As with all custard-based ice creams the perfect texture is achieved with an electric ice cream maker. However, if you can freeze and blend the custard two or three times you won’t be disappointed with the result. Aim to buy the soft pitted prunes and, if possible, soak them overnight in the Armagnac. I also make the custard at the same time so all I have to do the next day is churn the ice cream. I have a bottle of orange-flavoured Armagnac which I often use to soak all sorts of dried fruit-it is utterly delicious and adds a further layer of flavour to the ice cream. A scoop or two of this ice cream with the gâteau Basque is beyond good.
- 150g soft pitted prunes
- 100ml Armagnac
- 6 medium egg yolks
- 140g caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 300ml whole milk
- 300ml double cream
- Pour the Armagnac into a saucepan and heat through. You can flambé the Armagnac if you feel confident -look on YouTube if you are unsure about the technique. It is not imperative but it burns off the alcohol which might appeal more to non-boozers. Take off the heat, add the prunes and leave to cool. Cover and soak overnight.
- If you like make the custard the day before: mix together the egg yolks, caster sugar and vanilla extract. Place the milk and cream in a saucepan and slowly bring to just below boiling point. Take off the heat and pour over the egg yolk mixture. Clean the saucepan (there is often a film stuck to the base) and pour the custard back into the pan. Stir over a low heat until the custard is just thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take off the heat and strain through a sieve. Cool then cover and chill.
- Chop the prunes into bite-sized pieces. Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and freeze and churn until thick and almost frozen. Stir in the chopped prunes and scrape into a suitable container for freezing. Freeze until hard. If you haven’t got an ice cream maker pour the chilled custard into a container and freeze until almost hard. Scrape into a food processor and blend to a purée. Repeat at least once more-preferably twice.