Recipe: DIY hokey pokey ice cream

DO THE HOKEY POKEY: Home made hokey pokey ice cream is a cinch to make at home.
DO THE HOKEY POKEY: Home made hokey pokey ice cream is a cinch to make at home.

Hokey pokey ice cream has a special place in the hearts of all New Zealanders, and with good reason: the combination of honeycomb chunks stirred through vanilla ice cream is almost irresistible.

Jane Hingston, in her ABC of Kiwi Food, writes that many New Zealanders would remember making hokey pokey in science at school to observe the "spectacular chemical changes when baking soda is mixed with golden syrup and sugar".

She also writes that one theory suggests the name hokey pokey comes from the term "hocus pocus ", in a reference to the magic that happens during the cooking process.

For siblings Michael and Meropi Matsis, who make and sell organic Zany Zeus ice cream, cheese, yoghurt and milk in Lower Hutt, near Wellington, New Zealand, the love of hokey pokey meant there was no question they would include it in their ice cream repertoire.

"It's one of those iconic ice creams," says Michael Matsis. "We couldn't not sell it. If you haven't got hokey pokey (for sale) you're not an ice cream shop."

Although Michael uses commercial churns to make the Zany Zeus ice cream, this simple no-churn recipe is a favourite and is perfect for making at home. The whipped cream, eggs and sugar give the ice cream a soft, mousse-like texture, and it can be eaten straight from the freezer, without being softened.

Although Michael says this recipe is foolproof, he has a few tips to prevent mishaps in the kitchen.

WHIPPING CREAM: Whip until the cream is light and fluffy. If you whip too long the cream will firm too much and start turning into butter. If this happens, don't throw out the cream - put it into a blender on low speed until it actually does turn into butter. Whip a fresh batch of cream for your ice-cream.

MAKING HOKEY POKEY: There's always a risk of getting burnt when working with hot sugar. Use a large, wide-brimmed pan to melt the sugar and syrup so that the mixture doesn't overflow when you add the soda. Always heat the hokey pokey on low so you don't burn the sugar. Be patient.

INGREDIENTS: You'll get the best result with high quality ingredients. Zany Zeus uses their own organic cream, free-range organic eggs and organic sugar.

For the hokey pokey:
4 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp golden syrup
1 tsp baking soda
For the ice cream:
4 egg yolks
1 cup caster sugar
500ml cream (35-38 per cent fat)

1. Make the hokey pokey first. Line a flat baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Place sugar and golden syrup in a large pot over a low heat and stir constantly until the mixture comes to the boil. (A pot with a wide base will help prevent the liquid bubbling up over the edge.)

2. Simmer for five minutes over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn't burn. Remove the pot from the heat and add the baking soda, quickly stirring until the mixture froths. Immediately pour the mixture onto the lined tray and cool. Once the hokey pokey has cooled, break into rough chunks.

3. For the ice cream, beat sugar and egg yolks in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and creamy.

4. In another bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Gently fold sugar and egg yolk mix into the cream then stir through chunks of hokey pokey. Pour into a two-litre plastic container with a tight fitting lid and freeze overnight or until firm.