22 July 2006

Vanilla ice cream

Even though I am partial to a hot cup of tea or some extra-spicy food when temperatures soar, one of my favourite ways to handle the heat (or cold or rain or fog or meteorites or ...) is to reach for a scoop or two of ice cream.

I knew I'd be making vanilla ice cream as part of the vanilla series, but with so many variants out there, which one to pick was the bigger question.

I narrowed it down slightly to a custard-based dessert. To me, vanilla ice cream brine made without a few cooked egg yolks always seems lacking.

Unfortunately, this didn't help me narrow things down enough. A quick search for a French vanilla ice cream recipe rewarded me with 27,500 hits. If I made one batch a day (as much as I'd love to) it would take more than 76 years to try them all...I'm a bit too impatient to do that.

Reviewing Kitchen Sense a few weeks ago reminded me that I don't necessarily have to turn to a specialized tome to create great food. So I did what came naturally and reached for my favourite general-purpose cookery book, Nigella Lawson's How To Eat. As always, Nigella didn't disappoint, placing her vanilla ice cream recipe right after a couple of custard recipes...this woman understands ice cream.

This is a great and simple recipe that doesn't take forever to make. I did tamper with the recipe very slightly by not using as much sugar as she recommends. I chose to use a Tahitian vanilla bean for the custard--its floral perfume really came out during the heating and stayed through the freezing. The end result is a perfect dessert that doesn't need gussying up with sauces or fruit or whateve. It also works realy nicely with pies and cakes.

Nigella Lawson's Vanilla Ice Cream


500 ml single cream (light or table cream)
1 vanilla pod
5 egg yolks
200 g granulated sugar
300 ml double cream (heavy or whipping cream)
  • Create a cold water bath by filling a very large bowl or sink basin half-way with very cold or ice water.
  • Pour the single cream into a pan. Split the vanilla pod and scrape out all the seeds; add the seeds and the pod to the pan. Heat until simmering. Take the pan off the hob and let stand for 20-30 minutes.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar until thick and pale.
  • Using a wooden spoon, temper the cream into the egg mixture, stirring in small amounts of the cooled cream to the yolk mixture until roughly 1/3 of the cream is incorporated. If you just pour in the warm cream, you might end up with scrambled eggs. Then tip the rest of the cream (vanilla pod and all) into the eggy mixture and give it a good stir.
  • Pour the sweet eggy cream back into the pan and return to the hob. Turn the flame to medium-low and stir (constantly) for about 10 minutes or until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  • Move the pan off the heat to the cold water bath and beat well with a wooden spoon. Let cool (if you want, you can put it in the fridge). Add in the double cream and stir well. Give it a taste. If you want it sweeter, add some icing sugar. Remove the pod--at this point, you can rinse it out, let it dry and add it to some granulated or castor sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  • Pour into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer's instructions.

Makes about 1L




Anonymous said...

Ah, vanilla so common and so spectacular! This looks spectacular.
I'm liking your blog Jasmine; fun how you confess!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jasmne - I'd choose plain vanilla ice-cream if I had to choose only one flavour, I make it all the time. Your ice-cream looks really lovely!

Anonymous said...


Sara said...

There are some times when I am really tempted to go and buy an ice cream maker. But then all I would do is eat ice cream all day long.

Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious! Looks delicious!