Your first question probably is, “why is this guy making ice cream in the middle of winter”? The second question may be, “what’s the difference between vanilla ice cream and French Vanilla”? Third question, “why bother making my own ice cream when I can buy good ice cream at the market”? All good questions – all with valid and convincing replies.
My previous post featured an Apple Crumble Pie and I think we’re all in agreement that Apple Pies are best in the cooler months. Apple Pies are also best accompanied with ice cream – vanilla ice cream for sure. I finally splurged on buying an ice cream machine last year and I’ve been delighted with the results so far. Being a foodie that likes making as much of my food as possible at home, I now proudly make my own ice cream. Homemade Apple Pie is better with homemade ice cream.
When walking down the aisle in the supermarket and perusing the almost endless varieties of ice cream, you’ll usually see both vanilla ice cream and French Vanilla ice cream. What’s the difference? The regular vanilla ice cream tastes okay but it’s dumber, more generic version of it’s rich cousin, French Vanilla ice cream. French Vanilla ice cream contains real vanilla seeds, scraped from pod(s), egg yolks, whole milk and cream and sugar (obviously). When making French Vanilla ice cream, you’ll smell the difference as soon as the milk begins to warm up and the vanilla perfumes your kitchen. Splurge on vanilla beans…they are worth the money!
Making your own ice cream is not more economical that buying ready-made ice cream, rather you make it so that you know exactly what’s in the ice cream, you make the flavours you like and the flavour is far superior than most commercial ice creams. The process hasn’t changed from when only hand-cranked ice cream makers were around – electricity has taken the place of manpower. I like the experimentation that’s allowed with ice cream – it’s usually very forgiving, the flavours are limited only by your imagination and the end result will be tasted each and every time, with each rich and velvety scoop. I now know what real French Vanilla ice cream taste like.
French Vanilla Ice Cream
2 1/2 cups of whole (homogenized milk)
4 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
2 cups heavy (whipping cream)
1 vanilla bean
Equipment needed: 2 quart ice cream maker
- Pour your milk into a heavy-bottomed medium-sized pot and then carefully cut your vanilla pod in half with a paring knife. Use the back of the knife to scrape and remove the vanilla seeds and drop into your milk. Place the pot on your stove top over medium heat and warm up to just scalding (don’t throw out the leftover pod, add it to your sugar and you’ll have vanilla sugar).
- In the meantime, separate the whites (reserve for an egg white omelet) from your eggs and add yolks into a bowl with the sugar and whisk until creamed. As soon as your milk has reached a scalding stage (just before coming to a bowl), use a ladle to slowly add milk into the creamed egg and sugar mixture. While whisking the egg/sugar mixture, very slowly add one ladle at a time of milk to it (add 4 ladles).
- Now pour the the contents of the bowl into the pot and while constantly stirring, simmer the custard mixture until it thickens (thick enough to coat a wooden spoon). Allow the custard to cool (place in pot in an ice bath if you want to speed up this process).
- Once the custard has cooled, pass through a medium-wired mesh strainer (to remove any lumps but allow the vanilla seeds to still pass through) and add the cream and mix. Cover custard mixture and place in the fridge to chill for at least a couple of hours.
- Assuming that you’ve placed the ice cream maker’s freezer bowl in your freezer overnight, you’re now ready to turn your custard mixture into ice cream. Pour the custard mixture into the ice cream maker and churn for 25-30 minutes. You now should have a thick but creamy ice cream. You may serve it immediately or empty into a plastic tub and cover. Place in the freezer for a couple of hours (minimum). If serving your ice cream from the freezer, your ice cream will be firmer. Allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature for about 5 minutes before scooping out.
- Serve with your favourite warm apple pie.
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