Happy Easter folks! I’m celebrating the occasion with my trusted, fail-safe vanilla ice cream recipe. This makes a brilliant base recipe for you to get creative and experiment with other flavours. I’ve tried rippling raspberry compote and salted caramel previously, all super yummy, but today, I’m going for a personal favourite of mine, the glorious Oreo cookie! My love affair with cookies and cream ice cream began at university – vegging out with my girlfriends in our jammies with big spoons in hand, all vying for the biggest cookie chunks in the tub during our movie marathons of hopeless rom-coms – good times!
I do try and keep my ice cream on the skinny side by using Elmlea, the low calorie dairy substitute and semi skimmed milk, but you can go all out with double cream and full fat milk for ultimate indulgence.
Cookies and cream ice cream
284ml Elmlea or double cream
300ml semi skimmed milk
110g golden caster sugar
1 vanilla pod
3 large free-range egg yolks
Handful of crushed Oreo cookies
Put the canister from the machine into the freezer a day before making the ice cream. Next day, pour the cream and milk into a 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 fragrant, tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Cut the pod into three and drop it into the pan.
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.
Pop the egg yolks into a bowl with the rest of the sugar and beat with a whisk for about 2 minutes until the mixture has thickened, is paler in colour and falls in thick ribbons. Scoop out about a third 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.
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.
Let the custard cool by the window, and stir occasionally to stop a skin forming. Once completely cooled, pop the custard in the fridge for 3-4 hours.
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, or begins to look like soft scoop ice cream, spoon into a plastic container. Stir in the crushed Oreo cookies, cover and freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. When you’re ready to tuck in, take it out of the freezer for about 5 minutes before serving.
And don’t let those egg whites go to waste – quickly whip up some meringue nests!