a classic vanilla bean ice cream

a classic vanilla bean ice cream

This is a classic vanilla bean ice cream and one we should all learn how to make. It comes from famous South African chef Liam Tomlin.

A highlight of my food blog is the opportunity I get to review fabulous cookbooks. Having written my own book last year, I have a fair idea about what goes into the making of them. One of the cookbooks that have impressed me the most recently is – Lessons with Liam by Liam Tomlin.

a classic vanilla bean ice cream

a classic vanilla bean ice cream

Lessons with Liam

This is not just a recipe book, although you will find many classic and very interesting recipes in the selection, this is a book about basic cooking skills and techniques.

If you haven’t been through chef school and are eager to become more of a kitchen ninja, this book is most definitely the one for you.

Liam, who has worked in professional kitchens his whole life, has a very impressive pedigree and owns a cookery school noticed that when teaching, people lacked knowledge of very basic cooking techniques, and mastering these is the foundation to becoming a better cook.

It’s beautifully photographed by well-known food photographer Russell Smith, who has managed to turn all the step-by-step recipes into works of art. Even though I have been to Hotel School (way back when) – it was fabulous to brush up on some of my knowledge, and as a visual person, this book is laden with pictures that make it easy to follow and a delight to look at.

Lessons with Liam

The book is filled to the brim with tips and advice from Liam. It’s just like having a professional chef in your kitchen. The chapters cover everything from stocks, sauces, dressings, salads, fish, meat, vegetables, grains, and potatoes, to pastry and knife skills.

What I really enjoyed was that interspersed throughout the book were a collection of recipes that are interesting and sound quite delicious. Having also tasted a few of these at the book launch, I know they are delicious too. So while you are learning to debone a duck or make beurre blanc, you can be inspired by dishes like miso salmon, sweetcorn and basil soup, tartare of tuna with togarashi dressing, and the pear tart tartin.

Both classic and modern are presented beautifully and explained with precision, this is a must-have book for the serious cook, and I will use it for the rest of my life.

Trying to pick a recipe for this review was tricky, but I made a pavlova recently and had 6 egg yolks left over, so the vanilla bean ice cream was the perfect solution.

Vanilla bean ice cream

a classic vanilla bean ice cream

A classic vanilla ice cream recipe with a cooked custard.
Print Recipe
vanilla ice cream


  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml fresh cream
  • 6 egg yolks free-range
  • 85 g caster sugar


  • Split the vanilla pot lengthways and scrape out the seeds and add it to a pot with the milk and cream and heat. Once it has reached a boil, remove it from the heat and allow the vanilla to infuse for 15 minutes.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they are pale and fluffy and doubled in volume.
  • Return the vanilla milk back to the heat and bring it back to a boil. Add half of this to the egg mixture (whisking all the time) and when this is mixed, add the other half. Now empty the egg custard mix back into the pot (Liam indicates putting it in a clean pot, but I just put it into the used pot which was fine), and cook over low heat for about 8 - 10 minutes until it has thickened. Stir constantly. To test whether the custard is ready coat the back of a spoon with it and run your finger across it, if the custard mix stays apart in a line it is thick enough. It is also ready if it reaches 82 C / 175 F on a thermometer.
  • Strain the mixture through a fine sieve and then Liam suggested placing the bowl over ice to cool it down whilst you stir it further to prevent skin from forming. I skipped this step, placed some cling film over the top and let it cool at room temperature, and then in the fridge slightly.
  • Pour the mix into an electric ice cream maker and churn this until it is firm. When it's made, transfer this into a storage container and freeze it until you are ready to serve. Allow the ice cream to soften slightly at room temp before serving.
Author: Sam


Liam offers an array of flavour variations with this incredible recipe. But you are going to have to buy the book to find out about it.

This recipe was absolutely delicious. Rich, creamy, and dare I say, unctuous. It will be what I whip up every single time I make a pavlova and have 6 egg yolks lying around. It is also the perfect thing to serve with a pavlova too.

a classic vanilla bean ice cream

I look forward to connecting with you again

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  1. Looks delicious! Will have to try it soon.

  2. Those pictures are making me drool Sam. That recipe is so simple which is clearly the case with many really good things 🙂

  3. HI Tami, yes what initially caught my attention was the ingredients list. Just simple, and now one of the best vanilla ice-creams I have tasted. Its richer then the one I normally make.

  4. It’s so cold out here and all i want is soup! And you are tempting me to make some ice cream. GORGEOUS photo and that book sounds like something I need to get my hands on.

  5. This recipe is the same as what I’ve been using for years and it’s fantastic. The book looks great Sam 🙂

  6. Hi Tands, Isn’t it great, just so rich and creamy. I normally make an uncooked egg ice cream using 2 eggs. See you later xx

  7. Hi Kankana, yes so weird how we are on exact opposite eating sides of the world all the time. I have so many American readers, it must be weird for them 🙂

  8. That icecream looks gorgeous in this hot summer we are having here. Where can I buy the book? I could see links to everything but the book for sale but maybe I am blind.

  9. HI Suzanne, I didn’t include any links to buy the book, but will find out about international sales

  10. Hi Sam, this looks so fantastic–and oh my god the pictures are just so amazing

  11. Thanks Usha, finished this ice cream off last night.

  12. I need not even wonder what your are going to do the my Apple ice-cream recipes! Carolie x

  13. Carolie, I cant wait to get busy with your apple ice cream 🙂

  14. Hello!

    I am curious, where did you get the loaf pan you are using in the Ice Cream photos?… WE love them!

  15. Hi Allison, these are just Vintage bread tins I find at markets and second hand shops.

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