If you think that something is bang on trend, so 'right now', clamoured for by hipsters everywhere, you can be sure that Fanny Cradock got there first. She wasn't just the champion, riding the crest of a wave of the latest craze, she started the fads. Others followed. If you wanted to know what was hip and happening, you looked to see what Fanny was making. Others copied. She was in vogue, à la mode, the latest thing. Others tried. So, next time you roll your eyes thinking we've hit peak Avocado, Fanny was banging on about them before trending was even, well, a trend.
She snaffled many of her best Avocado recipes from Madame Annette, who was Mr. W. Somerset Maugham's French cook. We've met her before. Avocados were the bane of her life. Dear old 'Meestair Moggum' (as she called him) apparently had the only fruiting, outside Avocado tree in Europe, so naturally they had to appear on many, many menus. Fanny seemingly 'clucked her tongue' in the deepest of sympathy but still managed to get her hooks on several of her special recipes. She made a mean Avocado mousse by all accounts. She was the only person Fanny knew who ever managed to successfully make an edible Avocado Omelette. However it was her Ice Cream which Fanny coveted most.
Yes, Avocado Ice Cream. It's so 'now' it's no surprise to discover it's actually so 'retro'. I spotted a recipe for it in the new, and veggie-tastic, Veggie Desserts book I bought last week. We are so fortunate that Fanny was able to prise the recipe from the skilled hands of Madame Annette. To stop her Avocados from discolouring, Fanny uses only the very best silver cutlery, which my household budget purse will not stretch to. I shall try and invest in a silver Avocado knife for future recipes. Don't roll your eyes at me. The flesh is emulsified or sieved. Whizzed up for me. Fanny then adds an egg yolk and whizzes again, before scooping it all into a freshly made sugar syrup and heating gently for five minutes, stirring all the time. At this stage it looks a lot like very mushy peas, but I am not put off. And neither should you be.
Once cold, the jolly green mixture should be transferred to the freezer compartment, frozen until the outer edges are set but it's still a little loose in the middle. A bit like myself. Mine seems exactly like that after a few hours. Fanny whips it up 'with beaters' and adds stiffly beaten double cream in big dollops, whipping all the time until it's all combined. Then simply refreezes it. Fanny, unusually, does not include a photograph of the finished ice cream as she notes that 'one ice cream looks very much like another' once it's placed in a glass or a coupe. She says it did not justify having a picture of it. More likely she forgot. More likely still a poor assistant forgot to take a snap. More likely Fanny would not let them forget again. Ever.
I normally have Fanny's prodigious presentation to guide me. Inspire me. Baffle me. Not today. So I summon up all my innermost Fanny Cradock enthusiasm, creativity and insight. Grabbing the piping bag and nozzle which are never far from my hand, I set to work filling the empty Avocado shells ready for the freezer. The resulting ice cream is stunning. Such a smooth texture, just like it had been dreamily churned, defiantly and dazzlingly still tasting of avocado, dramatically green, but delicately sweet and deliciously creamy too. Unlike Madame Annette, I fear I will never tire of this recipe, whether Avocados are in fashion, a passing fad or long forgotten.