world’s best vanilla ice cream.

summer is here in florida, and it arrived with a murderous vengeance. unbearably hot temperatures, afternoon thunderstorms, and unforgiving, relentless humidity so bad that sweating as soon as you step out of the shower is inevitable.

our sweet reprieve from the heat and misery? ice cream.

oh yes, a ridiculous amount of ice cream has been made in the food + words kitchen as of late. i mean, we don’t really have a choice, because we have to combat the sweltering florida summer somehow.

shortly after posting my first recipe featuring a delightfully caffeinated flavor of ice cream, i realized that i am a jerk. why? i neglected to mention that even if you don’t own an ice cream maker, you most certainly can make unbelievable homemade ice cream using nothing more than a shallow baking dish, a freezer and a silicone spatula. well, you obviously will also need the ingredients to make said ice cream, but i digress.

yes, you can make ice cream! you don’t need a fancy electric ice cream maker, tons of ice, rock salt, an old-timey hand crank machine, or any other special gadgets. if you can scrape, scoop or mix, you can make ice cream.

bonus! using this low-tech method of ice cream making, you get to stick your head in the freezer at least four times, which may or may not be the loveliest thing in the world on a sweltering summer day.

in the name of simplicity, i chose to demonstrate this simple technique with one of the most underrated flavors of all: vanilla.

some so-called sophisticates scoff at vanilla, admonishing the flavor for being one-dimensional, boring, and plain. i couldn’t disagree more, as long as we’re talking about pure vanilla.

artificial vanilla extract creeps me out and makes me shudder; i mean, it’s synthesized from a coal tar derivative through chemical processes! there’s a reason why artificial vanilla extract has such an overpowering, slightly grotesque scent as soon as you take the cap off. so pretty please, use pure vanilla extract! it’s got a much more complex flavor, it’s less chemically terrifying, and you can even make your own! …but that’s another recipe for another day.

good quality ingredients are imperative to any recipe’s success. when you use high quality, organic cream and milk, pure vanilla extract, and whole vanilla beans, vanilla ice cream becomes so, so much more than simple. it’s rich, sweet, and floral, and completely addictive. true story.

world’s best vanilla ice cream

adapted from david lebovitz’s the perfect scoop
this ice cream is ridiculous, as in ridiculously good. this recipe is easily doubled, which i can almost guarantee you’ll want to do. if you leave out the vanilla bean, this recipe becomes an unbelievable base for other flavors, so start experimenting!

what you’ll do

place the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, and add the bean to the pot. once the sugar is dissolved and the milk begins to steam, cover and take off the heat. let this rest for one hour.

in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.

return the saucepan to the stove and heat until steaming. slowly, pour a bit of the milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. this is not the time to make milky scrambled eggs. yuck.

scrape the now tempered egg yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. grab a spatula or a wooden spoon and cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping at the bottom of the pan constantly. the mixture will gradually begin to thicken and become a custard. depending on how hot your saucepan is, this could take up to ten minutes, so be patient! when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon/spatula, take it off the heat.

strain the custard into a bowl containing the heavy cream. rinse the vanilla bean in water, and add to the mixture. mix thoroughly, and add the vanilla extract. cover the bowl or transfer to a lidded pitcher, and refrigerate overnight.

in the morning, fish out the vanilla bean, and pour the mixture into a shallow dish. you can use a high-walled roasting pan, a ceramic baking dish, or something similar. place this dish, uncovered, in your freezer for 30 minutes. take the dish out, and using a silicone spatula, scrape the ice cream on the outer edges of the baking dish into the center, incorporating the more frozen parts of the mixture. place back in the freezer, and repeat this process every 30 minutes until the ice cream is about soft-serve consistency.

transfer to a lidded storage container, and chill for a few hours before serving.

of course, if you do have an ice cream maker, just follow your manufacturer’s instructions.

make this ice cream. seriously. to those of you without ice cream makers, now you have no excuses! i pinkie-swear promise you’ll love it.

world's best vanilla ice cream

adapted from David Lebovitz’s The Perfect Scoop

note: this recipe is easily doubled, which i can almost guarantee you’ll want to do. if you leave out the vanilla bean, this recipe becomes an unbelievable base for other flavors, so start experimenting!

Ingredients:

1 cup whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

3/4 cup sugar

5 large egg yolks

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

pinch of kosher salt

Directions:

place the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat.

scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk, and add the bean to the pot.

once the sugar is dissolved and the milk begins to steam, cover and take off the heat. let this rest for one hour.

in a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks together.

return the saucepan to the stove and heat until steaming. slowly, pour a bit of the milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly.

scrape the now tempered egg yolks into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.

using a spatula or a wooden spoon, cook over medium heat, stirring and scraping at the bottom of the pan constantly. the mixture will gradually begin to thicken and become a custard. depending on how hot your saucepan is, this could take up to ten minutes.

when the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon/spatula, take it off the heat.

strain the custard into a bowl containing the heavy cream. rinse the vanilla bean in water, and add to the mixture. mix thoroughly, and add the vanilla extract.

cover the bowl or transfer to a lidded pitcher, and refrigerate overnight.

in the morning, fish out the vanilla bean, and pour the mixture into a shallow dish. you can use a high-walled roasting pan, a ceramic baking dish, or something similar.

place this dish, uncovered, in the freezer for 30 minutes.

take the dish out, and using a silicone spatula, scrape the ice cream on the outer edges of the baking dish into the center, incorporating the more frozen parts of the mixture.

place back in the freezer, and repeat this process every 30 minutes until the ice cream is about soft-serve consistency.

transfer to a lidded storage container, and chill for a few hours before serving.

if you do have an ice cream maker, just follow your manufacturer's instructions.

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