If you could only have one ice-cream flavour for the rest of your life, which one would it be?
I don't think I'm a very vanilla type of person - 'vanilla', to me, says straight-laced, regular, line-toeing and very much of the ordinary. Which is ridiculous when you think that vanilla comes from such beautiful and exotic, far away countries as Tahiti and Madagascar. But this is what mass production of 'nature identical', synthetic flavourings does; it takes away all the mystery and intrigue, and makes the best favour out there seem everyday and hum-drum.
Fact is though, I would pick vanilla ice-cream. We're going to make some today. It's not the method I usually follow when I make ice-cream, which is the way an Italian taught me, but I'll post that technique another day. Today, I feel like making a custard-based ice. And it's going to be vanilla, because I have some great quality extract on hand, and also because I have so much ice-cream and froyo in my freezer drawers now that I need something that will last a while and goes with anything.
The thing with custard ices is that they have a much creamier and firmer texture than those with a milk base. This makes them perfect for an affogato, which I love love love. It's the way my mum used to eat her ice-cream when we were little - 'drowned' in coffee. And it happens to be the perfect way for a food blogger to photograph a single portion of vanilla ice-cream and get maximum pleasure from so-doing.
This ice-cream is wonderful with strawberries or raspberries, or any kind of sweet pie or cake too, though, so coffee-haters needn't start a riot and throw petrol bombs at me or anything. Not quite yet!
You will need:
300ml whole milk
2 egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from one vanilla pod)
300ml double cream
- Heat the milk gently until almost boiling. While that's happening, beat the yolks, sugar and vanilla gently.
- Slowly pour the hot milk onto the yolks, whisking all the while. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and heat gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard has thickened. It will be pale yellow - if you want a richer colour, use three yolks. I like a whiter ice-cream, so stick to two.
- Chill the custard for an hour or so.
- Whip the cream; fold into the custard.
- Churn the now snow-white custard in an ice-cream maker until you are happy with the texture.
- If not using immediately, freeze in a rigid plastic container.
- To make affogato, pour espresso over a scoop of ice-cream.