We gave this a go on Burns Night and it went crazy. Naturally it went on the menu, but after a few weeks we had to take it off again. Sounds strange, but we couldn’t keep up with the volume: when you have 5 or 6 in the fryer, the temperature drops, as does the standard of the batter. This makes far more oat crunch than you need, so you can either halve the quantities, freeze the dough in sausage-like tubes for later use, or have them with cheese – they’re great as an alternative to crackers.
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
oil, for deep-frying
1 bottle of ice-cold beer
200g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
4 chocolate bars (I use Mars bars)
For the malt ice cream
500ml double cream
4 tablespoons malt extract
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
190g caster sugar
10 egg yolks
For the oat crunch
150g plain flour
150g rolled oats (porridge oats are fine)
150g unsalted butter
25g caster sugar
You will also need a deep-fat fryer
To make the ice cream, bring the cream, milk, malt extract and vanilla to the boil in a large saucepan. Meanwhile, put the sugar and egg yolks in a bowl and whisk very well. (Sugar absorbs moisture, and if you don’t mix straight away you will have pieces of dried egg yolk where all the moisture has been removed by the sugar, so beware.) Once the milk and cream comes to the boil, pour half on to the yolk mix and whisk together. Pour this back into the remaining milk and cream in the pan and heat gently until thickened. In the kitchen we use a thermometer to check when it’s ready – 84°C is the temperature we take it to (any higher and the egg will scramble, leaving your ice cream lumpy) – but if you don’t have one, cook until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon and stays there without running off straight away. Strain the mixture, transfer to another bowl to stop it cooking, then cool and churn in an ice cream machine. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, freeze the mix in four batches and, once frozen, blend in a food processor. Return to the freezer after blending. (Alternatively, you could make a plain vanilla base and just before churning add the malt extract – this saves you making multiple ice creams. If you already have plain vanilla ice cream, you can drizzle the extract over to get the flavour too.)
To make the oat crunch, put the flour, oats, butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and mix in a food mixer with a paddle attachment on low speed, or with an electric hand mixer. Put the milk and honey into a small saucepan and heat gently until the honey melts and it becomes one liquid. Once the butter has been rubbed into the flour, oats and sugar, pour in the milk and honey. As soon as it has combined, stop mixing. Make the mixture into two long sausage shapes, then wrap them in clingfilm and roll them so they become tight. Chill them in the fridge for 2 hours – they are then ready to cut and cook.
Preheat your oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Unwrap the oat sausages and use a sharp knife to cut them into slices about 7mm thick (a little either way won’t matter too much). Place them evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 7–10 minutes, or until they have a nice golden colour. Set aside to cool. (These can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container.)
When ready to serve, heat the oil to 180°C in your deep-fat fryer. Slowly whisk the beer into the flour to make a smooth batter with the consistency of thick custard. Remove the wrappers from the chocolate bars, and dust each one with flour. Coat with the batter and carefully drop into the fryer. Cook for about 3 minutes, or until the batter is crispy.
Drain on kitchen paper, and serve in a bowl with a good scoop of malt ice cream and a couple of oat crunch biscuits crumbled over.
Duck & Waffle by Dan Doherty is available here.