I understand we’re nearing the middle of January, but I’ll tell you right now – ice cream has no particular season. It really is enjoyable year-round. My mother-in-law gave me the KitchenAid ice cream attachment for Christmas and since then, I’ve been researching (and pinning) ice cream recipes left and right.
There are numerous flavors I cannot wait to experiment with, but I have never made homemade ice cream in my life (until now) and decided that something extremely straightforward and not at all fancy would be a good place to start.
I checked out David Lebovitz’s book, The Perfect Scoop at our local library. David is a professional cook, pastry chef, author, and blogger. I’ve been a fan of his blog and recipes for a few years and knew that this book wouldn’t lead me astray when it came to finding a good ice cream recipe. This book features numerous homemade ice cream recipes, sorbets, granitas, and other frozen treats. Many of the recipes sound incredibly irresistible… Lavender-honey, fresh ginger, pear-caramel, roasted banana, and panforte (an Italian cake featuring toasted almonds, spices and candied orange peel) being at the top of my list for recipes to attempt.
For my first ever homemade ice cream, I decided to follow David’s recipe for vanilla bean ice cream. I halved the recipe, as we also had dark chocolate brownies on hand and no need for a full quart of ice cream. After the first bite, however, I wished I had made the full recipe as this ice cream is perfectly sweet, creamy, and deliciously amazing on its own. So good in fact, my husband, Silas and I decided to have dessert at 4:30 in the afternoon when the ice cream finished, before dinner rather than after.
Yields approximately two cups of ice cream.
1/2 cup whole milk
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Warm the milk, sugar, salt, and half of the heavy cream in a small pot over medium heat. Once the milk is warm, scrape the seeds from the halved vanilla bean into the milk mixture. Add the scraped bean, too. Cover the pot and allow it to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes, allowing the vanilla to flavor the milk mixture.
Pour the remaining heavy cream into a small bowl (steel is preferable if you have one) then set a mesh strainer over the top of the bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed egg yolks and milk back into your small sauce pot.
Over medium heat, stir the egg/milk mixture constantly, scraping the bottom of the pot while you mix. Continue stirring and cooking the mixture until it thickens and can coat the back of your spoon or spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer, into the remaining heavy cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, then stir in the vanilla extract. Continue stirring the custard over an ice bath, until the custard cools. Place the custard into your refrigerator until it’s thoroughly chilled.
When you are ready to churn the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean from the custard. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream will not freeze hard in the machine, but reach a soft-serve consistency. You can serve it like this if you wish (it’s delicious) or scoop the mixture into a lidded container and allow it to harden in the freeze for at least one hour for it to reach a scoop-able consistency.