30 May 2009
Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
· 250g Fairtrade caster sugar
· 500ml milk
· 6 medium free range egg yolks
· 500ml double cream
What to do
1. Make sure all your surfaces and utensils are really clean as using real ingredients can have the potential for a bacterial field-day.
2. Slice the organic vanilla pods into 2 long pieces and carefully scrape out the seeds onto a plate. Add a little of the sugar to the plate and work with the seeds until you have a grey, speckly mixture. Scrape this into a large bowl, then add the rest of the sugar. Put the milk into a saucepan and add the emptied vanilla pods. Bring this to nearly boiling point - make sure it does not actually boil.
3. Add the egg yolks to the sugar in the bowl and whisk until it thickens slightly and lightens in colour. This process takes about 2 - 3 minutes. Pour in the scalded milk over the eggs and sugar and whisk energetically. Remove the vanilla pods.
4. Wipe the milk-pan clean and return the ice-cream mixture to it. Place over a gentle heat and cook until it is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. This takes quite a long time, so be patient - it's worth it. You could use a rubber spatula to ensure that all parts of the pan are stirred. When you think the mixture is thick enough, dip a spoon in the mixture and then run your finger across the back. If a clear and stable path is left, then you are ready. If you want to use a thermometer, you should heat until it gets to 85oC. Add the cream to this custard and mix well. Pour through a fine sieve and allow to cool before freezing.
5. Freezing can be done in an ice-cream machine. Alternatively, place in 2 litre stainless steel bowl and every 30 minutes remove from freezer and whisk thoroughly. When you have a half-defrosted ice-cream that looks like a thick slurry, in which the solids and water have frozen together, you can then stop stirring and leave it to freeze.
To make chocolate ice-cream: add the best quality Fairtrade cocoa powder to the vanilla base as it is cooling.
To make stracciatella ice cream: freeze a block of high quality plain chocolate. With a sharp knife, chisel small scrapings and curls from the block. When you have a large pile, add this three-quarters through the freezing and whisking process
To make coffee ice cream: make a large expresso, then allow to cool and filter. Add this to the mixture just before freezing.
To make caramel ice cream: make the vanilla ice-cream but use 100g Fairtrade caster sugar and not 250g. Also do not add the double cream. Allow to cool but do not freeze. Place a further 250g Fairtrade caster sugar in a wide stainless steel pan and place over a medium flame. In a minute or two the sugar will melt and then colour. DO NOT STIR: instead swirl the pan gently so the sugar melts and colours evenly. The caramel must go dark brown and when it is ready a lighter brown foam will form on top. As soon as this stage is reached, remove the caramel from the heat and pour in the cream - it will splutter and the caramel and the caramel will set into lattice-like crystals. Now you can stir and do so over a medium flame until the mixture boils and the crystals disappear. Add this to the vanilla base and proceed with the freezing process.