Sunday, May 22, 2011

Vanilla Ice Cream

Besides whipped cream, the perfect warm brownie accompaniment is a scoop of vanilla ice cream. One perfect scoop, melting leisurely over a gooey chocolate brownie. Before going into his own recipe, which I made my own slight adjustments to, David Lebovitz says "everyone should have should have a great recipe for Vanilla Ice Cream in their repertoire." And his is a great jumping off point for this very excellent chilled treat.
Seeing this picture really makes me want to buy a new camera. Or eat ice cream during daylight hours.
Among the trinity of ice cream flavors (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry), my go to was always chocolate as a child. Vanilla was such a bland mess and frankly resembled my culinary nemesis milk a little too much. It wasn't until I was much older and a combination of my palate becoming more advanced as well as actually having tasted vanilla ice cream made with exceptional ingredients, farm fresh eggs, organic (and local) milk and cream, and of course high quality vanilla, that I became a devout follower.

Of course, this recipe is a great base for all sorts of other flavors as well. Just yesterday I had to stop myself from buying cherries to add in, to focus on the simplicity and complexity of just these quality ingredients. But with some cherries, peaches, strawberries, caramel, etc, it is the perfect jumping off point. I urge you, especially in making vanilla ice cream, to focus on using the best quality ingredients you can get ahold of, it will really shine through in the end. But I couldn't stop myself from adding a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom, which added depth and warmth, and really just worked to compliment the vanilla flavor.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz

1 c.  whole milk
Pinch of maldon salt
3/4 c.  sugar
3 tsp. pure vanilla extract- I used bourbon/Madagascar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cardamom
2 c. heavy cream
5 large egg yolks

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Add vanilla extract, cinnamon and cardamom. Remove from heat and let steep for 1/2 an hour.

2. Add 1 c. of cream to a large bowl and set a strainer over the top of the bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, separate and stir together the egg yolks. Temper the eggs by gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Pour the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula. About 20-30 minutes.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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