Vanilla ice cream

Vanilla ice cream

By
From
How to Cook Desserts
Serves
4
Photographer
Peter Cassidy

This classic ice cream is made from crème anglaise. It is the basic method for a whole variety of custard based ice creams as you can see from the numerous variations. Leaving the vanilla pod in the custard while it cools completely is really important to infuse the maximum vanilla flavour into the ice cream itself.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
200ml whole milk
200ml double cream
1 vanilla pod
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
pinch salt

Method

  1. Put the milk and cream into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and add it to the pan. Bring to scalding point, then remove from the heat and set aside for 20 minutes to allow the vanilla flavour to infuse.
  2. Put the yolks in a bowl with the sugar and salt, and mix well. Pour in the cream mixture and stir well. Return the mixture to the rinsed out pan and cook over a low to medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of the wooden spoon; do not allow it to boil.
  3. Strain the custard into a bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the custard. Leave to cool completely.
  4. Churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine, then transfer to a plastic container and put into the freezer until needed. Alternatively, freeze the mixture in a shallow tray. When it is just frozen, cut into chunks and briefly whiz it in a food processor, then immediately return to the freezer. Repeat this process when it has just re-frozen to create a smooth-textured ice cream. After the second whizzing, transfer the ice cream to a plastic container.
  5. Transfer the tub of ice cream from the freezer to the fridge 20–30 minutes before serving to soften slightly before serving, scooped into glass bowls.

Variations

  • To make coffee ice cream, omit the vanilla and add 5 tsp instant coffee granules to the milk and cream before scalding; this gives a good intense flavour. Alternatively, you can also replace some of the liquid measurement with coffee essence or 6 shots of espresso.

    To make cinnamon ice cream, omit the vanilla, break a cinnamon stick into 3 pieces and add to the milk and cream before scalding. Leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes then proceed as for the main recipe.

    To make chocolate malt ice cream, omit the vanilla. Add 100g good quality dark chocolate, cut into pieces, 2 tbsp malt extract and ½ tsp vanilla extract to the milk and cream. Bring to scalding point, stirring to melt the chocolate, then proceed as for the main recipe.

    To make coconut ice cream, use 300ml coconut milk and 100ml double cream or coconut cream. Omit the vanilla and proceed as for the main recipe.

    To make salted caramel ice cream, omit the vanilla and add ¼ tsp Maldon salt flakes to the milk and cream before scalding. Make a dry caramel with the sugar, taking it to a deep golden colour. Slowly and carefully (it will splutter) pour the scalded milk and cream onto the caramel to stop it cooking, and reheat gently to ensure all the caramel is dissolved. Add this to the egg yolks and stir well, then proceed as for the main recipe.

    To make Christmas cake and Madeira ice cream, roughly crumble 200g rich fruit cake into a bowl, pour on 5 tbsp Madeira and leave to soak for 20–30 minutes. Make the ice cream as for the main recipe, omitting the milk and using 600ml double cream, 1 vanilla pod and 5 egg yolks. Once the ice cream is churned until thick, transfer to a bowl and stir in the crumbled fruit cake and any Madeira left in the bowl. Freeze and serve as above.
Tags:
leiths
desserts
baking
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