I took a breather this past week. Miss me? I'm back in the kitchen and taking photos, so I've got some good stuff to share in upcoming posts. I hope you'll try today's recipe. It's a goodie.
Here are the reasons for sharing this scrumptious ice cream recipe today:
So, there you have it. We're all screamin' for ice cream, and I've got a yummy recipe to share. I'm starting with my new favorite vanilla bean ice cream recipe. A good basic vanilla ice cream is the perfect complement to so many desserts. Plus, vanilla is King-Man's favorite flavor. So I'm starting here. I'll share other flavors in upcoming posts.
I recently purchased a fabulous new ice cream cookbook called Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Jeni has several hugely popular ice cream shops in Ohio; the mothership is in Columbus. Reading her recipes makes me want to take a trip to Columbus just to sample all the varieties. Seriously. This is an amazing collection of recipes. Her path to business success makes for a good read, too. Instructions are provided for using Jeni's techniques for creating ice cream flavor combinations of your own. That's right up my alley.
Uncommon ingredients, uncommonly delicious results
What's unique about Jeni's approach is some uncommon homemade ice cream ingredients (small amounts of cream cheese, corn starch, and corn syrup) that lead to an uncommonly smooth and creamy texture and rich flavor. At least they're uncommon to me--I've never made ice cream that included those ingredients. Another surprise is achieving such rich flavor without eggs; this is not a custard-based recipe. Jeni uses these same base ingredients in every ice cream recipe in her book, even her frozen yogurt.
I made some minor adjustments, primarily increasing the quantities of ingredients--Jeni's portions resulted in a smaller batch than I wanted. Otherwise, I followed her lead. I've made 3 batches of this recipe and got consistently smooth, creamy, delicious results. King-Man (the resident ice cream lover) can't get enough of this stuff.
Plan ahead 24 hours
You'll need an ice cream freezer. I have a Cuisinart 2 qt. ice cream freezer. LOVE it. So easy to use. I do have to plan ahead, though. The container that fits in the center of the machine has to hang out in the freezer for 24 hours before you make ice cream in it.
Step-by-step photos for making Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
(Don't let the volume of photos mislead you into thinking this is complicated. It's really easy to make this ice cream. The detailed photos are to provide visuals for those who haven't made ice cream before. This mixture goes together very quickly. Honest.)
Step 1. Assemble the ingredients: whole milk, whipping cream, sugar, corn syrup (this is not the icky high-fructose kind), cream cheese, fine sea salt, corn starch, vanilla bean or vanilla paste (or you can substitute vanilla extract).
3 ways to incorporate vanilla into the recipe:
Step 2. Add cream cheese and salt to a large mixing bowl and whisk it to soften the cream cheese and remove any lumps. Set that aside for now.
Step 3. In a small bowl, whisk together the corn starch with some of the milk. Set that aside, too.
Step 4. In a 5 quart pan, combine the remaining ingredients (including the vanilla pod and scraped-out beans, if using). Use medium-high heat to bring them to a rolling boil. Boil for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The photo below is what a rolling boil looks like--it is boiling/bubbling vigorously all around the surface, and you can't stir away the bubbling. Start clocking the 4 minutes of boil time when it looks like this:
Step 5. Remove from heat, and whisk in the corn starch/milk slurry.
Step 6. Return to heat and continue to stir for 1-2 minutes; it will thicken ever-so-slightly.
(If you're using a whole vanilla bean pod, remove the pod from the mixture and discard it now.)
Step 7. Whisk 1/2 cup of the hot liquid into the cream cheese; whisk until smooth and no lumps are left before adding more liquid. Continue gradually adding and whisking hot liquid until all is combined and smooth.
Step 8. The mixture has to be really cold before it can be added to the ice cream machine. If you want to freeze the ice cream ASAP, here's the way to chill the hot liquid quickly. Pour it into a 1-gallon ziploc freezer bag. I use a baggy holder rack to hold open the bag while I pour. Zip the bag shut--make sure there aren't any leaks.
Step 9. Fill a large bowl 3/4 full with ice cubes and add water (it needs to be heavy on the ice cubes). Immerse the bag of hot liquid into the ice water. Chill it for approx. 30 minutes until the liquid is cold throughout, adding more ice cubes if needed.
Make ahead tip: You can make the ice cream mixture up ahead, skip the ice water chill down, and chill it in the refrigerator (at least over night) until you're ready to freeze the ice cream. I made an extra batch of the mixture, poured into a 2-qt mason jar, and held it in the fridge for 3 days before freezing it into ice cream. Turned out great. No different from the ice cream I froze immediately after making the mixture.
Step 10. Time to freeze the ice cream. Follow the instructions for your ice cream maker. I removed my freezer bowl from the freezer (it had been there for the required 24 hours), inserted it into my machine, turned it on, and poured in the chilled ice cream mixture.
In my machine, it took 25 minutes for the ice cream to freeze completely. You know it's ready when the ice cream is pulling away from the sides of the canister.
The finished ice cream has a soft-serve consistency. It's smooth but slightly grainy at this point. The texture gets smoother/creamier/better when you put it in the freezer for a few hours.
Step 11. Transfer the ice cream to a container. Tap it on the counter to remove any bubbles and level it. Cover the surface with a piece of parchment paper (or use wax paper; but, don't use plastic wrap--it can stick in the folds of the ice cream and be hard to remove). Put an air-tight lid on it.
Step 12. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer for at least 4 hours.
Step 13. When it's time to serve the ice cream, remove it from the freezer & peel off the parchment paper. If it's too hard to scoop, let it sit out for 5 or so minutes--that will soften it enough to be scoopable.
At last, time to sample this creamy goodness. Look at those vanilla bean specks.
This is a great fix for the hot weather blues.
Try adding some berries or other favorite fruit or toppings. Try chopped fresh mangoes on this ice cream--to die for! Here are two more of my favorite toppings (from previous posts).
Better eat this before it melts.
Don't forget to eat ice cream this month. It's the law.
Make it a yummy day!
Looking for a fun wedding or summer gift?
Everyone loves ice cream. Here's a great 3-gift combo:
(click on images for Amazon.com links)
Check out this easy chocolate ice cream recipe--no machine required!
Individual Chocolate Dream Ice Cream Cups