Photo Credit: Courtesy of "The Illustrated Kitchen Bible: 1,000 Family Recipes from Around the World" by Victoria Blashford-Snell, copyright 2008. Used by permission of Dorling Kindersley Limited. All rights reserved
The effort of making homemade ice cream completely balances out the indulgence of consuming it... right? One of the secrets of learning how to make ice cream is understanding the richest, creamiest ice cream comes from custard, which is made by gently cooking eggs, milk and sugar together before chilling and freezing the mixture in an ice cream maker.
The key to heating eggs without scrambling them is to gently raise their temperature. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large bowl while bringing milk to a bare simmer -- just until it steams and bubbles start to form around the edges -- in a saucepan. Slowly drizzle the hot milk into the eggs a little at a time, whisking vigorously to incorporate both liquids. Then return the now-tempered (A.K.A. heated) eggs to the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens into custard.
Strain the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and whisk in heavy cream and your choice of flavoring. (Vanilla extract’s a classic.) Chill completely before running through your ice cream maker.
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 1/4 cups whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 cups sugar
Makes about 3 cups
1. Bring the milk and vanilla bean to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and let stand 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla bean and, using the tip of a small knife, scrape the beans from the pod back into the milk. Rinse the vanilla bean and reserve for another use, if desired.
2. Whisk together the sugar and egg yolks in a large bowl until the mixture is thick and pale. Gradually whisk in the warm milk then pour into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the spoon (an instant-read thermometer will read 185°F/85°C). Do not boil. Strain through a wire sieve into a bowl. Cool completely, stirring often. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours, until thoroughly chilled. Whisk the cream into the cooled custard.
3. Pour into the container of an ice cream machine. Freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight, freezerproof container and freeze for at least 2 hours.
WATCH: 3 Surprising Things You Need in Your Freezer