vanilla ice cream

This year I've been figuring out how to make ice cream and it was a proud moment when Grace said, Mum let's always make our ice cream now.  That's not to say my ice cream has always met with her approval - there was a lemon ice cream that was too lemony and a frozen yoghurt with horrid bits of nutmeg. Still, most of the time now I get kid approval. I've decided that I like custard based ice creams the best but I make mine with whole eggs as I can't bear the thought of wasting all those egg whites. However I'm beginning to think I might get better results with just egg yolks as apparently you can heat them to a higher heat without curdling. Something to test out one day. I have also found that if your custard is just about to curdle and is no longer silky smooth it could still turn into acceptable ice cream. So if in doubt, churn it and see.

I keep the bowl for the ice cream maker in the back of the freezer so it is ready any time I get the urge to make ice cream or hot night slushies. I have also learnt that it is good not to overfill it. Or an ice cream monster starts coming out the top. Or it doesn't freeze efficiently. We have a 1.5 litre Cuisinart machine and although it does a good job, I would buy the 2 litre one if I was choosing one now.

I mostly use half milk and half cream as Grace doesn't like too much of a fatty mouth feel - I often use pouring or thickened cream. If I was using double cream I might up the milk ratio a bit. I have started adding a bit of honey for extra smoothness and it tastes lovely with the vanilla. 3/4 cup of sugar is really enough for 3 cups of liquid but we like our ice cream quite sweet it seems. So you could reduce the sugar a bit. Real vanilla is totally worth it and I bought some from here. Price and quality were both much better the the shops. Had to buy 50 or so beans but oh, to have an abundance of vanilla! And what better way to use it than in vanilla ice cream.



1 vanilla pod
3 large eggs
3/4 cup of white sugar
1 tablespoon of honey
1 1/2 cups of milk
1 1/2 cups of thickened or pure cream

To make
  • Combine the milk, cream, sugar, honey, the seeds and pod of the vanilla in a saucepan and heat, stirring a bit, until it just trembles and starts to steam.
  • In a good sized bowl, beat the eggs.
  • Remove the vanilla pod from the cream mix. (I wash and dry to steep in vodka which is my experiment in making vanilla essence - I've heard of them being added to sugar jars too).  
  • With the beater going, add a little of the hot cream mix to the beaten eggs and keep beating. Gradually add the rest of the cream mixture while beating. I use the electric hand beater but a whisk would be fine.
  • If the eggs are a bit organic and look as though they have been fertilised and have little embryos I strain the custard mix at this stage. 
  • Place mix back in saucepan and stirring constantly, cook until the mix coats the back of a spoon and is steaming. Don't let it boil. If I thought I had overcooked the custard or it looked lumpy I might strain at this stage too - but mostly I don't.
  • Place in a plastic container for the fridge and when it has cooled a bit place in the fridge. 
  • In a couple of hours or the next day, add the chilled mixture to the ice cream maker as per the instructions. It normally takes about 35 minutes and I place it in a clean plastic container and into the freezer until we are ready to eat it.