I totally and utterly blame Tiffany for this new project – but I'm actually really glad she nudged my into it… because – without ever planning to – I've become somewhat of an ice-cream expert, thinking, living and eating! ice-cream 24/7…
It all started in May when I decided to upgrade from my old 20 quid churner to a 'professional' ice-cream machine with a compressor. From then it was ice-cream experimentation every day. How not?! It's so frickin delicious and there are absolutely no limits to your imagination. But no matter how much stuff you decide to throw into the mix you need to get a grip on the basics. And the most basic (and still most popular of all) ice-creams is…
Now, the perfect vanilla ice-cream should be creamy, rich, full of real vanilla bean flavour and the shade of Pantone Smart 12-0722. After we've eaten ourselves through many variations and I think this recipe gives you the real deal:
400ml (1½ cups) cream*
200ml (1 cup) full-fat milk**
120g (½ cup) sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 egg yolks (from medium or large eggs)
1 teaspoon pure, natural vanilla extract
1. Put cream, milk, half of the sugar and salt into a heavy pot. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean and add seeds and pod to mix. Heat up over medium heat until mixture starts simmering (bubbles form around the edges). Cover and let infuse for 30-60 minutes.
2. Whisk the egg yolks with the rest of the sugar (just a bit, they don't need to get foamy).
3. Reheat your cream-milk-sugar mixture to just below cooking point (as in point 1), take off the heat and little by little! (1/2 a cup at the time) add to your egg yolk mix while whisking the eggs constantly.
4. Pour the whole mixture back into the pot and slowly heat up, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture thicken, but don't let it come to a boil! (Your're actually making a custard here.) It's fine when you coat the back of your spoon and run a finger through it and it holds a clear path.
5. Strain the custard through a sieve*** and place the container into an ice-water bath. When it's cooled to room temperature you can put the container into the fridge. Let it cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.
6. Start your ice-cream machine****, pour in the cold mixture, add the vanilla extract and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.
Extra tip: Pre-freeze your ice-cream container in the freezer so the ice-cream doesn't melt so quickly.
That's for starters because… based on this recipe anything is possible! ♥
*I use whipping cream because in Germany there's no heavy cream – both is fine. The more fat the ice-cream contains the smoother and creamier it will be, but fat tends to suppress the flavours.
**Yes, I'm aware that the millilitre to cups measurements do not correspond 100%, but it would get too awkward otherwise; also things change anyway depending what kind of cream, milk etc. you use. It's all up for experimentation.
***Don't throw away the vanilla pods. You can wash and dry them and add them to sugar to make vanilla sugar.
****Yes, I know… a machine! But you can get a basic ice-cream machine these days for under 20 quid. It's really worth the investment.