Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Mmmmmm, ice cream.  I love homemade ice cream, but so often after you put it in the freezer it turns as hard as a rock and is near impossible to scoop without letting it sit up for awhile.  That is NOT my idea of ice cream.  So when I saw this month’s issue of Cook’s Illustrated promised to solve this issue, I was intrigued.  Let me digress for a second to sing my praises to Cook’s Illustrated magazine.  This is a great bi-monthly magazine with zero thrills and no advertising.  They are brutally honest and test recipes and cook’s tools rigorously, publishing all of their failures and opinions along the way.  Its a great un-biased resource and I have to say, I’ve never been disappointed in a recipe that I’ve tried that they put through the ringer.

All that being said, on to the task of making ice cream that won’t turn into a brick in my freezer.  The article leading up to this recipe was a couple pages long and described the author’s scientific (and no-so-scientific) ways of trying to create ice cream that was soft and creamy.  Basically, it boiled down to the type of sugars used and their different freezing points.  The final (and successful) recipe replaced 1/2 of the sugar with corn syrup because it has smaller molecules that freezes slower and therefore does not allow ice crystals to form.  Okay, so Cook’s Illustrated made it work, but did I?  I’m happy to say that I have soft, scoop-able vanilla bean ice cream hanging out in my freezer that has an amazing consistency.  Its not quite as soft as what I get from the grocery store, but I don’t have to let it sit out 20 minutes before I can eat it, so its a winner in my book!  Word of warning though, this recipe takes forever from start to finish, so make sure you have several hours to dedicate to it…

Love ice cream?  So does Branden and I just bought a Jeni’s Ice Cream cookbook, so we’ll be posting about some of our adventures trying to re-create Jeni’s little bites of heaven at home.  I have high expectations for two reasons: 1.  I love Jeni’s Ice Cream and 2. Jeni tested all of her recipes in a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker to make sure folks could achieve good results at home.  I can’t wait!!!  Until, enjoy some vanilla bean ice cream!

  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 3/4 c. heavy cream
  • 1 1/4 c. whole milk (for those of you in our neck of the woods, we really like Hartzler’s Dairy Whole Milk)
  • 1/2 c. + 2 TBS sugar
  • 1/3 c. light corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  1. Place 8 or 9 inch square metal baking pan in freezer.  Cut vanilla bean in half lengthwise.  Using tip of a pairing knife, scrape out vanilla seeds.  Combine vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan.  Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove saucepan from heat.
  2. While cream mixture heats, whisk yolks and remaining 1/4 cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds.  Slowly whisk 1 cup heated cream mixture into egg yolk mixture.  Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes.  Immediately pour custard into large bowl and let cool until no longer steaming, 10 to 20 minutes.  Transfer 1 cup custard to small bowl.  Cover both bowls with plastic wrap.  Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and cool completely, at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours (small bowl of custard will freeze solid).
  3. Remove custards from refrigerator and freezer.  Scrape frozen custard from small bowl into large bowl of custard.  Stir occasionally until frozen custard has fully dissolved.  Strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and transfer to ice-cream machine.  Churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer ice cream to frozen baking pan and press plastic wrap on surface.  Return to freezer until firm around edges, about 1 hour.
  4. Transfer ice cream to airtight container, pressing firmly to remove any air pockets, and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours.  Serve.  Ice cream can be stored for up to 5 days.

Yield, approximately 1 quart

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Categories: Desserts, Recipes, Snacks | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

  1. Sounds simply wonderful!

  2. Yikes! All that milk would not work so well for me! I’ll leave the eating of this to the pros.

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