My dad was famous for his cannoli with crema pasticcera, which is basically a vanilla custard cream filling. He used to make them every year at Christmas, Easter and maybe the odd birthday. Our faces would always light up, though that may have been because we would take a nice tablespoon of cream and scoff it down. I was sad time had run out and I never got the recipe handed down to me, so for a few years now I have been trying to recreate it. I couldn’t get the right consistency, so I just put the mixture into a churner and made ice cream instead. It’s rich, so I tend to have by itself, pancakes or a small scoop alongside some chocolate cake.
In a saucepan, heat a split vanilla pod in the milk until it almost comes to the boil and then take off the heat and leave for 30 minutes for the flavour to infuse and cool,
In a clean bowl, add the yolks, sugar and zest and beat until well combined,
Remove the vanilla pod from the milk (scrap out any remaining seeds and put them into the milk),
Over a gentle heat, pour the egg mixture into the milk and stir continuously,
Do not stop staring otherwise your mix will curdle,
As soon as the custard starts to thicken, take it off the heat and transfer to a bowl and leave to cool for a few hours,
Once cool, add the cream and 50g of the almonds and whisk,
Leave in the fridge until its well chilled, around 1 to 2 hours,
Pour the mixture into a churner for 30 minutes,
Spoon the mixture into a 2 litre tub and then sprinkle the rest of the chopped almonds on top,
Freeze for a few hours and then enjoy.