Vanilla Ice Cream

I scream!  You scream!  We all scream for ICE CREAM!

Just last week I was joking with some girlfriends about my summer goals.  And with summer over, we laughed at each other about the goals we make each summer and don’t achieve.  My original goals – organize the back basement (nope), read more (kinda), hang at the pool everyday  (heck no, I think we went six times this summer), and master ice cream making (I am pleased to say, I am well on my way.)  Because ice cream was a goal, I gifted myself an ice cream maker for Mother’s Day, so I have been testing recipes for a few months now, and yesterday I finally got enough photos of the process to share with you.

A little chat about ice cream.  Ice cream takes patience and time.  I know it’s the two things we all just have at the tip of our finger tips, but I am telling you, it’s worth it.  Ice cream is a two day project.  I have tried speeding it up, but it doesn’t taste nearly as good, and in reality it’s only about two hours of active time over 36 hours or so.

Because this is the first of a few ice cream flavors, let’s talk about the tools.  You are going to need an ice cream maker.  It can be old fashioned and you crank with salt and ice, or an attachment to your stand mixer, or bowls you freeze ahead and put into a machine, or an ice cream maker with a compressor.  That’s the one I gave myself.  I have made 12 batches of ice cream this summer, and it was really nice not sacrificing freezer space for the bowls.

Other tools that will come in handy include glass bowls, strainer or mesh sieve, wooden spoons, whisks, post-its and masking tape.


I like to put on my favorite music and just get to it.

Prep the vanilla pods. Shown below, I used a pairing knife to split them open and scrape the beans out.

With a medium size sauce pot, on medium high heat, warm the milk, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla pods and beans.  When you are purchasing the heavy cream, make sure it is not ultra pasteurized. Unfortunately, it makes the ice cream very icy, so it doesn’t have smooth, creamy texture.  Heat the milk mixture just until simmering and stirring occasionally.  Once simmering, remove from the heat source for five minutes.

Separate the eggs.  You can save the whites for other uses, or discard them.  Add in the remaining sugar and whisk.

Now the “tricky” part.  I say this because at some point, you will be tired, distracted, or a litany of other things, and you will scramble the eggs, and have to start over.  It happens.  It happened to me several times this summer.  Using a ladle in one hand, a whisk in another, slowly add the milk to the eggs, whisking the entire time.  Add several ladle fulls, and then pour all the of the milk into the eggs and whisk to combine.

Return the mixture back to the pot, back the stovetop, and on medium heat, using a wooden spoon stir constantly for five minutes.  Now, for the first four minutes you will be listening to the music and thinking, nothing is happening.  I kid you not, it’s the 4 minute and 30 second mark that you suddenly will notice the custard is thickening.

When the custard sticks to the back of the wooden spoon, and when you run your finger thru it, it doesn’t drip, remove it from the heat.

Strain the custard.

Let cool for one hour on the counter. (Note the tape tells me the flavor, and time it began cooling.  The post it tells me what to add before putting it in the fridge.)

After one hour, add a pinch of salt and vanilla.  Cover with plastic wrap and put in the back of the fridge for a minimum of eight hours.

I have the most success making the custard after I drop the boys off at school, as there are fewer distractions and you can’t really walk away from the stove once you start, or I make it after I tuck them into bed for the night, so it still has all night to set in the fridge.

The next morning, using the guidelines of my ice cream maker, I freeze the custard.

Most ice cream makers even after mixing require the ice cream to set in the freezer for several hours before it is ready.  Mine is that way.  Store the ice cream in a airtight container and label using masking tape.  (Pro tip* masking tape makes great labels, when you are finish with the container, peel the tape off before putting it in the dishwasher, or your label becomes permanent.)


Vanilla Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart

1 c milk (whole or 2%)
2 c heavy cream (pasteurized, but not ultra pasteurized)
2 vanilla pods, cut and scraped
2/3 c sugar, divided
6 egg yolks
pinch of salt
1 t vanilla extract

In a medium sauce pot, on medium high heat, combine the milk, heavy cream, 1/3 cup of sugar, and vanilla pods and beans.  Bring to just a simmer and remove from the heat for five minutes.

Temper the milk mixture into the eggs, one ladle at a time, whisking constantly. Add in the remaining cream mixture combine. 

Return to the pot, on medium high heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. This will only take 5 minutes at the most. When the custard sticks to the back of the wooden spoon, and when you run your finger thru it, it doesn’t drip, remove it from the heat. Strain thru a fine mesh sieve, and cool for one hour.  Add in 1 tsp vanilla and a pinch of salt.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 hours at minimum.  

Follow the directions on your ice cream maker.  Allow to set in the freezer for several hours before serving.  This will keep in the freezer in an airtight container for several days.  (It will keep longer, but tastes best when it’s eaten within five days.)


One Reply to “Vanilla Ice Cream”

  1. […] you, possibly the most decadent treat to date.  As you know, I spent part of my summer working on ice cream recipes.  God bless my family because they all got on the flavor train, which was really great because I […]

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