Monday 20 June 2011

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Keeping to the ice cream theme, I’m excited to say that the Gelateria ice cream maker on loan for a few weeks from Gaggia (after their coffee & ice cream event) arrived last week! I have been having so much fun and eating far too much ice cream! It’s almost become one of my new foods groups – protein, carbs, fruit & veg and ice cream!

I was longing to get creating wacky flavours straight away but in a moment of clarity decided it was probably wise to start at the beginning with a simple vanilla ice cream. Vanilla ice cream is apparently the nations favourite ice cream flavour, which seems a little boring in my view, but then I suppose it all comes down to the quality of the ice cream. You can get really good vanilla ice creams made with eggs, cream and real vanilla or really bad vanilla ice cream.

This vanilla ice cream is firmly in the ‘good’ category – it’s so smooth and creamy and absolutely bursting with real vanilla flavour. Just look at all those little black speckles – that’s not dirt – its vanilla!

When I came to use my vanilla pods I discovered I didn’t have any fresh squishy ones and only the brittle dry pieces that I store in my sugar. I had a brain wave and blitzed the vanilla, seeds, pod and all, in a spice grinder along with a little sugar. This transformed the dry vanilla into the most amazing vanilla pod powder. Still packed full of flavour and no wastage – hurrah.

The thing I am most impressed about with this ice cream maker is that you can lift off the entire lid covering the bowl where the ice cream is churned, even during freezing. This means you can easily pour in your ice cream mix, throw in some add-ins or sauces without having to try and drizzle it through a small spout at the top like other ice cream machines I’ve seen. This makes it far easier to check how your ice cream is progressing and actually get the mix in there in the first place without pouring it down the sides.

The resulting ice cream was amazing. Using the ground up whole vanilla pod really gave an intense vanilla flavour and I love how the little seeds were noticeably speckled throughout. It was rich, smooth and creamy thanks to the fast freeze and churn action which prevents large ice crystals from forming. Yum!

There is going to be a whole series of ice creams creations appearing shortly. I’ve already made another ice cream this weekend, inspired by one of my favourite cake flavours. Check back later in the week to see which one!

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
(Recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)
150g caster sugar
350ml milk
3 egg yolks
200ml double cream
½ vanilla pod (fresh or dry – see note below)

Cut the vanilla in half and scrape out the seeds. Combine the seeds and pod to the milk and cream and heat together in a small saucepan until very hot but not bubbling.
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
Pour a little of the hot milk over the egg yolks and quickly whisk to temper the mixture and prevent it from scrambling. Add more of the milk to the egg yolks whisking all the time.
Then pour the eggy milky mixture back into the saucepan and place over a low heat. Use a silicone spatula to gently stir the mixture until it begins to thicken. This may take up to 5 minutes. Do not allow it to bubble or boil or else it will split.
The ice cream mix is ready once it coats the back of a spoon.
Remove from the heat and pour into a clean bowl.
Allow to cool slightly before refrigerating for at least 2 hours or until chilled.
Pour the chilled ice cream into your ice cream maker (remove the vanilla pod first) and blend until frozen to the desired consistency, around 20-30minutes.
Eat straight away or transfer to a container and keep for later.

Note: After making your ice cream base, it can be poured into a Tupperware container and frozen in a regular freezer. Just remove it from the freezer every 1-2hours and give it a whisk, to ensure it freezes evenly.

Note: I found all my vanilla pods were very dry and hard as I’d stored them in some sugar. I simply broke a piece off and blitzed it in a spice grinder with a little of the sugar to create my own vanilla bean powder. This was really intense and gave a wonderful speckled vanilla appearance to the finished ice cream.


Anonymous said...

what a fancy gadget u got there! i am sure u will have so much fun with it in time to come. And vanilla bean ice cream is like the pillar of all ice creams! YUMM!!

The Caked Crusader said...

Wow - what a great opportunity to fill your freezer with frozen delights!
For me, nothing even comes close to vanilla ice cream - some may think it boring but I don't care - it's great!

Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Oh, this is sooo exciting. I wish I had an ice cream maker to play with.
I'm not a HUGE ice cream eater but I could be if I could play about with flavours.
I would particularly love one with either a rose flavour or maybe a chocolate one with lumps of Turkish delight in it or something like that. And I would certainly experiment with cherries too - some gorgeous cherries about just now.
I will keep an eye out for your posts - can't wait to see what you come up with.

Caroline said...

Looks utterly delicious! I must try this recipe - it doesn't look like it makes too much - and the less it makes, the more often I can make it and try different flavours! Yum!

Unknown said...

I've always wanted to mke my own ice cream, but alas, I do not own an ice cream machine. Oh well. Your ice cream does look good though, makes me want some ice cream now. :P

Norwegianstitch said...

oh, your cakes and icecream looks so good. Great work!

Regards Linda

Chele said...

I am LOVING your new food group ;0) and all the ice cream posts. I really enjoy making ice cream from scratch but I don;t own an ice cream maker ,,, your posts are starting to make me reconsider!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Hehe ice cream is definitely a food group in itself isn't it! :D That looks wonderful and so vanilla-ey :D

Donna (Texas) said...

Sounds wonderful!! I'll give it a try! Thanks....