Ilene’s Creamery: Basic Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

by ilene on July 23, 2012 · 2 comments

in ilene's creamery, recipes, Uncategorized

(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:


I never used real vanilla beans before, but I’ve watched enough Martha Stewart episodes to know how to scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean pods:


The vanilla bean recipe requires warming up the milk, sugar, cream and salt and letting the vanilla seeds and the pods soak and infuse in the milk for half an hour:

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 chilling the custard in the fridge for 8 hours, I churned it in my icecream maker according to the cuisinart instructions:

After half an hour, the custard turned smooth and thick. It magically turned into icecream!

I was pretty tempted to just eat this by the spoonful at this stage, but its still too soft and need to be frozen. I put it in tupperware and froze for a few more hours:

The end result? Yummy deliciousness!!!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gigi July 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

Wow! Vanilla ice cream was my first love in the world of creamy desserts, and you have pictured it well. Thanks for providing instructional photos!

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2 Joy July 23, 2012 at 1:05 pm

You should have a taste test with your homemade ice cream vs. a store bought low quality ice cream just to see if people can taste the difference!

I’ve found that the recipes that have instructions about what temperature the custard should cook to before removing it from heat have a much smaller failure rate. =)

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