I never dreamed of making my own ice cream until about a year or two ago. The contributors on a cooking forum that I am a member of kept talking about homemade ice cream, and I certainly wanted to give it a try.
I've learned that David Lebovitz is pretty much the resident expert on homemade ice cream recipes. In fact, he wrote a book called The Perfect Scoop and includes several recipes in there. The recipe below is adapted from his vanilla bean ice cream and is a perfect treat any time of day. You can also add a scoop to your favorite desserts (brownies, anyone?).
- 1 cup whole milk (do not use skim or 2%)
- A pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
- 2 cups heavy cream or half-and-half
- 5 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
DirectionsHeat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk mixture. Add bean pod to milk.
In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks and gradually pour some of the warm milk mixture into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
Strain the custard into a separate bowl with the heavy cream. Rinse the vanilla bean and put it back into the custard and cream mixture. Add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly - preferably overnight.
Once the mixture is completely chilled, 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.