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This is a basic egg custard ice cream flavoured with brandy. If you were to omit the brandy and instead infuse the milk with a split vanilla pod, you'd have vanilla ice cream. We're talking that basic. However, this one will take longer to set than your standard ice cream; the alcohol content lowers the freezing point of the mixture. Plan on giving it at least 24 hours in the freezer, my usual trick of leaving it overnight is insufficient.

Don't be put off by making custard. Have the sink half-filled with cold water before you start, and if you have the merest inkling that the custard is going to split, take the pan off the heat, lower it into the cold water and whisk like mad. It should come back together again.

This works fabulously with Christmas Pudding but I'll be serving it with caramelised oranges as one of the desserts at my brother's 21st birthday dinner. It's also the kind of ice cream I can see myself keeping in the freezer, just because.


6 egg yolks
120g (4oz) caster sugar (I think that's about ½cup)
300ml (½pint) full fat milk
300ml (½pint) double cream
3tbsp brandy


Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until thick and pale-looking.

Heat the milk until it reaches simmering point, and then slowly pour over the egg/sugar mixture, whisking all the time as you do it.

When the egg/sugar/milk mixture is thoroughly combined, return it to a clean pan and cook over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens to a custard that coats the back of a wooden spoon.

When the custard has cooked, remove from the heat and immediately pour in the cold cream, then stir through the brandy. Allow the mixture to cool completely.

When the mixture has cooled, pass it through a sieve. Then you can either set it to churn in a sorbetière and then freeze when it's ready, or pour it into a large, shallow freezer container and place it in the freezer for an hour. Remove after an hour and whisk. Return it to the freezer, freeze for another hour, and whisk again. If you can, I'd recommend repeating the process once more. It'll help to make it smoother and creamier.

Leave it to set for 24 hours and then devour.

Music to cook to: Down the Way, Angus and Julia Stone

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