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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

December 19, 2010

Sure, it’s wintertime, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good batch of homemade vanilla ice cream.  With my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker attachment (seriously, what would I do without KA attachments?) K and I can make ice cream or sorbet whenever we want. So even through the winter months, you’ll find the bowl in our freezer.

We’ve made plain vanilla ice cream a bunch of times, and enjoyed every bit of it, but the vanilla beans we got from Penzey’s in NYC back in September have been in the back of our minds the entire time, and recently we decided to make vanilla bean ice cream.

Of the three major kinds of vanilla beans, we had Mexican beans on hand. Mexican vanilla beans are creamy and smooth, perhaps the best for making vanilla bean ice cream.

We followed the recipe here, and it turned out rich, and creamy, with those beautiful specks of bean highlighted in the iced cream.  With my recently made chocolate syrup (recipe coming soon!) the combination of chocolate and vanilla was wonderful!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

(makes 2 quarts)


  • 1 cup whole milk (we only used what we had in the house, reduced-fat milk)
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks (can add up to 3 more for a richer custard)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1. Heat up the milk, salt and sugar in a saucepot.

2. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a knife, then add the pod to the milk.  Cover, remove from heat and infuse for one hour.

3.  In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks.

4. Rewarm the milk mixture and gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepot.

5. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula.

6. Strain the custard into the heavy cream in a bowl sitting in an ice bath.  Stir until cool, then add the vanilla extract.  Chill thoroughly, preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker, per the manufacturer’s instructions.

Look at those beautiful flecks!


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