Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Summer is winding down... But don't put away your ice cream maker just yet!

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Even though Labor Day weekend typically marks the end of the traditional summer season, summer isn't really over yet. We still have two weeks to go until the official first day of fall. While you may be thinking this blog post about homemade ice cream is totally out of place, I promise you, it's not.

Yes, digging into a bowl of ice cream can be an excellent way to beat the heat in the summertime, especially on those days when it's so hot that the idea of climbing into a bathtub filled with ice cubes sounds more appealing than crazy. But I know of no rule that states that ice cream is only meant for the summer.

Just think about those of those lovely fall desserts -- like apple crisp -- that are delicious all on their own but turn into something truly magical when served warm with a generous scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream on top.

So, with those desserts in mind, I give you my recipe for Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, an ice cream so rich and flavorful, you're going to want to put it on everything.

(And I won't judge you if you do.)

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Since this is a custard-style ice cream, you'll need to add a mixture of egg yolks and sugar to a heated mixture consisting of milk, cream, sugar, salt, and a scraped vanilla bean in order to make the base. For those who've made my Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato, this process will seem very familiar to you.

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See all of those gorgeous black flecks of vanilla? They're giving that combined mixture a ton of flavor.

Once the mixture has thickened slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon, pour it through a fine mesh strainer and bring it to room temperature. When it has cooled down, stir in some vanilla extract, cover it with plastic wrap, and then let it sit in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.

Naturally, the longer you let it sit in there, the more flavorful the ice cream will be. It'll be tempting to put the mixture in your ice cream maker right away, but try and wait as long as possible. It'll be worth it in the end!

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When you've waited for as long as you can stand, turn on your ice cream maker and pour the mixture into the frozen freezer bowl. If you're anything like me, eager to get to the eating of the ice cream, then do this next step first thing in the morning, while waiting for your coffee to brew.

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Let the mixture churn for about 20 minutes, and then transfer it to an airtight container and place it in the freezer for about 2 hours.

(Yes, more waiting.)

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Because the ice cream will still be on the soft side after churning, you want to give it time to hang out in the freezer so it firms up. Firmer ice cream works better as a dessert topper.

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BUT... If you're planning on eating the ice cream straight up and don't mind a softer consistency, then by all means, grab a spoon after the ice cream has finished churning and dig right in!

To get the recipe, keep scrolling. To see which dessert I paired with the ice cream, stay tuned for my next blog post!

What's your favorite fall dessert? Do you like to put ice cream on top of it? Let me know in the comments!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Yield: 6 cups / 12 servings | Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup sugar, divided
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 whole vanilla bean, halved lengthwise and seeds scraped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the milk, cream, 1/2 cup of sugar, salt, and the scraped vanilla bean (including the pod). Cook until the sugar has dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  2. While the milk/cream mixture is cooking, combine the egg yolks and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium bowl. Using a hand mixer on low speed or a wire whisk, beat the egg yolks until the mixture is thick and pale yellow in color.
  3. Carefully pour a ladle-full of the milk/cream mixture into the bowl, stirring quickly in order to temper the eggs. Stir in another ladle-full of the milk/cream mixture until fully incorporated and then return the combined mixture to the saucepan.
  4. Turn the heat down to low and, using a wooden spoon, stir the combined mixture constantly until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon. This process should only take a few minutes.
  5. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, discarding the vanilla pod, and allow it to come to room temperature.
  6. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  7. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, laying the plastic wrap directly on its surface, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or overnight. (I refrigerated it overnight.)
  8. Turn on your ice cream maker, and pour the mixture into the prepared freezer bowl. Let the mixture churn until thickened, about 20 minutes.
  9. Scoop the soft ice cream into an air-tight container and place it in the freezer to set for about 2 hours before serving.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go // adapted from Cuisinart

Taste As You Go Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate product links. Clicking on the links may result in my being paid a commission based on product sales. Regardless of commission, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.

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