The ultimate vanilla ice cream recipe which can be easily altered to make a delicious selection of flavour variations to satisfy any craving. This recipe uses the custard method and can be made with or without an ice cream maker.
1 vanilla pod
200ml double cream
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
- 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.
- 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.
- Strain the custard into a bowl. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the custard. Leave to cool completely.
- 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 refrozen to create a smooth-textured ice cream. After the second whizzing, transfer the ice cream to a plastic container.
- Transfer the ice cream from the freezer to the fridge 20–30 minutes before serving to soften slightly before serving, scooped into glass bowls
Coffee ice cream: Omit the vanilla and add 5 teaspoons 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.
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.
Chocolate malt ice cream: Omit the vanilla and add 100 g good quality dark chocolate, cut into pieces, 2 tablespoons malt extract and ½ teaspoon vanilla extract to the milk and cream. Bring to scalding point, stirring to melt the chocolate. Proceed as for the main recipe.
Coconut ice cream: Use 300 ml coconut milk and 100 ml double cream or coconut cream. Omit the vanilla and proceed as for the main recipe.
Salted caramel ice cream: Omit the vanilla and add ¼ teaspoon 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.
Cream cheese ice cream: Omit the vanilla and substitute 150 ml soured cream for the double cream. Whisk 200 g cream cheese into the custard once it has cooled slightly and add ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Strain and allow to cool completely, then proceed as for the main recipe.