Author Notes: After making a number of ice cream recipes that did not turn out well, I dug into the "science" of making ice cream at home. Eventually I happened upon a PDF of the introduction to "How to Make Ice Cream," an out-of-print book published by The Cook's Illustrated Library, and put together this recipe from what it taught me. The recipe below is for vanilla, but you can adapt it to make lots of different flavors.
When we first read Tammy’s recipe, we were slightly intimidated by the use of temperatures, as we tend to rely on sight and feel when it comes to making ice cream. When the method worked perfectly, we realized that these details are really helpful for people who don’t have much experience with custards. Tammy’s recipe makes a perfect, fragrant and not-too-sweet vanilla ice cream, and she gives you the option to add your own flavors in the last step. After tasting the vanilla, we decided to play around, by folding in 1/ 3 teaspoon strong peppermint extract (we used Boyajian), 10 finely chopped spearmint leaves and 6 ounces finely chopped dark chocolate. It was some of the best mint chocolate chip ice cream we’ve ever had.
Serves about 1 1/4 quarts
4 egg yolks
1.5 cups heavy cream
1.5 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
Heat milk and cream in a small saucepan with some sugar to 175 degrees. (Use a candy thermometer!)
Meanwhile, beat the yolks with the remaining sugar at least 2 min. with an electric mixer or 4 min. with a whisk until pale yellow.
Slowly pour a small amount of the heated milk-cream-sugar mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly as you pour.
Whisk the thinned egg yolks back into the saucepan containing the remaining milk-cream-sugar.
Scrape the insides of the vanilla bean into the saucepan.
Heat to 180 degrees.
Pour the cooked custard through a fine mesh strainer into a container.
Chill custard to 40 degrees or lower. (I usually make the custard right before I go to sleep so it can chill in my refrigerator overnight.)
Churn for 30 mins. If you have any add-ins, add to the ice cream for the last 30 seconds.
Put in the freezer in an air-tight container for 2-4 hours to harden completely.
30 mins. before serving, transfer from the freezer to the fridge.