Thursday, January 07, 2010

Vanilla bean icecream

People always seem to be divided between two choices when it comes down to basic icecream flavours. They either choose vanilla or chocolate. I wonder why, why can't they just choose both? ;) Anyway, I've made David Lebovitz's vanilla icecream recipe (from his book "The Perfect Scoop") like at least two times by now. It's simply yummy-licious from the addition of vanilla beans, and not to mention rich, from the all those egg yolks...

Vanilla beans; Mise en place
I love my glass bottle! It looks so old-schooled.

If asked to choose between the vanilla or chocolate, in the past, I would have stoutly replied "Chocolate doh.". Now, however, after tasting real vanilla vanilla icecream, I think my answer would be a resolute "Both!". I mean, there's just something divinely correct when pairing vanilla icecream with hot fruit tarts/pies, or simply enjoying a spoonful of the cold confection on a hot sweltering day (which in Singapore, is pretty much all the time...). Chocolate icecream is well, best eaten on its own, especially those dark rich chocolatey-chocolate icecream. Mmmmmm.

Vanilla bean ice cream (adapted from David Lebovitz's The Perfect Scoop)
250ml whole milk
A pinch of salt
150g sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
500ml heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath and set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl (placed in the big bowl of ice+water) and pour the cream into the smaller bowl.
In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.

6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

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