Tossing a carton of ice cream in your shopping cart might be second nature, but making your own can spark your imagination with endless possibilities. Ice cream, after all, is but a cool ivory canvas, waiting to be flavoured with your favourite ingredients.
If you’re wondering if it’s worth the effort, you’ve probably never tasted homemade. Fortunately, today’s electric ice cream makers transform chilled liquid into a frozen dessert with a flick of a switch.
The custard base is simple to make with a wide margin for tinkering. You can get away with using less yolks or more liquid than the recipe calls for and still have the best ice cream imaginable. No need to rush off to the store if you’re a little short on one ingredient or another.
This formula, found in Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio, makes for an ultra-rich ice cream. For a lighter ice cream — if you can call a cream-based dessert light — reduce the yolks by two or three.
I’ve added pure vanilla to flavour the base recipe. For variations on this recipe, see strawberry and coffee flavoured ice cream.
Originally published in EAT Magazine‘s July/August 2012 issue.
Makes 3 1/2 Cups
■ 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
■ 1 1⁄2 cups 35% cream
■ 9 egg yolks
■ 3⁄4 cup sugar
■ one vanilla pod
■ one vanilla pod
■ bowl of ice water
■ An electric ice cream maker
■ fine-mesh strainer
Place a fresh vanilla pod on a flat work surface and, with a paring knife, slit the pod in half lengthwise. Using the dull side of the paring knife, scrape the minute seeds from both halves of the pod. Set aside the vanilla seeds until the custard is ready.
(Save the pods to flavour your sugar with vanilla. With vanilla sugar on hand, you’ll never have to buy vanilla extract.)
Pour the milk and cream into a medium-sized saucepan until the mixture just begins to boil. Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar. Add about 3⁄4 cup of the warm milk and cream mixture to the egg yolks and whisk until well combined. Slowly pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk and cream mixture and bring to a bare simmer, whisking continuously, being careful not to bring to a boil.
The custard is ready when the mixture thickens and lightly coats the back of a spoon.
Pour the mixture through a strainer into a bowl or pitcher. Add the vanilla seeds. (If you add the vanilla seeds prior to this step, you’ll lose flecks of vanilla seed in the strainer.)
To cool the mixture quickly, place the bowl or pitcher into a larger bowl filled with ice. Cover the custard with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until well chilled.
Pour the mixture into a frozen canister and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions.
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