Ice cream always has been, and always will be, my favorite dessert. With endless varieties to choose from, you might think that some exotic flavor would be my favorite. However, no matter how many ice cream flavors I try, I always come back to vanilla. I read once that vanilla is the most popular ice cream flavor in our country. In fact, Thomas Jefferson wrote the first American recipe for ice cream, and it can be seen in his papers at the Library of Congress (or here). While ice cream is widely available now, I’d like to think Jefferson would approve of making it from scratch. After all, everyone can benefit from a fabulous vanilla ice cream recipe. If you’re still looking for the one, look no further.
This recipe is everything vanilla ice cream should be – rich, creamy and speckled with flecks of vanilla bean. This ice cream can serve as the base for so many delicious toppings (homemade caramel sauce, perhaps?) and also tastes wonderful as an accompaniment to almost any dessert. My favorite way to eat this, though, is simply with sliced, fresh strawberries on top. There’s something so insanely satisfying and refreshing about it, and I honestly can’t get enough. If I had to pick one ice cream to keep in my freezer year round, this would be it.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Makes about 1 quart
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Combine the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Once the mixture is warm, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into it and add the bean. Cover, remove from heat and allow to steep for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Pour the remaining cup of cream into a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and set a mesh strainer on top. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm liquid over the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (or spatula). Pour the mixture through the strainer and stir into the cream until incorporated. Place in an ice bath until cool, then chill completely in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, then freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions.
Source: The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz
PS – I couldn’t help but share this snapshot my friend Jessica took of me and David together at BlogHer Food: