The few weeks ago Lidl was flogging off a load of vanilla pods because they didn't sell well. As such I was picking up double packs of vanilla pods for €1.75 each, as opposed to the usual €6-per-pod craic that Tesco and Dunnes subscribe to. Vanilla pods are very useful for making really natural tasting custard, ice-cream, homemade vanilla essence and spiced rum.
However, immediately after buying them I began packing to move house and baking was not high on my list of priorities. As such I forgot about them, until I unpacked last week.
I decided to make myself some nice proper vanilla ice-cream using vanilla pods instead of essence, and it was fantastic. In its raw form the flavour isn't very strong, but as it freezes overnight the flavour intensifies and in the morning I had SUPER VANILLA ice-cream. It was very tasty, 'was' being the operative word in the sentence.
I now have a load of vanilla sugar brewing away in the press, using the leftover pods when I scraped the seeds out, which is great way of using up the pods instead of throwing them out.
Expect a lot of vanilla themed recipes over the coming weeks.
But back to this recipe. Stracciatella is basically chocolate chip vanilla ice-cream in Italy, and it made by drizzling melted chocolate into the churn while it it running. On contact with the ice-cream, the chocolate freezes and shatters in the blades of the churn, leading to ice-cream that is packed full of tiny chocolate shards. In the absence of an ice-cream churn, I turn to what I refer to as StraCHEATella (smirk), where I basically smash a Flake bar and use the crumbled goodness to simulate the chips.
☑ Soya (check for soya lecithin)
☒ Refined sugar products
☒ Cocoa (yes, I thought I'd contain it because I was allergic to cocoa for a time)
- 8 fluid ounces (225 millilitres, 1 US cup) whipping cream, 35%-40% fat content
- 6 fluid ounces (170 millilitres, ¾ US cup) condensed milk
- 1 vanilla pod or 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
- Pinch of salt
- 1 Flake bar
- On a chopping board, split the vanilla pod down the middle and scrape out the seeds with the blunt side of the knife.
- In a large mixing bowl, pour the condensed milk and stir in the salt and vanilla pod seeds (or the vanilla essence). Pour in the cream, while stirring, then stir until it is all combined.
- Using an electric hand mixer, whisk until it is light and a soft-peak consistency. You want to to look and feel like mousse, basically.
- Pour into a 2 pint (560 millilitre, 2½ US cup) pudding mould with a lid (or you can use a loaf tin and cover with cling film) and smooth out the surface. Cover and freeze for 6 hours, preferably overnight.
- Allow to temper for about 5 to 10 minutes before serving. Serve as a sundae with syrups, sprinkles and other nice things, on its own, or with cake.
This would ice-cream is very tasty when used in making an affogato, an Italian dessert where a single scoop of (traditionally) vanilla ice-cream is put into a cappucino mug, a double shot of espresso is poured over, and the whole lot is dusted with a little cocoa powder.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR: Fruit and Nut Flapjacks