(This is part of a series I wrote on ice cream making. See full list of posts here.)
Hi! Since July is National Ice Cream Month, I’m starting a series on home made icecream! I’m writing about my adventures in ice cream making and sharing with you all what I learned along the process. For my first attempt at churning out homemade ice cream, I decided to try my hand at basic vanilla bean ice cream. If I could make a terrific plain vanilla ice cream, I could add all sorts of goodies to it like cookie dough, oreo cookies or caramel to make it all fancy later. I think its always good to have a quart of plain vanilla ice cream in the freezer to add to desserts when guests come over for dinner, too. Any brownie, pie or cookie tastes better with a scoop of vanilla bean icecream next to it!
The vanilla ice cream recipe is the first recipe in David Lebowitz‘s book “The Perfect Scoop” (recipe online here) so it was a great one to tackle first. After reading up on all sorts of ice cream books and online articles, the best tip I read was to use the best ingredients possible. Your ice cream is only as good as the ingredients you put inside it. One the benefits of making your own ice cream is that you can put in all the best ingredients, so I tried to use organic milk, cream and eggs. For the vanilla extract, I used vanilla from a bottle that we got during our honeymoon in Tahiti:
No one tells you this, but ice cream making is physically kind of tiring!! It requires lots of whisking and stirring. My arms got sore! You have to whisk constantly and act quickly:
Most ice cream recipes start off with making a egg custard base, at least for French-style ice-cream, which is richer, creamier and thicker than Philadelphia-style ice cream. Anyone who has ever made homemade ice cream knows that making the custard is the trickiest part. Too much heat and you end up with curdling or scrambled eggs. Too little heat and your custard will never thicken. Always have an ice bath ready with a chilled bowl inside it so once you pull the custard off the stove, you can strain it immediately into the chilled bowl and stop the cooking process immediately. Its a little nerve wrecking getting this process down. I’m normally watching the custard like a hawk and sweating from the heat and anxiety. I always have extra eggs and cream in the fridge because there is a high chance of messing up!
After half an hour, the custard turned smooth and thick. It magically turned into icecream!