Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

by Lisa on April 25, 2010

I love entertaining!!  It gives me a chance to try out recipes I usually don’t make – for example, homemade Vanilla Bean ice cream.  As we were having company over, and we happened to have several Vanilla beans on hand, I decided to give it a whirl.  For my birthday last year, my lovely husband ordered (all the way from Europe!) the aptly titled “Book of Sweet Things,” full of ice cream recipes published by the world’s best ice cream makers (no exaggeration) who we happened upon by chance during our Ireland vacation last year.  I have tried a few of their recipes – Chocolate Whiskey, and Mint Chocolate Chip (which was so fabulous it didn’t last long enough to blog about!  Stay tuned, while my mint grows anew this spring…), and they have all been amazing.  I figured their vanilla would be equally as tasty.  I made a few modifications – first, while I typically do use cream in my ice creams, this time I just didn’t have any on hand – so I made due with just whole milk.  It was a little icy, but still tasted fantastic and had less fat than typical ice creams.  I modified the measurements since I don’t think in metric.  Additionally, I highly recommend a candy thermometer or digital cooking thermometer so that you can make sure everything gets to the right temperatures for the right amount of time; I do pasteurize everything, seeing as I’m a germophobe!  It was just wonderful, especially paired with ripe blackberries, chocolate mousse cake, and great friends!


1 cup Sugar 
5 Egg Yolk 
2 1/4 Cups Whole Milk
1 Vanilla bean

Optional – 1-2 tsp of vanilla liquor (I used Tuaca) – if you’re making low-fat ice cream like me, will help with the texture!

First, split the vanilla bean down the middle and place in a saucepan with a cup of milk.  Bring to a simmer over low heat.  In the meantime, beat together the sugar and egg yolks until they turn light yellow and are smooth.  When the milk is simmering, remove the bean and slowly beat the milk into the egg mixture.  Place the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan, and add back the bean, again over low heat.  Heat to 163 degrees Farenheit (73 degrees C), and keep at that temperature for 3-5 minutes (this will Pasteurize your ice cream!), being careful not to exceed 168 degrees Farenheit (76 degrees C) lest you have vanilla scrambled eggs instead of ice cream.  Cool the mixture in a refrigerator completely.  Mix in rest of the milk, and the liquor if you are using it, and freeze according to your ice cream maker instructions!

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