with Sugar Cookies

Avery on her ice-cream bike

Ice Cream

600g milk
400g cream
120g sugar
300g egg yolks
20g glucose
200g elderflowers on the stem that have been soaked in lemon, sugar and water (these were left over from making the elderflower wine for our elder vinegar)
Heat milk and cream in a saucepan until just below a boil (about 85°C). In a separate bowl whisk together the sugar, egg yolks and glucose until pale and sugar has dissolved. Add warm milk/cream mixture one spoonful at a time to egg mixture, whisking continuously. Return custard mix to stovetop and heat gently until it reaches 80˚C and thickens to coat the back of a spoon. Allow to cool in Pacoject container. Add elderflowers and allow to infuse overnight in refrigerator. Freeze with elderflowers in, and spin in pacojet when ready to serve.

67g granulated sugar
155g all-purpose flour
80g butter (cut into cubes)
4g salt
1-2 egg yolks
Mix together the sugar, flour, salt and butter with hands until it becomes a breadcrumb-like texture. Add a yolk or two to moisten. Form into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for 30 mins. Roll out dough, cut into circles, and bake at 160˚C for 10 minutes.

Dulse Ice Cream with Molasses Cookies

Ice Cream

600g milk
30g dulse
100g cream
89g trimoline
35g sugar
24g Thick and Easy, or 4 g of Iota (a hydrocolloid isolated from carrageen algae, also known as Irish Moss or Chrondus crispus)
Infuse dulse in milk at 50 for 1 hours. Either strain dulse or puree it and add it back to the milk. Gently warm the cream to dissolve sugar and trimoline (if using iota, add it and bring mixture up to 70˚C). When cool combine all ingredients and pour into pacojet container. Freeze. Pacojet.

145g all-purpose flour
4g baking soda
4g salt
200g brown sugar
110g butter
1 egg
85g black bakery syrup, or molasses
Whisk together dry ingredients. In a separate bowl cream together butter and sugar, then add egg and molasses. Mix dry ingredients into the wet. Scoop cookies onto a baking sheet and bake at 175°C for 8-12 minutes.

Pineapple weed Ice Cream with Oatmeal Cookies

Ice Cream

600g milk
400g cream
120g sugar
20g glucose
~2.5L blanched pineapple weed
citric acid to taste
Infuse blanched pineapple weed in milk overnight. Strain (but save plants). Warm milk, cream and trimoline just below boiling (about 85°C). Whisk together sugar and egg yolks. Slowly add warm milk and cream mixture. Return to pot and bring up to 82°C. Cool. Add pineappleweed back to mix and blend in a thermomix or high-powered blender. Pour into pacojet container. Freeze. Pacojet when ready to serve.

125g all-purpose flour
90g oats
150g sugar
30g brown sugar
75g hazelnut or almond meal
4g baking soda
57g butter
2 tbs honey
3 tbs water
Mix together dry ingredients. In a small saucepan gently heat together butter, honey, and water. Pour over dry mixture. Scoop dough onto cookie sheet and bake at 162˚C for 8 minutes.

(the lighter ones are the elderflower)

Ice Cream

300ml double cream
150ml milk
6 egg yolks
60 grams sugar
300ml bullace syrup*
Heat milk and cream to just below a boil (about 85°C). Meanwhile whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the yolks turn a pale yellow and the sugar has dissolved. Slowly add (one spoonful at a time) the hot cream and milk to the egg yolks while whisking continuously. Return mixture to the pot and heat over a water bath until it reaches 78˚C. Strain mix through a mesh sieve, cool and then add syrup. Churn in ice cream maker.
*bullace syrup: mix equal parts bullace fruits, sugar, and water in a pot and simmer for 40 minutes. Actively pass through a fine sieve or cheesecloth.


125g almond butter
45g milk
25g brown sugar
35g all-purpose flour
25g oats
4g baking soda
pinch salt
Whisk together the nut butter, milk, and sugar. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Add dry to wet. Mix until well combined. Scoop onto baking sheet and bake at 162˚C for 8 minutes.

Wild ice cream season is starting again – and we’re ready for it.

ed. – We’re very proud that Avery is pursuing her passion for wild plants, now working as a full-time forager with Forager Ltd. In the UK.

Elderflower and Lemon Ice Cream with Sugar Cookies
Dulse Ice Cream with Molasses Cookies
Pineapple weed Ice Cream with Oatmeal Cookies
Bullace Ice Cream with Almond Butter Cookie