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Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 3 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup white sugar (divided)
  • pinch salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 14 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch (or arrowroot starch)
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla-infused vodka (or plain vodka or rum)

  1. Heat half-and-half, 34 cup sugar, salt, and vanilla bean (seeds and pod) in a 2-3 qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. When mixture just begins to steam or simmer, put lid on and remove from heat. Let steep 30-60 minutes.
  2. Return mixture to low heat. In a stand mixer, whisk egg yolks, remaining quarter-cup sugar, cornstarch, and guar gum on high speed until pale yellow, fluffy, and aerated, about 3 minutes.
  3. Ladle out about a cup of the hot cream mixture. With the mixer running on its slowest speed, gradually drizzle in hot cream to gently warm the egg mixture.
  4. Pour cream/egg mixture back into saucepan with remaining cream mixture. Heat on medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until mixture thickens slightly. (Do not let it boil or even simmer; if it bubbles, it's done. If you use a thermometer, the goal temperature is 185°F to 190°F.
  5. Chill mixture completely (preferably overnight).
  6. When ready to freeze, add alcohol (or 1 tablespoon regular vanilla extract). Strain mixture through a sieve directly into freezer bowl to remove vanilla pods and any bits of cooked egg. Freeze in ice cream freezer 15-25 minutes; transfer to storage container and freeze overnight.

Sage Ice Cream Variation

Follow directions for vanilla ice cream using all the same ingredients, but in step one, add:
  • 13 cup packed fresh sage leaves, bruised
  • zest of one lemon (use a vegetable peeler to remove 3-4 long strips of zest)
After step four, but before chilling mixture, remove vanilla pods and lemon zest; discard. Blend mixture with a stick blender (or transfer to a regular blender; be careful blending hot liquids). Strain mixture; chill overnight. Continue with step 6.
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