Place the prunes in a bowl. Heat the Armagnac over a gentle heat and pour over the prunes. Cover with clingfilm and macerate overnight. Drain off the Armagnac and reserve it to flavour the ice cream. Remove the stones from the prunes and discard. Cut the flesh into small pieces and set aside until ready to use.
Scald the milk, cream, vanilla beans and seeds in a heavy-based saucepan over a gentle heat. Remove from the heat and allow the vanilla to infuse for 15 minutes.
Beat together the egg yolks and castor sugar until pale and double in volume and the castor sugar has dissolved. Pour half the milk onto the egg mix, and whisk together. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk and whisk. Cook the crème Anglaise over a low heat until it thickens, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon until it coats the back of a spoon and your finger leaves a clear path when run through it. Remove the saucepan from the heat and pass the crème Anglaise through a fine sieve into a clean bowl. Set the bowl over a larger bowl half-filled with ice to cool the crème Anglaise as quickly as possible. Stir from time to time to prevent a skin from forming. When the crème Anglaise is cold, add the Armagnac to taste.
Transfer the Armagnac-flavoured crème Anglaise to an ice-cream machine and churn until firm. Add the chopped prunes, fold through the ice cream and remove from the machine. Transfer to a clean container and freeze until ready to serve.
© 2005 Liam Tomlin. All rights reserved.