V-Day is traditionally low-key in the SK household. There might be a dinner, out or in, maybe some candelight, and a relaxing evening of enjoying each other’s company. This year, we’re eating in. Señor SK is a big fan of roast chicken, but even more so a roast chicken with a little something special to keep it moist and delicious. Some garlic mashed potatoes and some roast asparagus and we are in business.
…But isn’t this day all about dessert? More or less. Señor SK is a big fan of simple flavors, and one of his favorites is vanilla. Did I mention he is a vanilla snob? Not in a bad sense – not that snob is always negative, especially in Connecticut. But rather in a he-kn0ws-what-he-likes-so-dont-mess-with-it kind of way. Vanilla Ice Cream is his vanilla vehicle of choice, but not just any vanilla ice cream. Vanilla BEAN ice cream or else – I wouldn’t dare bring home French Vanilla as a paltry substitute. I know French Vanilla has more eggs to give it a rich custardy base and a yellow hue – and while this has egg yolks in it it is a far cry from the French Vanilla in the grocery store. Vanilla snobs have no fear – I have found the cure for what ails you.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Adapted from David Lebovitz’ Vanilla Ice Cream and Rurally Screwed’s Homemade Vanilla Ice-Cream with egg yolk
3/4 cup vanilla sugar
1 cup COLD whole milk
2 cups COLD heavy cream (or half and half)
homemade vanilla extract
2-3 COLD egg yolks
First, 12-24 hours ahead, put your ice cream canister in the freezer. Second, make sure all of your dairy is cold – I took mine straight out of the fridge – when you are ready to churn. Whisk one cup of whole milk and 3/4 cup of vanilla sugar together until the sugar dissolves – 1-2 minutes. Vanilla sugar is the final resting place of my vanilla beans. I usually buy them in bulk on eBay (yes, really, eBay – thanks to Alton Brown for the tip). Some of them go into vanilla extract (split and scraped beans + vodka + time) some are used in baking, but all of them end up dried in my jar of vanilla sugar. Its good to have when you live with a vanilla snob.
Anyway, once the sugar is dissolved, add the heavy cream. I only had a cup on hand, so I added more whole milk to the cream. It’s plenty rich as it is, and I wasn’t about to run to the grocery store, so there you go. Separate your eggs (I used three) and mix the yolks together, then whisk to incorporate. If you have a problem with raw eggs, this recipe isn’t for you. An easy solution to that is to trust your egg source. We buy a carton a week at CRFM from Highland Thistle Farm. Their eggs are always deeply golden – a sign of how fresh they are – and so, SO much better tasting than those lifeless pale yellow things from the supermarket. I guess we are vanilla AND egg snobs at SK. And maybe milk snobs – due to the delicious stuff coming out of Beaver Brook Farm.
Add homemade vanilla extract to taste 1-3 tablespoons. Or more if you have a vanilla problem. I age our vanilla extract until it is deep brown flecked with vanilla – since I scrape the beans into the extract. Whisk into the ice cream mix. Now, take your canister out of the freezer, set up the machine and start it churning while its still empty. The ice cream mixture is already smooth and creamy, but for added assurance I strain it as I pour it into the machine – it catches a few bits of egg every time.
… to pure deliciousness. All with a little bit of air and a little bit of patience, grasshopper. Trust me, its worth the wait.
I mean, look at that! Guaranteed to satisfy even the most deep-seated vanilla snobbery. At this point, despite your desire to inhale the whole batch, it must be hard set in the freezer for at least 4 hours to give it that ice cream consistency we all know and love.
Yield: 1/2 quart (2 pints) and something delicious enough to make mildly lactose intolerant individuals forgo all common sense.
1. Eat straight up and try not to lick the bowl. Just try. This recipe is already stellar, but if you must:
2. Serve in affogato. I am the lone coffee fan in the house, so not this time.
3. Serve with fresh fruit. Berries when in season are fantastic. Or jam, when in the middle of winter.
4. Drizzle with Disaronno or Coole Swan (Irish Cream – much preferred to Bailey’s) for added decadence. If you need more decadence, that is.