Sunday, November 15, 2009

Vanilla ice cream

Over the years I have tried many recipes for homemade ice cream, which I have enjoyed making and without exception enjoyed eating.

Anything rich and cold gets my vote. In the last few years, thanks to modern technology, ice cream machines are readily available and have come down in price.

They are not a new invention by any means but I cannot recall anyone in my childhood who owned one. Regarded as a luxury item, they were generally found in hotels and grand houses.

As cooking programmes have taken centre stage on television, most home cooks are now aware of how ice cream machines work. But you don't need a machine to make an excellent quality product. I have never owned one and, with my ghastly gadget track record, it would probably just gather dust at the back of a cupboard.

I have two rules for making ice cream. The first is to have the bowls and the storage container as cold as possible and two trays of ice cubes in the freezer. The second is to enjoy the whole experience. Homemade ice cream is more about technique and less about ingredients, which tend to be few. But, as with most food, the better the ingredients, the better the end result.

Today's recipe is simple and, because there is a little custard power in the mix, the chance of splitting is minimised. I like to use vanilla paste for the "little black seed effect", not to mention the flavour, but vanilla extract or essence is fine.


600ml cream
5 egg yolks
3 Tbsp caster sugar
1 Tbsp custard powder
1 tsp vanilla paste or essence

Method: Place a suitable plastic or polythene container with lid in the freezer. Check that you have ice cubes.

Beat 300ml of the cream until soft peaks form. Do not over-whip.

Set beaten cream aside in the fridge.wPlace ice cubes in a large bowl then add about 300ml of water to make an icy slush.

Pour the remaining cream into a heavy-based pan. Heat slowly and gently.

Whisk together egg yolks, vanilla, custard powder and caster sugar. When cream is almost at boiling point, pour into the egg yolk mixture and whisk thoroughly until blended.

Return the resulting custard to the pan and reheat until the mixture thickens slightly, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat just before boiling point, pour into a clean bowl and sit bowl in the iced water. Stir until custard is cold and smooth.

Add cold custard to the whipped cream and stir gently until completely combined.

Fill chilled container and place in freezer for about two hours. wRemove then beat ice cream to break up any ice crystals.

Cover and refreeze.

Cook's tip: Use hard ice cream if serving with a hot sauce. If serving as an accompaniment, remove from freezer and let it stand for about 20 minutes.


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