Hello everyone! Are you enjoying the sunshine? Yes? No? It is a little hot isn’t it.
Not that I am moaning about the heat, I am not. It is mainly joyful except from oh, 10am to 6am, when I drag myself around like a sloth, but this is not the fault of the heat. It is the fault of my rental apartment which has no air con. For when do we ever need it except for a week or so in the summer.
I need it now, and I don’t have it. I don’t even have a fan (I am working on that). So without all of this, what am I to do but to obsess on ice cream, icy drinks like granita and allow myself an occasional snooze, just so, you know, I can deal with it all.
Lets start with ice cream. Frozen custard, that is all it is. The custard is proper custard, home cooked, and not the Birds variety which as a child I used to adore (and is simply coloured and flavoured cornflour).
Real custard fills me with fear. Fear and dread and a mild panic. Why so? Well in school home economics it was communicated to me that it was very easy to screw up and curdle the eggs, and that it should be done slowly in a water bath and that it would take approximately a very long time. I remember stirring anxiously with a wooden spoon, terrified of a yellow fleck of curdled egg (my world was much smaller then). It was delicious but I vowed to never do it again and went back to Birds.
No more, the fear is gone (long gone, I have been making it happily for years now). It is a little painful in that you must take great care, but it is very do-able. The first ice cream I will share with you is one of Nigel Slater’s, his Vanilla Ice Cream, a classic egg custard with some lovely vanilla grinning through. The ice cream is perfect and as a classic vanilla ice cream should be, rich, cool, sweet and aromatic. I think it is the perfect start for a week of ice cream exploration.
I also have recipes of my own, several in my book, lots enriched with cream, some with no eggs at all. One with bacon and another with honeycomb, one with both. I will share a few more with you here this week. I will share the custard love. Bring on the granita and sprinkle the sorbet for summer here and it is freaking hot. So lets deal with it. Here we go.
Note: I use an ice cream machine for these recipes. A worthwhile indulgence if you are an ice cream fan. I use the Gaggia Gelateria because I can make ice cream without planning or without need to freeze the bowl. I have been using it for a few years now and, yes, it is £££ and large and a little noisy, but it is a great home machine and also, speedy. I recommend it.
Recipe from Nigel Slater in The Observer
RECIPE: Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
1 fat vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
150g caster sugar
Pour 600ml milk into a saucepan. Slice a fat vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape the sticky black vanilla seeds into the pan with the point of a knife. Drop the scraped pod in, too, then bring the mixture almost to the boil. Turn off the heat just before it boils. Leave for 30 minutes or so, for the vanilla to flavour the milk.
Beat 6 egg yolks and 150g caster sugar till light and fluffy. Fish out the vanilla pod but not the seeds from the milk, then pour it through a sieve into the egg yolks and sugar, stirring till you get a thin custard.
Put the custard over a moderate heat and, stirring almost continuously with a wooden spoon, bring it slowly towards the boil. Once the custard is thick enough to thinly coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove it from the heat, pour it into a cold basin and leave it to cool. Be very careful not to boil it, or it will curdle. Pour it into a clean saucepan. Once it is cool, refrigerate it for a good half-hour before pouring into an ice cream machine and churning until almost frozen.