“Vanilla Ice Cream” on page 35 of Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Kris Hoogerhyde, Anne Walker and Dabney Gough.
This is the first ice cream recipe I've made in many years that has neither a sweet syrup (which helps keep the ice cream a little softer when fully frozen), nor a texture agent such as corn starch (which grabs free water molecules and helps prevents the ice cream from getting icy). But ice cream never used to include those things, so I suspect it will be fine. I might have to let it sit longer at room temp before serving, and it may have a slightly shorter shelf-life in the freezer.
It also has more vanilla than most - it calls for both a vanilla bean and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. I suspect that I will like the more intense flavor. I used a Madagascar Vanilla bean (my last one from Vanilla Bean Kings which are by far my favorites. I'll order more from VBK when I use up some other beans I have on hand). Because my own homemade vanilla extracts are months away from being ready, I researched vanilla extracts, and splurged on two fancy ones reviewed by Saveur: Organic Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush” by Sonoma Syrup Company (which I used in this recipe) and a Mexican vanilla bean extract Pure Vanilla Extract Elixir by Villa Vainilla, that I purchased for a ice cream recipe that calls for extract made with Mexican vanilla.
Substitutions and Techniques:
- Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar (always) as I prefer the flavor.
- I brought the dairy/sugar/vanilla bean combination to boil, then turned off the heat, and immediately tempered the eggs. Once I added the egg mixture and it thickened, I let it steep for 30 minutes before transferring the custard to my mini milk can for chilling prior to churning. In retrospect, I probably should have done it the way the recipe called for because I suspect the hot dairy is a more effective solvent for the bean than the thickened custard is.
- The recipe doesn't say when to remove the vanilla bean. I fished it out just before churning.
- I used my tedious egg-tempering method (which is basically like theirs but in smaller amounts, and pouring from high up)
- I didn't churn right away - I chilled the custard in my mini milk can in a sink of cold water, then transferred the can to the fridge to chill all day. I churned in the evening.
- I layered in some caramel sauce (see uses section below) when I was packing the ice cream away, to make a ripple.
- Same day: I made a rookie mistake - I stopped the churn in the middle of churning, and then the paddle froze to the sides, and I could NOT get it going again. I am annoyed with myself- I KNEW this would happen (because it's happened before). So I hand mixed the harder sheets of ice cream frozen onto the sides of the bowl into the softer custard as well as I could but I fear the texture won't be representative of the recipe. The soft-serve stage seems OK, but it's hard to say what the end result will be once fully frozen.
- Next day: The flavor is good, but the texture is definitely lacking, and that is probably my fault. I think I'm going to have to make this one again to give it a fair churn.
- One week later: I tried again, and that's when I discovered that I'd actually broken the hub assembly on my ice cream maker (a part that is well-known for breaking, though mine lasted for 7 years). I ordered an after-market replacement. In the meantime I froze the unchurned custard.
- 10 days later: When the part arrived, I thawed the custard, and finally churned it. It seems fine, but I don't think it's a fair representation of the recipe, so I will try one more time.
- The recipe is small - it barely makes a quart.
- I made a new caramel sauce from the Salt and Straw ice cream book though I substituted glucose for the light corn syrup. I failed (again!) to get it dark enough during the cooking, so it's not as richly flavored as it should be, but it was much better than last time. I amended it with a little bourbon, a little black strap rum (very dark) and some orange extract, and it's quite good. And it stayed much softer when frozen, so it made a much better ripple to fold into the ice cream after churning. My last batch was hard like stiff taffy when frozen.