The perfect base for a variety of toppings, vanilla ice cream is a classic treat that almost anyone would enjoy. Try this simple and delicious recipe on a baked dessert or bowl of fresh fruit for your next summer get-together (or quiet night in).
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Yield: 1 1/2 quarts
2 cups (500 mL) whole milk
1/2 vanilla bean (split open with the seeds scraped out), or 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
1/2 cup (about 100 grams) granulated sugar
1) Add the milk and vanilla to a medium sauce pot, and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it comes to a boil, turn off the heat and let the mixture steep about 5 to 10 minutes.*
2) Meanwhile, separate the eggs and reserve the yolks. Whisk the yolks and sugar together in a separate medium sized bowl until light and pale yellow in color (about 2 minutes).
3) Once the milk has infused (and slightly cooled), remove the bean (if using), and pour the milk mixture over the yolk mixture. Continually whisk as you incorporate the two. Return the mixture to the sauce pot and cook over medium heat until the ice cream base becomes nappant (coats the back of a spoon), about 10 to 20 minutes. Do NOT boil the ice cream base or the eggs will overcook and curdle. The time it takes for the mixture to thicken could vary depending on the burner temperature, but be patient! Beautiful, creamy ice cream is closer than you think.
4) Once the mixture has thickened, pour the ice cream base through a fine-mesh strainer and into a bowl (this will remove any lumps). Next, place the ice cream base over another bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and to allow the mixture to cool quickly. Once completely cool, transfer the mixture to an ice cream machine and churn to desired consistency. Freeze the ice cream to set and store in an airtight container for up to three months.
* When infusing the milk and vanilla, add the entire vanilla bean! The milk will have a much stronger vanilla flavor if the entire bean is incorporated, not just the seeds. However, it is important to split open the vanilla bean so the seeds can escape, and the final product will have beautiful black seeds throughout.
Fun Fact: The traditional French name for an ice cream base is crème anglaise (translating to “English cream”). Crème anglaise is most basically a custard that can be eaten chilled or frozen, but today we know this recipe as a classic frozen ice cream.