The Best Vanilla Ice Cream

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

My favorite ice cream is vanilla, people tell me this is a boring choice – but, I mean… it goes with everything! It’s not that I don’t love cookies ‘n’ cream, salted caramel, raspberry sherbet – you name it – I’m eating it (ice cream love runs in our family genes)! But vanilla really has my heart with it’s simple perfection, it simply never gets old. That being said, there’s plenty of vanilla ice cream out there I’d rather not eat, you know the kind with the weird fake vanilla flavor? This ice cream is another story all together, it’s made with a whole vanilla bean, and it’s the best vanilla I’ve ever had!

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

There aren’t really any health claims attached to this ice cream (other than being gluten free) – it’s a full egg yolk and heavy cream, custard based ice cream, (and yeah, it’s amazing). I usually go through the work of making a custard ice cream a few times a year for special occasions – i.e. Thanksgiving or in this case huckleberry season (above photo). Certain occasions seem to call for certain foods, (or is this just me)? I just can’t let a summer go by without a few bowls of homemade vanilla ice cream paired with the best local summer fruits!

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday! Ice Cream Making Tips:

I went through a crazy ice cream faze, (lasting for years) during which I made at least 1 batch per week, and sometimes more in the summer. One thing I learned is they’ll tell you to cook your custard base to 170ºF, but it will ‘scramble your eggs’ every time! I think the temperature is a guideline to make sure your eggs are not raw, but you want to cook the custard only to the point when it starts to thicken, but not boiling. If you see it start to bubble, immediately remove it from the heat and whisk in the cold heavy cream to cool it down. If this happens, be sure not to let the whisk touch the bottom of the pan where some of the custard has scrambled. Then you simply pour it through a fine mesh sieve leaving any solid custard at the bottom of the pan.

I don’t want to make this sound harder than it is, but I’ve had several phone calls from friends complaining about their custards scrambling at 170ºF. I always give them my tips, (earned from scrambling my own custards) and their next batch turns out fine. So… I thought I’d give you my 2 cents about what I’ve learned along the way, and maybe you won’t have to learn the hard way!

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

When the custard has thickened, it will stay on a spoon without running right off, but it won’t be as thick as a normal baked custard which is almost solid. I’d have to say it’s about half as thick as a pudding.

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

Once the custard has thickened, you whisk in the cold heavy cream to cool down the mixture. Then, I always pour it through a fine mesh sieve to make sure there aren’t any bits. I like to pick out the vanilla beans, and put them back into the strained mixture to steep as the custard cools. When it’s thoroughly chilled, make sure to scrape the vanilla beans before you freeze the custard – quite a few seeds, and lots of vanilla flavor comes from this step!

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

When it’s frozen, it will be similar to soft serve. For a firmer texture, place it in the freezer for 6-8 hours – you want a firmer ice cream if you plan on putting hot fudge sauce over the top, or if you’re serving it with a warm peach crisp!

The Best Vanilla Ice Cream | Get Inspired Everyday!

I hope you enjoy this classic with the best fruits summer has to offer! So far we’ve had it with huckleberries, peaches, and cherries – we ran out of ice cream before I got any further, but there could be an affogato in my near future! Affogato is the Italian dessert were they pour hot espresso over vanilla gelato – it literally means drowned, which seems perfect – anything ‘drowned’ in espresso sounds good to me!

5.0 from 2 reviews
The Best Vanilla Ice Cream
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cup organic cane sugar
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • ¼ Teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 cup heavy whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until they're combined, then slowly whisk in the half and half.
  2. Add the vanilla bean and sea salt and begin to cook your custard over medium heat, whisking constantly.
  3. It will take 10-15 minutes for your custard to fully thicken over medium heat. I don't recommend turning up the burner though because it's too easy to wreck a custard over high heat. Most ice cream recipes call for a double boiler system to cook the custard - I've done it both ways many times and I don't find the double boiler necessary at all. In fact it doubles the cooking time, so you end up at the stove for 30 minutes!
  4. Once the custard thickens (but does not come to a boil) remove it from the heat source and pour in the heavy cream.
  5. Whisk to combine and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. At this point, you can add the vanilla beans back to the custard to steep while it cools in the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight.
  6. When the custard is chilled, remove the vanilla beans being sure to scrape out any extra seeds, and freeze the ice cream according to your manufacturer's instructions.
  7. I use a 2-quart Cuisinart ice cream maker and it takes around 15 minutes to freeze my ice cream. You'll know it's ready when it's frozen enough to stay on a spoon without sliding right off.
  8. When the ice cream is frozen, it will be like soft serve. It will take an additional 6-8 hours in the freezer for a firm, fully frozen ice cream.
  9. This ice cream is perfect right out of the freezer, and only needs 5 minutes on the counter for a softer texture.
Notes
I find custard ice creams easiest to make in a 2 day process, but if you started early in the morning you could have it the same day!


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14 Comments on “The Best Vanilla Ice Cream”

  1. Will you please send this recipe to my e-mail. Also can you send a larger portion recipe for my 6qt. White Mountain ice cream freezer?…have to practice before our Christmas party..I have no experience with recipes since my wife died after 42 yrs. of a wonderful marriage…Thanks for any suggestions and your time…Ron

    1. I’ll be sure to send it to you! I wouldn’t recommend making a big 6-qt batch all at once if you’re fairly new to cooking. It will be much easier to make 3 separate batches of ice cream, chill them, and then freeze it all together in your ice cream machine. Custard based ice creams can be easy to overcook, and I wouldn’t want you to have to test that out for the first time with such a huge batch! Also if you want to practice before your party, it’s usually ok with most ice cream machines to put less in them than their capacity. The only thing that happens when I make a half batch in mine is that the ice cream freezes a bit faster, that way you could have a few trial runs without having to make so much ice cream. Best of luck, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions!

  2. I have been making ice cream with Xyla for a couple of years. If you make it in an ice cream machine it will firm up in the freezer, but it won’t get as hard as a brick. I use about 3/4 cups Xyla, 2 pastured eggs, 2 cups cream, 1 cup milk, vanilla extract to taste and a pinch of salt. If I don’t use the ice cream machine, I put it in the freezer and stir it every hour or so. It turns into a delicious, very cold, slushy. Enjoy

    1. Thanks so much writing in with your experience! I know there are several readers who are diabetic, and I know they’ll really appreciate having your version here for a guaranteed success!

  3. Well, I couldn’t hit the pin button quick enough on this one! “Real” vanilla ice cream with real vanilla cream is my ultimate favorite dessert, one that is worth a little extra work. Like Audrey, I’m wondering is I could also use xylitol???? Huge xylitol fan. I cannot wait to try this, this is the first “real” ice cream recipe I’ve seen on any food blog, most are just kind of recycled store varieties. Awesome!! Love how you paired yours with fruit (which I enjoy) but I may be tempted to add a little hot fudge or chocolate chips =)

    1. Let me know if you make it with xylitol, I’m curious if it works (good chance it will since it’s not baking). Fudge sauce is always a welcome addition to ice cream! 🙂

  4. Ice cream is also my favorite dessert, although I have to say that I am getting better at low carb coconut flour based cakes and muffins!
    I read your blog fairly often because I love the pictures but I follow a ketogenic diet so I can’t make any of the recipes.
    Yesterday I made low carb vanilla ice cream that is nearly the same recipe as yours with 8 egg yolks but I use coconut milk and xylitol instead 🙂 It still turns out super creamy and scoopable! Now I need to try this ice cream drowned in espresso …

  5. Homemade vanilla ice cream with huckleberries!!!!??? You are killing me. I already have way too many kitchen appliances on my hands, but this makes me want to get an ice cream maker.

    1. I hear you on the kitchen appliances, but I wouldn’t give up my ice cream maker for anything! I also used to think I could get by without a food processor, turns out I was really wrong about that one! 🙂

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