I know it probably sounds a little boring with all the options out there, but when I got my ice cream maker, I really wanted to make vanilla ice cream. This was because I had also gotten a copy of The Craft of Baking: Cakes, Cookies, and Other Sweets with Ideas for Inventing Your Own, and the vanilla ice cream recipe in there looked fabulous. On top of that, my aunt had given me a nice bottle of vanilla extract and a Madagascar vanilla bean as part of my Christmas present, and I really wanted to use them in something where their flavor would be noticeable, not just in the background like in a cake or cookie recipe.
So despite how bland and boring vanilla ice cream might seem, I set out to make it. And in making my own, I came to realize that there is nothing bland and boring about vanilla. Just look at all those vanilla bean seeds running rampant in that creamy vanilla mixture! This ice cream has incredible, intense flavor.
To gear up for my vanilla ice cream making, I started the day by making a giant egg white omelet for breakfast for my boyfriend and me. The ice cream recipe calls for 9 egg yolks! I had to use up all the whites somehow, and I didn't feel like making meringues or doing any other baking.
Most ice cream making takes a little advance planning -- unlike the strawberry ice cream I made last month. It starts with a custard made from sugar; milk; cream; egg yolks; salt; and, in this case, vanilla beans and extract. The custard, which is cooked on the stove, has to be refrigerated 8 hours or overnight. I whipped up the custard, stored it in the fridge overnight, and then poured it in the ice cream machine the next night. If you start the day before you want to have ice cream, you'll be all set.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (adapted from The Craft of Baking)
For the original recipe, which includes notes about which vanilla beans to use and how to reuse your vanilla beans, get The Craft of Baking.
9 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 vanilla beans (I used Madagascar), split lenthwise, seeds scraped, seeds and beans reserved
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Whisk egg yolks with 1/2 cup of sugar in large heatproof bowl.
In a large sauce pan, whisk remaining 1/2 cup of sugar, milk, heavy cream, vanilla beans, and vanilla bean seeds. Bring to a full boil and then immediately remove from heat.
Gradually whisk one-third of the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Then pour the egg yolk mixture into the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Add vanilla extract and salt, and whisk until combined.
Pour custard into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 8 hours.
Next pour mixture through a strainer set over a large bowl.
Pour custard into ice cream maker, following manufacturer's directions.
Transfer ice cream to a bowl.
Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn and ice crystals. Cover the container and freeze until firm.
Then... make brownie sundaes!
You'll need some gooey hot fudge -- I'm still hooked on the recipe I found in Rose's Heavenly Cakes -- some whipped cream -- I always make my own with whipping cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla -- and your favorite brownies -- I go with rich, fudgy ones with lots of Scharffen Berger bittersweet chocolate. Also, some mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, or nuts wouldn't hurt a bit.
And now for a question... Does anyone know why recipes for homemade ice cream all seem to say the ice cream will last 5 days to 1 week? I know it doesn't have preservatives like store-bought ice cream, but we keep all sorts of stuff in the freezer for longer than a week. What would make homemade ice cream any different? (I don't know the answer; I'm just curious.)
Don't forget I have a fabulous giveaway going on! Go leave a comment on my Sweetheart Cherry Cake post by 11:59 PM EST on Wednesday, February 3, and you could win your very own heart-shaped pan!