Ultimate vanilla ice cream
We recently bought an ice cream maker as a joint wedding anniversary present to ourselves. Technically, 3 years is meant to be leather but we decided that this was much more appealing! The first recipe we tried out was from the booklet that came with it – white chocolate, which is Tom’s favourite. But it was a bit disappointing to be honest…we should have guessed when it said to use skimmed milk! The texture of the grated chocolate was a bit weird too, as my taste buds said chocolate but the texture was like coconut. Weird. Anyway, we found this recipe for the ultimate vanilla ice cream and thought it was worth a try! At first glance it seems like it is going to be a massive effort over 2 days, but in reality it was much easier. We keep the bowl in the freezer all the time so it’s ready to go when we need it, and that seemed to speed things up a bit. You’ll also need lots of ice cubes ready. It really is delicious, so well worth the wait overnight!
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, the method to make it by hand is given below. There’s more information about our ice cream maker at the bottom of this post 🙂
284ml carton double cream
300ml full fat milk
115g golden caster sugar
1 vanilla pod (we used 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
3 large free-range egg yolks
have lots of ice cubes at the ready
1. Put the canister from the machine into the freezer a day before you want to make the ice cream.
2. When you’re ready to begin, pour the cream and milk into a medium heavy-based pan, and add half of the sugar. Slit the vanilla pod down its length with a small sharp knife and scoop out as many of the tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Cut the pod into three and drop it into the pan. Alternatively, add 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste.
3. Heat the cream and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils. It’s ready when you can see a few bubbles at the edge. Take off the heat and set aside for 30 minutes so the vanilla can infuse. Just let it cool a bit if you’re using vanilla bean paste.
4. Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the rest of the sugar and beat with an electric hand beater for about 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened. It should be paler in colour and falls in thick ribbons when you lift the beaters. Using a measuring jug, scoop out about 125ml/4fl oz of the cream mixture and beat into the egg yolks to slacken them. Reheat the cream until it just comes to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the egg yolk mixture.
5. Return the pan to a low heat and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring all the time with a wooden spoon. The custard needs to be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Watch that it doesn’t boil – it should be ready as soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface. At this point, take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle.
6. Pour the custard into a heatproof bowl, then sit it in a bigger bowl one third full of iced water to cool (this takes about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally to stop a skin forming. Put the bowl of custard in the fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, so it gets really cold.
7. Get the ice cream machine running, scoop out the vanilla pod pieces, then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30 minutes (depending on your machine). When it stops, it is probably too soft to eat, so spoon into a plastic container. Cover with cling film, then a lid (we only used a lid), and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. (It will keep in the freezer for 3 months but don’t take it out, then refreeze.) Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before serving.
To make it by hand
In step 1, heat the milk, vanilla, and half the sugar without the cream (the custard will be slightly thicker). At the start of step 6, whip the cream so it’s light and floppy, not too stiff, and fold it into the cold custard. Freeze for 3-4 hours, stirring once an hour until almost frozen, then freeze as above.
This recipe is originally from the BBC Good Food website.
Our ice cream maker
I thought it would be helpful to say a little bit about our ice cream maker, as we’re really pleased with it!
We chose the Andrew James 1.5l ice cream maker, which has been voted Which? Magazine’s ‘Best Buy’. At just under £30 it is really good value. It is not currently available, but this is a very similar one (affiliate link). I have wanted an ice cream maker for ages, but have been put off by the price of most machines. You don’t want to buy one and then not use it! But this is a great little machine. The instructions are really clear and it’s easy to use. As I said earlier, we just keep the bowl in the freezer all the time so that it’s ready to go when we want to make ice cream. We transfer the ice cream to a tupperware for freezing, as the machine churns it and starts to freeze it but doesn’t freeze completely. The machine is a little noisy, but that’s the only slight down side and it doesn’t bother us really. It’s a great machine for making small quantities – this ultimate vanilla ice cream is just the beginning! I’m sure I’ll be sharing many more ice cream recipes in the future! 🙂
Post updated 25th June 2020.