Homemade French Vanilla Ice Cream and Cherry Crisp - The Best of Summer

We went to a July 4th party last evening and took dessert. Feeling patriotic and summery, I decided to make Cooking Light's (sour) Cherry-Almond Walnut Crisp from our recent cherry picking expedition. Since ice cream pairs naturally with fruit crisp, we decided to make it too. I perused the web and a few cookbooks and settled on Mark Bittman’s French vanilla. Custard-based with a half dozen eggs and three cups of half-and-half, it was decadent, rich, creamy,with a wonderfully smooth texture, not at all icy like some homemade ice creams. The color was much more yellow and the vanilla flavor more intense than any commercial ice cream. But preparing it was indeed a labor of love, between whisking the egg yolks, heating the cream slowly to 175 degrees, and then chilling it even more slowly to 40 degrees before putting it in the ice cream maker. Everyone at the party loved it and couldn’t believe we made it. Bittman suggests add-ins such as maple syrup, coffee, or chocolate chips, which may be fun next time we make it. And it doubles well. A wonderful summer indulgence.
Basic French Vanilla Ice Cream
Adapted from Mark Bitten
Makes about one quart

1 vanilla bean or 2 t vanilla extract
2 C half-and-half or milk
1/2 C sugar
6 egg yolks
1 C half-and-half or cream or milk

Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the seeds. Reserve the bean for making vanilla sugar (see below).

Combine the seeds with the half-and-half and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat, stirring occasionally, until steam arises from the milk. Remove from the heat.

Using an electric mixer, beat 1/4 cup sugar with the egg yolks until the mixture is light yellow and thick, about four minutes.

Beat 1/2 cup hot half-and-half into the egg mixture, then gradually stir this mixture into the saucepan with the remaining half-and-half. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, until the mixture reaches 175 to 180 degrees or is slightly thickened. Do not boil. There will be a thick coating on the back of a spoon that will hold the outline of your finger after you pass it through.
Stir in the remaining half-and-half. If using vanilla extract, add it now. Chill to 40 degrees. To hasten the chilling process, set the bowl in a large bowl filled with a mixture of ice and water, stirring occasionally.

Churn chilled mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately or freeze. Use within two days, “warming” in the frig for about 30 minutes before serving. This assumed it isn’t eaten immediately.

1 comment:

  1. That's one delicious combination. I bet your homemade ice cream is so much better than the store bought. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog till Monday night and I'd love it if you'd come by and link your treats up. http://sweet-as-sugar-cookies.blogspot.com/2011/07/sweets-for-saturday-25.html



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