Vanilla Ice-cream

You need:
* 284ml carton double cream
* 300ml semi-skimmed or full-fat milk
* 115g golden caster sugar
(or 100g white caster sugar and 1 sachet vanilla sugar)
* 1 vanilla pod
* 3 large free-range egg yolks

1. Put the canister from the machine into the freezer a day before you
want to make the ice cream. Next day, pour the cream and milk into a
medium heavy-based pan, then tip in half the sugar. Slit the vanilla pod
down its length with a small sharp knife and scoop out as many of the
tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Cut the pod into
three and drop it into the pan.

2. Heat the cream and milk over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until
it almost boils – you’ll see a few bubbles at the edge. Take off the
heat and set aside for 30 minutes so the vanilla can infuse.

3. Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the rest of the sugar and beat
with an electric hand beater for about 2 minutes until the mixture has
thickened, is paler in colour and falls in thick ribbons when you lift
the beaters. Using a measuring jug, scoop out about 125ml/4fl oz of the
cream mixture and beat into the egg yolks to slacken them. Reheat the
cream until it just comes to the boil, take off the heat and stir in the
egg yolk mixture.

4. Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring all the time with a
wooden spoon, for 8-10 minutes, until the custard is thick enough to
coat the back of the spoon. Watch that it doesn’t boil – as soon as you
see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, it should be thick
enough, so take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle.

5. Pour the custard into a heatproof bowl, then sit it in a bigger bowl
one third full of iced water to cool (this takes about 20 minutes). Stir
occasionally to stop a skin forming. Put the bowl of custard in the
fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, so it gets really cold.

6. Get the ice cream machine running, scoop out the vanilla pod pieces,
then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30
minutes (depending on your machine). When it stops, it is probably too
soft to eat, so spoon into a plastic container, cover with cling film,
then a lid, and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. (It will keep in the
freezer for 3 months but don’t take it out, then refreeze.) Remove from
the freezer 15 minutes before serving.