Basic Vanilla Ice-Cream


The inclusion of a few grains of salt may seem odd, but helps balance the flavours.


  • 2 vanilla pods
  • 600 ml/ 1 pint single cream
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100 g/ 3½ oz caster sugar
  • pinch of salt


Put a pan of water to heat to the boil. Split the vanilla pods and put them with their seeds in another pan and pour over the cream. Bring slowly to boiling point over a low heat.

While it is heating, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt in a bowl to a ribbon point (that is, the mixture is light, thick and smooth and the beaters leave a ripple on the surface).

Pour the hot cream through a sieve on to the mixture, whisking in, then put the bowl over the hot water which should be barely simmering – it must not boil! Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until you have a custard which coats the back of the spoon.

Leave to cool until warm, then pour and scrape into the churn of the ice-cream maker. Most machines take about 20 minutes to produce the ice-cream.

The ice-cream should then be put in a lidded plastic box and transferred to the freezer. Leave for at least 1 hour and ideally eat within 24 hours.