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    Russian vanilla ice cream

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    Russian vanilla ice cream

    This recipe benefits from being ‘matured’ in the fridge overnight before churning. The custard thickens considerably, making the final result denser and creamier, and the vanilla pod releases maximum flavour. The vodka cuts the richness of the ice cream beautifully without making it taste alcoholic, but you can replace it with 1 tbsp honey if you prefer. You will need a sugar thermometer for this recipe.

    • Preparation time: 10 minutes, plus overnight chilling, churning and freezing
    • Cooking time: 40 minutes
    • Total time: 50 minutes, plus overnight chilling, churning and freezing

    Makes: about 1 litre (serves 8-10)


    1 vanilla pod
    330ml whole milk
    500ml double cream
    5 egg yolks
    115g golden granulated sugar
    60ml vodka


    1. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and put both pod and seeds in a medium-sized non-aluminium pan. Add the milk, cream and a pinch of fine sea salt. Heat gently, stirring often. Once the mixture is steaming hot, remove the pan from the heat. In a bowl, use a balloon whisk to mix the egg yolks and sugar for 1 minute until thoroughly combined.

    2. Fill the sink with iced water. Ladle the hot cream over the yolk mixture a little at a time, whisking continuously to form a custard. Return the custard to the pan and cook over a low heat, stirring all the time, until it reaches 82˚C on a sugar thermometer. Don’t let it boil. As soon as the thermometer reaches 82˚C, put the pan in the sink of iced water to cool. Speed up the cooling process by stirring the mixture every so often. Once the custard is at room temperature, add the vodka and pour the mixture into a clean container. Cover the surface with cling film and chill overnight.

    3. The next day, use a small ladle to push the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a jug. Remove the vanilla pod (you can rinse and dry it, then use for vanilla sugar). Pour the custard into an ice-cream machine and churn for 25-45 minutes, until it reaches the texture of thick whipped cream (or if you don’t have a machine, see the tip on page 64). Transfer to a lidded container about 1 litre in capacity. Top with a piece of baking parchment, cover and freeze for at least 4 hours until ready to serve. It will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer. 

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    This recipe first appeared in Waitrose & Partners Food, August 2019 issue. Download the Waitrose & Partners Food app for the full issue


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