I have a confession to make. I'm obsessed with making ice cream. I think it all started when my oven broke and my baking came to a halt. It was summer and the ice cream maker had come off the shelf already but hadn't been used yet. I had added some new ice cream making books to our collection and I wanted to test them out. I also had some friends requesting that I make them peanut butter ice cream; one of my specialties and also one of my favorites. So, I started with the peanut butter, moved on to french vanilla and then never stopped! I tried coconut, heath bar, cookies and cream, banana chocolate chunk, blueberry, cherry chocolate chunk. I even made a rhubarb raspberry swirl with my leftover rhubarb from pie season. Seems like I have been making and hoarding ice cream for about two months now. Since then, my oven miraculously started working again. I'm really not sure why. I can get back to my baking now but at least I have an arsenal of ice cream flavors to get me through the winter.
All the ice cream flavors I made started out with a custard base. You can build a flavor by adding fruit, vanilla flavor or other flavorings, coconut, cookies or candy to the mixture. First you have to whisk 6 egg yolks with sugar until it is light and fluffy. Yup...six egg yolks! I have even seen recipes for richer ice creams that call for 9 or even a dozen. Now with the price of eggs on the rise due to the Avian Flu, making home made ice cream is not easy on the pocketbook. But once you taste it, you will know why you can splurge on occasion. Or as for me...... quite often. Luckily, I have a friend that gives me fresh eggs from his farm. Using fresh eggs makes the ice cream extra scrumptious.
After heating the cream mixture, you temper the eggs by drizzling in 1/2 the warm cream mixture and whisking. Then you return it to the original pot with cream and heat it until it gets a bit thicker and can coat the back of a wooden spoon. I pretty much have it memorized. That's what repetition can do to the brain! The following recipe will give you full details.
Vanilla Ice Cream
About 1 quart
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop
For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
- 1 cup (250ml) whole milk
- A pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup (150g) sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
- 6 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.
NOTE: I did not have a vanilla bean on hand and substituted pure vanilla extract - ( about a tablespoon.) I omit the vanilla flavor if I am adding fruit to the creamed mixture to make blueberry, raspberry, etc.
I decided to order pint sized ice cream containers and labeled them with my flavor creation.
Here are the labels I bought. I think next time I will make personal labels on the computer and print them myself!
This recipe and others can be found in
The Perfect Scoop
by David Lebovitz
After you get the hang of it, you can experiment with flavors
like I do. My latest flavor inspiration came to me not only when I realized that summer is actually over and fall is in full swing but also when a friend gave me a bushel of organic apples. Apple Pie Ice Cream ! Maybe it will become a new fall favorite?