Sunday 9 September 2007

Recipe: Lemon & Vanilla Ice Cream

This one's for Bob, who would have been twelve next birthday. A Thurber dog to the end of his days. In his old age, he discovered a great fondness for home-made ice cream, and developed a remarkable facility for nonchalantly materialising when dessert was being served 'just on the off-chance'......

The vanilla in this recipe somehow neutralises the acerbic edges of the lemon, giving it a rich and soft quality; the result is lemon flavour, but without any astringency.

Makes about 700 ml.

Ingredients: 1 Vanilla Pod; Zest of 1 or 2 Lemons (depending on size); 90g Sugar; 5 Egg Yolks; 375 ml Milk; 180 ml Cream; 3 drops of Lemon Oil (if you have it)


1. Split the Vanilla Pod, and put it in a zimmertopf or double boiler along with the Milk, grated Zest, and half of the Sugar. Heat for fifteen minutes or so, until the Milk is quite hot, then turn off the heat and let sit for the Vanilla and Lemon flavours to infuse for a further fifteen minutes.

2. Beat the Egg Yolks along with the remaining Sugar until they are light in colour and have the texture of a lightly whipped cream. Mix the Milk infusion - including the Pod - into this mixture, and then return it to the zimmertopf or double boiler. Heat, stirring occasionally, until it has the consistency of a light custard. Set aside to cool, and then chill in the fridge - this might take a couple of hours.

3. Retrieve the split Pod from the mixture, and scrape the innards of the Pod into the mixture, discarding the Pod itself.

4. Churn in an Ice Cream Machine, adding the Cream and (optional) Lemon Oil as you add the mixture to the machine.

Good on its own, but goes particularly well with Passion Fruit Tart. In theory, I suppose it ought to last a couple of months, properly sealed, in a freezer - but why?

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