Vanilla ice cream

Makes about a litre

Don't even think of making vanilla ice cream on the cheap. You might as well buy it. You need lots of egg yolks and cream. I find using nice creamy milk such as gold top, Guernsey or Jersey helps make it rich and delicious. What's essential are fresh, good-quality vanilla pods - not ones that have been lying around for years, drying out and losing their flavour. The Gourmet Vanilla Company (020-8940 1029) sells 2 pods in handy little test tubes stamped with the date of harvest. The pods can be given a little boost with good quality vanilla essence, such as Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract (not artificial flavouring).

Don't even think of making vanilla ice cream on the cheap. You might as well buy it. You need lots of egg yolks and cream. I find using nice creamy milk such as gold top, Guernsey or Jersey helps make it rich and delicious. What's essential are fresh, good-quality vanilla pods - not ones that have been lying around for years, drying out and losing their flavour. The Gourmet Vanilla Company (020-8940 1029) sells 2 pods in handy little test tubes stamped with the date of harvest. The pods can be given a little boost with good quality vanilla essence, such as Madagascar Bourbon vanilla extract (not artificial flavouring).

A good way of getting the most from vanilla pods after you've used the seeds is to wash and dry them and put them into a standard sugar bowl of caster sugar. You'll have a supply of vanilla sugar for ice creams and sauces.

This recipe can be used as a base for other ice creams, exchanging the vanilla for blended fruits, or coffee to flavour it. Or add chopped-up candied ginger.

400ml milk like gold top or Guernsey or Jersey
One and a half vanilla pods
1¿2tsp Bourbon vanilla essence
400ml Jersey or clotted cream or a mixture
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar

Put the milk into a saucepan. Split the vanilla pods lengthways with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the milk with the point of the knife, then add the pods as well. Bring the milk to the boil and remove from the heat.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together then pour the milk on and whisk well. Return to the pan on a low heat and cook for about five minutes, stirring constantly using a whisk, but don't let it boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream. Leave to cool then churn in the ice-cream machine.

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