Vanilla Ice Cream


  • 1 pt / 570 ml full-cream milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • ½ pt / 280 ml double cream


Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan, and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat. Beat the sugar and egg yolks together, and pour on the scalded milk, stirring continuously. Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan, scrape in the vanilla seeds from the pod, and stir over a low heat until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat, and allow to cool. Whip the cream, and fold into the cold custard. Pour into an ice-cream maker, and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Or pour into a container, and freeze in a freezer or the freezing compartment of a refrigerator, in which case you will need to remove it after about an hour and beat it or blend it in a food processor until smooth and light, and then return it to the freezer for its final freezing.


For a delicious cardamom and rosewater ice cream, replace the vanilla pod with the seeds from 8 cardamom pods, and after scalding these with the milk, leave to stand for 45 minutes. Use only two egg yolks, and stir 2–3 tablespoons of rosewater into the cooled custard just before folding in the whipped cream.

For lavender ice cream, first grind the sugar in a coffee grinder or with a pestle and mortar with ½ oz / 15 g fresh lavender buds, and scald this mixture in the milk. Beat the egg yolks on their own, and pour on the scalded lavender-flavoured milk, stirring continuously. Then continue as above.

The rich, dark, syrupy Pedro Ximenez wine, or PX as it is commonly known, is often used to sweeten the naturally dry amontillados and oloroso sherries for the northern European market. It is also a marvellous ingredient for the cook, and I use it to make a wonderful ice cream, which knocks rum and raisin ice cream into a cocked hat. Soak about 4 oz / 110 g raisins in about ¼ pt / 140 ml Pedro Ximenez wine for several hours, then stir this into the vanilla ice cream mixture, and freeze in the usual way.