Home-made honeycomb is a guilty pleasure that few can resist, writes Tom Kitchin

  • Four
  • Easy
WITH a couple of bank holidays approaching, entertaining, visiting or cooking for friends and family will no doubt be on the cards for many people – along with enjoying some family time. The long weekends call for sweet treats that put a smile on everyone’s face whether or not the sun is shining. I find home-made honeycomb is a surefire hit – with kids and grown-ups. It’s a guilty pleasure few can resist. I’m not sure if it’s the memories of being a kid and breaking into the crunchy toffee or just knowing it’s a truly indulgent treat, but the taste, colour and texture are hard to beat. Honeycomb is also known as hokey pokey – a Cornish term for this golden caramel. For me, the name just seems to sum up the essence of fun. You can enjoy the golden nuggets on their own, smothered in delicious dark chocolate, crumbled into home-made ice cream, or to give a burst of texture to summer desserts. I’d recommend you make up a big batch, and if you don’t use it all yourself, it can make the perfect gift to take when you’re visiting friends or family. Smother the crunchy amber shards in chocolate and they’ll last even longer – up to a month, if you can resist them for that long. The recipe for honeycomb does require a little care and attention. The temptation is to keep stirring or mixing it to stop it burning or crystalising. In fact, the best thing you can do is leave it alone until you see the light golden amber colour begin to appear in the sugar syrup. That’s the sign to give it a little swirl, and then let it heat up again until it is vibrant amber and hardening. Once you master it, it’s very simple and worth it just for the smell that fills your whole house while it’s cooking.

Ingredients

  • For the soufflé:
  • - 50g butter
  • - 50g dark chocolate, grated
  • - 200g blackcurrant purée
  • - 45g caster sugar
  • - 2 egg yolks
  • - 1 egg
  • - 1 tbsp flour
  • - 7 egg whites
  • - 75g granulated sugar
  • - icing sugar for dusting
  • For the honeycomb ice cream:
  • - 5 egg yolks
  • - 130g heather honey
  • - 250ml milk
  • - 250ml whipping cream
  • - 150g honeycomb

Method

To make the honeycomb ice cream
1 Whisk the egg yolks and heather honey in a bowl until pale and slightly thickened. Meanwhile, heat the milk and cream to simmering point and set aside. In a heavy-bottomed pot, warm the beaten eggs and honey over very low heat, stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the hot milk and cream. Cook over a low heat stirring with a wooden spoon until the mix thickens just enough to coat the back of the spoon. Take off the heat.
2 Strain the custard in a large bowl set over iced water. Pour into an ice cream machine and churn. Chop the honeycomb and add it to the ice cream. Churn until just frozen, place into an airtight plastic container and freeze for at least 3 hours before use.
Preparing the moulds
3 Take four coffee-cup-size soufflé dishes (or ramekin dishes) and brush generously with softened butter. Tip grated chocolate into each dish, rolling it around and making sure the inside is completely covered. Leave the dishes to chill in the fridge.

For the soufflé base
In a heavy pan, bring the blackcurrant purée and sugar to the boil. Stir in the egg yolks, egg and flour and bring the mixture back to the boil, stirring constantly until thickened. Remove the pan from the heat and cover with cling film to prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool.

To make the soufflé
1 Pre-heat the oven to 190C/Gas Mark 5. Put the soufflé base mixture, which should weigh about 350g, into a pan and warm it gently over a low heat.
2 Meanwhile whisk the egg whites to firm peaks, then add the granulated sugar and whisk until stiff. Fold the stiff whites and warmed soufflé base together and spoon the mixture into the prepared moulds. Pull a palette knife across the top of each dish to make it perfectly flat. Also run the end of your thumb around the inside edge of each dish as this helps the soufflés to rise evenly and prevents them sticking to the dish.
3 Place the soufflés on a baking tray and cook in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes until they have risen two-thirds in height. Don’t open the oven while baking or the soufflés will collapse.

About The Author

Tom Kitchin

Tom Kitchin is a Scottish chef and owner of restaurant The Kitchin, where he became the youngest winner of a Michelin star. He has previously worked with several Michelin starred chefs including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Koffmann.

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About The Author

Tom Kitchin

Tom Kitchin is a Scottish chef and owner of restaurant The Kitchin, where he became the youngest winner of a Michelin star. He has previously worked with several Michelin starred chefs including Alain Ducasse and Pierre Koffmann.