This week’s recipe is dedicated to Mark, Laura, Monica, and Tony, who were fantastic hosts to me this weekend. They let me crash their pad on my way to the USS George Washington for an Adopt-a-Chef Trip. I sure wish I lived in Virginia so we could make this recipe together all the time!!
This perhaps my favorite food ever to cook! It is so satisfying, and it is one of those magical recipes that is more like alchemy than cooking. It’s alchemic!! (Is that a word?) Ice cream is a stovetop custard that is cooked, cooled, then frozen. The freezing is the magical part, and it can occur in a number of ways.
Yes, the custard itself is a bit tricky. In fact, I have used it as a test for potential pastry assistants. The ability to pull the custard off the heat at the appropriate time takes practice. But so what if it’s challenging? I encourage you to try it, and even flub it up. Once you understand what goes wrong, you’ll never blow it again. Honestly, it’s the best way to learn!
This recipe is for plain ol’ vanilla, but you can make it any flavor you want. Add melted chocolate to the cooked custard (about 1-2 cups), instant coffee, fruit jam, pumpkin puree, or dried flavoring, like lavender flowers or green tea powder. Or fold in garnish after the custard has been churned, such as cookie dough, candy, fresh or dried fruit, or whatever your heart desires.
3-4 cups of ice
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, scraped (optional)
8 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1-3 tsp. vanilla extract, or other flavoring
(use your imagination!)
1 tsp. kosher salt
- Fill a large bowl with ice, and set another large bowl on top of the ice. Have a strainer nearby and set all this aside, but nearby, until custard is cooked.
- Bring the half and half and milk to a boil in a large saucepan. In a small bowl whisk together sugar and egg yolks. At the boil, temper 1/2 cup of hot half and half into the yolks and whisk quickly to combine. Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and over high heat whisk immediately and vigorously until the mixture begins to resemble thick cream, about 2 minutes. Strain immediately into the bowl sitting on ice. Stir periodically until cool.
- When the custard is completely cool, strain it and stir in flavoring. Run through an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions. Pack the ice cream for several hours for firm scoops.