Vanilla ice-cream

Vanilla ice-cream

PS Desserts
Mark Roper

Nearly all of my favourite desserts involve an ice-cream or sorbet or both. Nothing beats the texture of a freshly churned silky ice-cream as an accompaniment to either fresh fruit, such as berries, or poached fruit. And, of course, ice-cream with a hot dessert like a crumble is divine. An ice-cream machine is a great investment and worth its benchspace. Don’t be intimidated by making your own ice-cream. It is really as easy as making a Crème anglaise, infusing it with whatever you desire, then churning it. If time is an issue, you can always make the anglaise the day before and churn it when you’re ready.


Quantity Ingredient
500ml milk
500m thickened cream, (35% milk fat)
2 vanilla beans, halved and seeds scraped
200g caster sugar
200g egg yolk, (about 10)


  1. Making the crème anglaise

    Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the vanilla bean and seeds.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar into the egg yolk until pale and thick (see notes).
  3. Pour one-third of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This “tempers” or stabilises the egg yolk. If you add all the hot liquid at once, the yolks could “shock” and curdle.
  4. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pan and place over medium heat. Stir constantly but gently and slowly with a wooden spoon, using a figure-eight movement until the mixture begins to thicken and the bubbles disappear.
  5. The crème anglaise is ready when, if you lift the wooden spoon from the mixture and draw a line with your finger across the back of it, the line remains distinct without liquid running into it for several seconds. If you are unsure, use a thermometer and when the temperature reaches 80ºC, it’s ready.
  6. Pour the crème anglaise into a bowl and place it over a larger bowl half-filled with iced water to arrest the cooking. You will notice a slightly “scrambled” appearance on the base of the pan. This indicates the crème anglaise is cooked properly. Stir the anglaise regularly as it cools.
  7. Once cooled, strain through a sieve. It is ready to serve or use as directed in the recipe.
  8. Chill the mixture until ready to churn
  9. Churning the ice-cream

    Churn the mixture in an ice-cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If not serving immediately, store in the freezer. Makes 1.5 litres.


  • Egg yolks “burn” if left in contact with sugar. The burning causes little nodules that are impossible to get rid of and will spoil the result, so don’t be tempted to add the sugar to the yolk until the milk mixture is hot and ready to go. And make sure you whisk them together immediately.

    You can refrigerate the crème anglaise at this stage for up to 3–4 days and churn when you’re ready.

    Always churn ice-cream no more than several hours before you’re ready to serve, if possible. If it becomes too firm, place in the fridge to soften a little just before serving.

    Take care not to over-churn the ice-cream or it will become buttery and spoil the texture.
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