vanilla bean custard ice cream.

I am so excited to have my in-laws and niece and nephew over for dinner this weekend.

As I contemplated the menu and considered the little guys, I thought, well, if the kids don’t like any of my food and they’re still hungry, what’s the ONE thing that pretty much all kids on the planet will eat?

Oh right.

Vanilla ice cream.

This version is a super-rich and creamy custard-style ice cream with real vanilla beans.

I’m very interested to try Mark Bittman’s lighter vanilla ice cream recipe made with cornstarch, but thought I’d stick to David Lebovitz’s classic custard-style version for my first go-around.

And I’m very happy with the result.

While I wouldn’t categorize it as being on the lighter side, its intense flavor warrants complete satisfaction with just one scoop.

But since you’re special, you get three scoops today.

You deserve to live a little, right?

Vanilla Bean Custard Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
Recipe from David Lebovitz

Printer-friendly version

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups heavy cream (For a less-rich custard, use 1 cup heavy cream and 1 cup half-and-half)
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. 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.

2. Set a strainer over the top of a large bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.

3. 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.

4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spatula.

5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Add the vanilla bean back to the mixture. 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 manufacturer’s instructions.

Note on making vanilla sugar: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar, or blended in a food processor with sugar. That sugar can be used for baking cookies and cakes and future ice cream making. I used my vanilla sugar to make chocolate-chip cookies and the batter smelled divine.

4 responses to “vanilla bean custard ice cream.

  1. Heidi

    RB enjoyed one of your cookies today 😉

  2. That ice cream looks like perfection! I love that you can see the vanilla beans 🙂


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