Basic. Boring. Dull.
These words can be used to describe mundane things we all see on a daily basis.
There is another word that people associate with these three terms: vanilla. Yes, that vanilla. The very same ice cream flavor that is loved by the most people. The same vanilla that forms the base of most ice cream flavors we know today.
However, vanilla should not be treated as basic, boring, or dull—especially when you consider how expensive it is. According to this article on National Geographic, it’s the second priciest spice next to saffron.
Most of the vanilla ice cream you’ll have, however, will not be made from this. It will usually be made with some form of extract that’s mostly synthetic vanillin, the main compound in vanilla beans.
Master the art of making vanilla ice cream and chances are you’ll have no problems producing other flavors. As mentioned, it’s a great starting point for most of the flavors you know and love—which will probably include vanilla, as well.
By far the easiest way of getting to grips with this delectable treat is by using an ice cream maker—and we here at Gourdo’s have the perfect one to start you off:
The KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer 6QT with its Ice Cream Attachment.
Without further ado, here’s our take on this staple flavor of dairy treats—using no less than real vanilla:
- 1-1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup full fat milk
- 2/3 cup sugar, divided
- 1 vanilla pod
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 egg yolks
- have lots of ice cubes at the ready
- Prepare your Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker attachment. Freeze overnight. Pour the cream, milk and 1/3 c sugar into a medium heavy-based pan. Slit the vanilla pod down its length with a small sharp knife—like our Tovolo Paring Knife—and scoop out as many of the tiny black seeds as you can into the cream mixture. Drop vanilla pod into the pan.
- Heat the cream and milk over low heat, stirring occasionally, until it almost boils – you’ll see a few bubbles at the edge.
- Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the rest of the sugar and beat with a wire whisk—something like Tovolo’s 9-inch Whip Whisk. Slowly add the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, while whisking constantly, this is called tempering the egg yolks. Add about half of the warm cream mixture to the egg yolks, bringing up the temperature of the eggs slowly.
- Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (for 8-10 minutes) until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon—or in this case, the same white Tovolo Flex-Core® Spatula you’ve been using since Step 2. Watch that it doesn’t boil – as soon as you see any bubbles about to burst to the surface, it should be thick enough, so take the pan off the heat so the mixture doesn’t curdle.
- Strain the custard onto a heatproof bowl (discard the vanilla pod). Sit the bowl in a bigger bowl that’s one third full of iced water. Stir constantly until the custard cools. Put the bowl of custard in the fridge for 3-4 hours, preferably overnight, so it gets really cold.
- Get the ice cream machine running, then slowly pour in the cold custard. Leave it to churn for 10-30 minutes (How to know it is done?). Spoon into a container, cover with cling wrap, and then a lid. Freeze for a minimum of 3 hours. It will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months but don’t take out. And refreeze.
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