My new favorite vanilla ice cream is extra creamy and flavorful. The secret ingredients are good-quality organic milk powder and a tiny bit of golden syrup. —Alice Medrich
about 1 pint
vanilla bean (see note)
(50 grams) sugar
plus 1 tablespoon (50 grams) premium nonfat milk powder (I like Organic Valley or Bob's Red Mill)
plus 1 teaspoon (28 grams) golden syrup
large egg yolks
pure vanilla extract
In This Recipe
You'll need an instant-read thermometer and a medium-fine strainer for this recipe.
Set the strainer over a 6- to 8-cup bowl and set it aside for the finished ice cream base. Find a larger bowl for an ice bath and locate ice cubes in the freezer.
Pour the cream into a 2- to 3-quart saucepan. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the point of a pairing knife to scrape the seeds into the cream. Drop the scraped pod pieces into the cream as well. Heat the cream until it simmers around the edges, cover the pot, and remove it from the heat. Let the cream and vanilla bean steep for 30 minutes.
While the cream is steeping, combine the sugar, milk powder, salt, golden syrup, egg yolks, and 1/4 cup of the milk in a medium bowl. Whisk until thoroughly blended. Whisk in the remaining milk. Set aside.
When the cream is ready, fish out a piece of the pod. Hold it against the inside of the pot, cut side facing out, and use the edge of a silicon spatula to press and scrape any remaining seeds into the cream. Drop the pod back into the cream. Repeat with the remaining piece.
Scrape the egg mixture into the saucepan and whisk to blend. Retire the whisk and continue with a heatproof silicon spatula.
Cook the mixture over medium-low heat, stirring with the spatula, sweeping the bottom, corners, and sides of the pan constantly to avoid scorching, until the mixture registers 178 to 180° F on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately scrape the mixture into the strainer set over the bowl. The strainer will catch the pod pieces and any bits of cooked egg white that might have been attached to the yolks—the vanilla seeds should pass through. Transfer the pod pieces to the finished ice cream base and stir in the vanilla extract. Set the bowl in the larger bowl and add water and ice to the larger bowl. Set the whole business in the fridge until the base is cold. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover airtight. Refrigerate overnight.
Twenty minutes before freezing, fish out the pod pieces and set the bowl in the freezer for an extra cold start. (If your machine is electric, pre-chill it for 5 minutes before adding the ice cream base.) Freeze according to the instruction with your machine. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container with due haste and put it into the freezer until needed.
Ice cream will get too hard to scoop after 2 or 3 hours; to soften it, place the container in the refrigerator for 15 minutes or more, or microwave it on defrost for a few seconds at a time, until scoopable.
Note: If you do not want to use vanilla bean, don’t heat the cream. Start with the empty saucepan. Add the sugar, milk powder, salt, golden syrup, egg yolks, and 2 tablespoons of the milk, and whisk until blended. Whisk in the remaining milk and the cream. Cook as directed. Strain as directed and add 4 to 5 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Refrigerate and freeze as directed.
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on Craftsy.com, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).