I used to buy ice cream from the stores.
Not any more.
Not since my cousin Lynette gave me an ice cream maker for my birthday a few years ago.
Because my machine is meant for users in the US, I have to use an adapter in order to be able to operate it in Singapore. A bit tedious, yes, but the results of home made ice cream is so much better than anything you can get from the stores.
I think there are basically two reasons for this.
One being, obviously, that when I make ice cream, I only use the best ingredients from organic eggs to Valrhona chocolate to Madagascar vanilla beans. This makes a huge difference to the end results.
The second reason is that once I have churned the ice cream, it is placed in the freezer immediately and is consumed within a couple of weeks (if it lasts that long). This means that the ice crystals do not get to form, and that makes the ice cream more creamy, and hence, more delicious.
My vanilla bean ice cream was made in the French style. This means that a custard was made, before being churned.
I started by separating the egg yolks from the whites. I use organic eggs because I prefer my ice cream to be more yellowish. The darker your yolks, the yellower the end results.
I also added one cup of the cream into a big bowl and placed a sieve over the bowl.
This was set aside.
I then combined the milk, sugar, salt and one cup of the cream in a saucepan. Because I ran out of vanilla pods, I used vanilla bean paste instead. Vanilla bean paste is made by infusing vanilla beans into a thick, sweet syrup made with sugar, water and a natural thickener. The vanilla beans are scrapped into the paste, so you will get all the lovely little vanilla bean specks along with the vanilla bean flavour.
Over medium heat, I whisked the mixture so that the sugar would dissolve and the mixture was warmed.
Once the sugar had dissolved, I whisked the egg yolks.
And poured the cream-milk-sugar-salt-vanilla beans mixture into this bowl, whisking continuously.
This was then poured back into the saucepan and using a spatula, I stirred the mixture continuously over medium heat. This is very important. Do not stop stirring unless you want scramble eggs ice cream!
The mixture would start to thicken.
I kept stirring. And the mixture became thicker.
When the mixture coats the back of a spoon, the custard is ready.
I normally draw a line on the spatula. If the line remains in place, I know my custard is ready.
The custard was poured into the sieve. The bits that remained on the sieve were discarded.
I continued to stir the mixture until it became even.
I placed the bowl of custard in an ice bath and added the vanilla extract.
And stirred until the custard had cooled.
Then the custard was placed in a container to be chilled in the fridge.
Once chilled, I churned my custard in the ice cream machine.
Then I placed it in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up.
And I got to eat the ice cream!
French Style Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (Serves 4-6)
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream, divided
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and the salt in a medium saucepan.
2. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the pan and drop in the vanilla pod. 3. Heat over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is warmed through.
4. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let the mixture steep for 30 minutes.
5. Pour the remaining cup of cream into a bowl and set a fine mesh sieve over the top.
6. In a separate medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the bowl with the egg yolks, whisking constantly.
7. Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and place over medium heat.
8. Cook, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan, until the mixture thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon.
9. Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the bowl with the cream.
10. Stir in the vanilla. Let cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate until completely chilled.
11. Remove the vanilla bean before churning.
12. Freeze in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.