Mulled quince, mandarin, crème fraîche ice cream, eggnog mousse

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This playful Christmas dessert comes from the winner of our 2023 Best Christmas Dessert Competition winner, George Barson. Quince is mulled in red wine and spices, then topped with a charred mandarin gel, a stunning crème fraîche ice cream, and a light eggnog mousse

First published in 2023
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Burnt mandarin gel

  • 2 handfuls of spruce tips
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 12 mandarins, sliced in half
  • 1g of citric acid
  • 0.5g of malic acid
  • 65g of golden caster sugar
  • 7g of gellan gum type F

Crème fraîche ice cream

  • 250g of caster sugar
  • 100g of glucose
  • 2.5g of Maldon salt
  • 375g of whole milk
  • 7.5g of Stabiliser Stab 2000
  • 40g of lemon juice
  • 450g of crème fraîche

Eggnog mousse

To serve


  • Thermomix
  • Vitamix
  • Espuma gun
  • Barbecue
  • Chinois



To make the ice cream, place the sugar, glucose, salt and milk in a pan and bring to 84ºC. Whisk in the stabiliser 2000 and hold at 84ºC for 4 minutes. Leave to cool 

  • 250g of caster sugar
  • 100g of glucose
  • 2.5g of Maldon salt
  • 375g of whole milk
  • 7.5g of Stabiliser Stab 2000

Whisk in the crème fraîche and the lemon juice, emulsify in a Vitamix, then pass through a chinois. Chill the mixture, then churn in an ice cream maker and place in the freezer


Light a BBQ for cooking the mandarins 


Place the spruce and cinnamon stick straight onto the hot embers of the BBQ. Place the mandarins cut side down and char until dark and caramelised (alternatively, place the mandarins under a hot grill until caramelised, although you won't get quite the same smoked, spiced flavour). Once caramelised, allow the mandarins to cool and then juice. Set the juice aside for making the gel


For the quince, place all ingredients in a large saucepan, cover with a cartouche and cook on a very gentle simmer until the liquid has reduced and thickened and the quince is just tender but not falling apart. Leave to cool and place in the fridge in the syrup


To make the mandarin gel, place 500g of the mandarin juice, acids and sugar in a Thermomix at 85ºC, speed 4. When at temperature, add the gellan f and continue to mix for 3 minutes at speed 8. Tip into a container to chill

Once cold and completely set, re-blitz in the Thermomix until smooth and glossy and place in a squeezy bottle or piping bag

To make the gel without a Thermomix, place the juice, sugar, acids in a pan and bring to 85ºC, whisk in the gellan f, making sure everything is dispersed. Strain, then immediately transfer to a container and chill until set. Once completely cold break up into pieces and blend with a food processor until completely smooth and shiny

  • 1g of citric acid
  • 0.5g of malic acid
  • 65g of golden caster sugar
  • 7g of gellan gum type F

Combine all the ingredients for the eggnog mousse in a Thermomix set to 80ºC. Once at temperature, pass through a chinois, then chill


Once cold, whisk to loosen and place in syphon and charge once, shake a couple of times and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving


To make the mousse without a Thermomix, place the egg yolks and sugars in a bowl and whisk until fully combined. Place all the other ingredients in a pan and bring to 83ºC. Once at temperature pour on top of the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Strain and chill in the fridge. Once cold place, into the syphon gun and charge twice. Shake lightly and place back in the fridge


To plate the dish, place a heaped spoonful of the quince pieces into the bottom of each bowl, also spooning over some of the syrup.

Dot the mandarin gel around the bowl. Add a spoonful of the crème fraiche ice cream. Syphon the eggnog mouse on top of the ice cream until covered. Dust with a tiny bit of ground cinnamon and garnish with sorrel leaves, if you have them

First published in 2023

George Barson is the current head chef of The Beckford Canteen in Bath, where he serves a modern British menu. He was formerly the head chef at Kitty Fisher's in Mayfair and then Wild by Tart.

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