Vanilla Bean Ice cream


Have you ever had true Vanilla Ice cream? I mean not the ones with vanilla essence or even vanilla extract but pure tiny black speckles of vanilla from an actual vanilla pod? If not, you have to try this one. If yes, I still urge you to try this at home. Nothing can beat the enormous satisfaction of having a creamy, fresh and preservative free home made Ice Cream.

This classic vanilla ice cream recipe uses a vanilla pod which I admit is expensive but is well worth the price for the superior flavor that it imparts. Don't worry though if for some reason you cannot use a vanilla pod. Use pure vanilla extract instead. Do not for a moment think that the pricey vanilla pod would get wasted, that can be termed as a sin. Rinse the pod, dry it and store it in a can of caster sugar and after a few days, you will have your vanilla scented sugar that you can use for baking or for adding to a glass of warm milk during those chilly comforting!

Source: The Ice cream book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis.

Note: The original recipe calls for cornflour. But somehow, I kind of do not like using it and avoid it as much as possible. The only difference that cornflour does is that it thickens your custard sooner.

Serves Four
1 Vanilla pod
300 ml / 1/2 pint semi skimmed milk
4 large egg yolks
75 grams / 3 ounces caster sugar
300 ml / 1/2 pint sweetened double or whipping cream

Slit the vanilla pod lengthwise. In a thick bottom pan, combine and mix the milk and the cream. Add the vanilla pod and heat the mixture on low flame until you can see tiny bubbles on the sides of the pan.

Remove from the flame and let the mixture rest for 30 mins for the flavors to infuse. After the resting period, lift the vanilla pod from the milk mixture and still holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small or a pairing knife into the milk mixture.

Set the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk mixture to a just boiling point. Turn off the flame.  Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, combine the egg yolks and the sugar and beat them with a hand held whisk or an electric beater till fluffy and creamy. Gradually pour on the hot milk, whisking constantly.

Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a slow flame, stirring all the time. When the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon thickly and when a line drawn on the back of the spoon remains, turn off the flame and let the mixture cool and then chill it.

If using an ice cream maker, add the chilled mixture in the ice cream maker bowl and churn on the lowest speed for about 8 to 10 mins until the consistency is of a thick milkshake. Transfer the mixture to a freezer proof air tight container and freeze for a couple of hours or preferably overnight.

If making by hand, transfer the chilled mixture to a freezer proof air tight container and freeze until the mixture is semi frozen. Divide the mixture into 4 to 5 parts and process in a grinder one part at a time until the mixture is of a thick paste consistency. Once the entire mixture has been processed, return it to the container and freeze again until semi frozen. Repeat the process 2 more times. Freeze the mixture for a couple of hours or preferably overnight.

Enjoy your delicious, homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

Important Notes: There are two things that can go wrong when making ice cream with a custard base. First, ensure that you constantly whisk the mixture while adding the milk mixture to the egg yolks to avoid the risk of curdling the mixture. Second, do not over churn your mixture in the ice cream maker. Else, you will have a greasy after taste left on your tongue while eating the ice cream. Over churning is rarely possible when making the ice cream by hand.

Happy Ice Creaming!!!

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