If ice cream is a thing worth screaming for, then for its most simple, perfectly flavored form—vanilla—we should all be losing our voices. After all, vanilla ice cream is to sundaes as a stretched canvas is to an artist. When working with this recipe, you absolutely must not cut corners. Purchase good vanilla beans. Otherwise, there are so many acceptable forms of ice cream on the grocery shelf that it is not worth your time to make it.
- Yield: 8 CUPS (2 L)
- 5¼ Cups (1.2 kg) whole milk
- ½ cup (120 g) heavy cream
- 1 tbsp (12 g) 1 vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste
- 15 egg yolks (300 g)
- 1 1⁄3 cups (275 g) cups plus scant 1 tbsp granulated sugar
- In a medium stainless-steel or enamel-coated saucepan, combine the milk and heavy cream; bring to a boil over medium heat. While heating the milk mixture, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise with a paring knife and then use the knife to scrape the seeds out from the pod. Add both the seeds and the pod or the vanilla bean paste to the saucepan; whisk to combine. Remove from the heat. Cover the saucepan of hot milk and vanilla; set aside for 1 to 2 hours to create a rich infusion.
- Add ice to a large bowl, filling it just over halfway, and then add cold water to almost cover the ice. Set out a medium bowl that will fit into the ice-water bowl. Make sure the water won't spill out when the smaller bowl is placed into the ice bath. Have a fine-mesh sieve handy.
- In a separate medium bowl, combine the egg yolks and sugar. Whisk to break up the yolks and combine them with the sugar. Return the milk infusion to the stove and bring it back to a boil over medium heat. Temper the egg yolks by adding ½ cup (120 ml) of the hot milk to the egg yolk mixture and whisking to combine. This method will keep the egg yolks from cooking when you add them to the hot milk.
- Slowly add the tempered egg mixture to the milk, whisking the milk mixture constantly as you pour it in. Once the egg yolk mixture is fully incorporated, continue cooking it over medium heat, stirring continuously with a rubber spatula so that the mixture does not stick to the bottom of the saucepan. Use the rubber spatula to keep the sides of the saucepan clean. Cook the mixture until it reaches 180°F (82°C).
- Strain the custard through the prepared finemesh sieve into the medium bowl, removing the vanilla pod and any undesired lumps that may have formed during cooking. Place the bowl of custard into the ice bath and chill it to room temperature. Cover and chill the strained custard in the refrigerator overnight until it “matures,” or reaches about 40°F (4°C). The next day, freeze the custard in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.