Sunday, May 15, 2005

Homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

I received an ice cream maker as a mother's day gift. (Aren't my children very clever when it comes to choosing gifts?) First Zeynep tried it, but in her impatience to see results, she could not wait for the inner compartment to freeze for 6-22 hours. She took it out after only 4 hours, and what she made with that was delicious, but it was of a much softer consistency than ice cream. Of course, it did not go to waste, it was put back in the freezer and eaten as a frozen treat. On Friday, I tried the vanilla ice cream recipe from the booklet that came with the machine. I must have cooked the custard too long, because it curdled. But I put it through a sieve and proceeded with the recipe. The end result was a very delicious ice cream; better, in fact, than most store-bought varities. By the way, the bowl you see in the above picture was thrown on the wheel by Zeynep in her clay class.

1 1/2 c whole milk
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 whole vanilla bean
2 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
3/4 c sugar

Combine the milk and cream in a saucepan. Use a sharp knife to split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds. Stir the seeds and the bean pod into the milk/cream mixture. Bring it to a slow boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Combine the eggs, egg yolks and sugar. Beat until the mixture is thick, smooth and pale yellow in color, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Remove the bean pod from the milk/cream mixture. Pour the hot liquid in a slow, steady stream into the egg yolk mixture while beating on low speed continuously. Transfer back to the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, over medium heat until the mixture is thick enough to cover the back of the spoon. Transfer to a bowl, cover surface with plastic wrap and chill completely.

Turn the ice cream machine on, pour in the custard and let mix until thickened.