Friday, October 5, 2012

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

As a general rule, I'm not a big fan of plain vanilla. Too bland; it's okay as an "a la mode" to the main attraction, but even then I often find it unnecessary. But I do enjoy a good vanilla custard...especially if it's made with real vanilla bean, not just vanilla flavoring. So, for ice's a rich vanilla bean ice cream recipe. (Though I still prefer it as an "a la mode" to pie or cobbler, or swirled with another flavor...)

2 C whole milk
2 C heavy cream
1 C sugar
1-2 vanilla beans
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/8 tsp salt

Beat eggs in medium mixing bowl, set aside.

Combine milk, cream and sugar in a saucepan. Split vanilla bean(s) lengthwise. Scrape out seeds with a sharp knife; add seeds and pod(s) to saucepan. Bring the mixture just to a boil, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; remove pod(s).

Slowly pour half of hot milk mixture into bowl of beaten eggs, stirring constantly (to temper eggs). Add all of this back into saucepan and bring the mixture just to boiling point; don't let it boil. Remove from heat. Strain custard through a fine sieve. Stir in salt and vanilla extract (not necessary if you use two beans) until well combined.

Cover with plastic wrap (directly on top of custard to prevent skin from forming); chill 3-4 hours.

Process the chilled mixture in ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer to an airtight container and freeze 2 or more hours.

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