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  1. Wednesday, June 6, 2012

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

    Back when I first got my ice cream maker, I was addicted to making frozen yogurt. It’s just so easy and fast to throw together…and it is sooooo yummy. But I wasn’t all that convinced that making homemade ice cream was worth the trouble. I made it a few times, but the recipe I was using (which came from a reputable ice cream source, by the way) left something to be desired…there was a bit of a greasy after-feel and, I don’t know, it was just good, not great.

    I decided last week to give homemade ice cream another try. I searched for recipes on the Internet, didn’t really find one that pulled me in, and then I remembered my Cook’s Illustrated cookbook sitting on the shelf. I felt confident that they would have a good ice cream recipe and decided I would use it, even before reviewing it.

    Up until the moment we ate the stuff I was still wondering if it was worth the work. Making the ice cream takes time and planning. As I stood at the stove stirring and stirring and stirring, I just wasn’t so sure it would be worth it.

    And then. THEN. We ate the ice cream. It was totally worth it. This recipe kicks you-know-what. Flavor? Fantastic. Texture? Creamy and dreamy. Even after sitting in the freezer a few days, the ice cream never got icy. It was miraculous. I’m making it again for sure…I even bought more cream and whole milk today to make more!

    Tomorrow I will share the chocolate ice cream recipe I tried, which was equally as delicious. Mmmmmmmmm…

    Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
    From the Cook’s Illustrated cookbook
    Recipe type: Dessert
    Serves: 1 quart
    • 1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract (I used Penzey’s vanilla extract)
    • 1¾ cups heavy cream
    • 1¼ cups whole milk
    • ½ plus 2 tablespoons (4½ ounces) sugar
    • ⅓ cup light corn syrup
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 6 large egg yolks
    1. Place an 8 or 9 inch metal baking pan in the freezer.
    2. If using vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise. Using tip of paring knife, scrape out vanilla seeds. Combine vanilla bean, seeds, cream, milk, 6 tablespoons sugar, corn syrup, and salt in medium saucepan. Heat over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture is steaming steadily and registers 175 degrees, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat. (Jane note: mine wasn’t steaming all that steadily, just a bit, but I took it off the heat once it hit 175 degrees. PS”¦if you don’t have an instant read electronic thermometer, you should get that along with your Cook’s Illustrated cookbook.)
    3. While cream mixture heats, whisk egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup sugar in bowl until smooth, about 30 seconds. Slowly whisk 1 cup heated cream mixture into egg yolks mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and registers 180 degrees, 7 to 14 minutes. (Jane note: I think I only went to about 178 degrees”¦it seems like mine got stuck there, so I got impatient and called it a day at that point.) Immediately pour custard into large bowl and let cool until no longer steaming, 10-20 minutes. Transfer 1 cup custard to small bowl. Cover both bowls with plastic wrap. Place large bowl in refrigerator and small bowl in freezer and let cool completely, at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. (Small bowl of custard will freeze solid.) (Jane note: I don’t think my small bowl was frozen completely solid, but it was frozen for sure.)
    4. Remove custards from fridge and freezer. Scrape frozen custard from small bowl into large bowl of custard. Stir occasionally until frozen custard has fully dissolved. (Jane note: I just realized I didn’t even read this step”¦I just mixed them together until it was pretty evenly mixed, but not dissolved, and then tossed it in the ice cream machine”¦no waiting arround.) Strain custard through fine-mesh strainer and transfer to ice cream machine. (Jane note: again, I totally didn’t read this part of the directions”¦didn’t do the strainer! Everything was fine, but it’s probably best to strain in case you get some lumps while cooking the custard.) Churn until mixture resembles thick soft-serve ice cream and registers about 21 degrees, 15-25 minutes. Transfer to metal pan, and press plastic wrap on surface. Freeze for 1 hour until edges are firm, then pack into a storage container with tight fitting lid and store in freezer up to 5 days. (Jane note: Cook’s Illustrated recommends freezing an additional 2 hours at this point”¦of course it’s delicious when it’s totally frozen, but it is also delicious ever step of the way! We totally ate it right when it was done churning”¦and we also ate it later after freezing. It was awesome both ways!) Can be frozen up to 5 days.