Greatest recipes ever: Darina Allen’s vanilla ice cream

‘This is one of those dream recipes that you will find yourself coming back to time and time again. It’s perfect for summer parties in the garden, and a winner with all ages-children and adults alike adore it. It’s a rich, creamy, luxurious vanilla ice cream with absolutely no need for a machine. It’s wonderful partnered with a hazelnut praline, a decadent chocolate sauce or a purée of summer berries. It’s the perfect partner for poached fruit, particularly rhubarb, gooseberries and pears, as Darina’s brother Rory illustrated at his 50th-birthday party, where simply poached pears were drizzled with a top-notch grappa. The result was extraordinarily good. I’m a huge fan of the book that this recipe is taken from, but then I’m an alumna of Ballymaloe Cookery School in Co Cork, Ireland, and therefore totally and utterly biased in regard to all things relating to it’

Thomasina Miers

Vanilla ice cream

Extract from Darina Allen’s Ballymaloe Cookery Course – Published by Kyle Cathie

Make twice the amount at a time if at all possible, especially if you’re using a food mixer to whisk the mousse-less and you risk the blades not reaching all the egg in the bottom of the bowl.

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2 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
125ml water
½ tsp pure vanilla essence
600ml softly whipped cream (measure when whipped)


Put the egg yolks into a bowl and whisk until light and fluffy. Keep the whites for meringues. Combine the sugar and water in a small, heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir over heat until the sugar is completely dissolved, then remove the spoon and boil the syrup until it reaches the ‘thread’ stage (106˚C-113˚C). It will look thick and syrupy and, when a metal spoon is dipped in, the last drops of syrup will form thin threads.

Pour this boiling syrup in a steady stream onto the egg yolks, whisking all the time. Add the vanilla essence and continue to whisk until it becomes a thick, creamy white mousse. Gently fold the softly whipped cream into the mousse, pour into a bowl, cover and freeze.

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