The Best Vanilla Ice Cream

Get ready for gratuitous rabbit shot (s) Wednesday!  Ok…maybe that won’t be a thing, but hey, don’t think about it, just look at this cute bunny.

Why are we divided into people who crave the dark sinfulness of chocolate, and those who prefer the light, clean taste of vanilla?  I was definitely one of those kids that liked the middle option on the soft serve machine of swirling the two together, which is ironic now given how dichotomous I am in most aspects of my personality.

Usually, I’m all about the black vs. white, the passionate, undying interest vs, the nonchalant passing glance of apathy.  But I guess when it comes to food, it’s all just undying interest, so I’m into everything.

You can see that I mixed in my failed attempt at cookie dough fudge.  It worked great in the ice cream!

I love vanilla ice cream…but I also love chocolate ice cream.  And mint chocolate chip…and cookie dough, and many many other flavors.  Still, nothing beats the elegant simplicity of vanilla, and this is the king of vanilla ice creams.

I love David Lebovitz’s cookbook Ready for Dessert.  I’d highly recommend picking it up if you have the means.  Or you can wait until I post about every recipe since I’m dying to make them all.  Your choice.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

1 cup whole milk

pinch of salt

¾ cup sugar

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

2 cups heavy cream

5 large egg yolks

¾ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, salt and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the saucepan, then drop in the pod.  Cover, remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.

Pour the cream into a medium bowl and set a mesh strainer on top.  Reheat the milk mixture until it’s warm.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, then gradually add some of the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.  Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan.  Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula.   Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the heavy cream.  Rinse the vanilla pod and return it to the custard to continue steeping; stir in the vanilla extract.

Let the custard come to room temperature, then cover with plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 8 hours.  Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the chilled custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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