To many, vanilla is the simplest and sometimes most boring of all ice creams. It’s plain, predictable and pretty straightforward. What you see is what you get with vanilla ice cream. No fun swirls or chunks and certainly no surprises.
But to those who see vanilla as such I ask one simple question – have you come across anything that won’t taste better a la mode, with a big scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream? A slice of apple or pumpkin pie. A warm nutty brownie. Or even a fresh out of the oven blueberry cobbler. By themselves all of them are delectable. But paired alongside a scoop of vanilla ice cream takes them to the next level.
At first glance this vanilla ice cream seems like one of those predictable, what you see is what you get ice creams. But upon closer inspection you will see little black flecks of vanilla bean, which is the first indication that this ice cream is going to be extra special. Then the instant it touches your tongue you will discover this is no ordinary confection. It’s refreshing, thick, sweet and insanely creamy with undeniable vanilla flavor. Nothing boring about that! And it made for the perfect complement to this chocolate cinnamon bundt cake that I made as part of a dinner I made to celebrate one my of bestie’s birthdays.
This ice cream is the first of many I will be trying out from the award winning Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home cookbook.If you have had this book on your radar or were looking to purchase an ice cream book, this is the one for you. There are no eggs in any of the book’s recipes, which I think simplifies the ice cream making process. My favorite part of the book is that the recipes are separated by season, which makes it possible to enjoy ice cream all year long. And who doesn’t want that?
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scrapped out, seeds and bean reserved
Combine two tablespoons of the milk and the corn syrup in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry and set aside.
Whisk the cream cheese with the salt until smooth in a medium bowl and set aside.
Combine the remaining milk, heavy cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla seeds and bean in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium heat and cooking, stirring with a heatproof spatula until slightly thickened for about a minute. Remove from the heat.
Gradually, whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap placed directly on the surface of the ice cream base. Let stand in the refrigerator until cold, about 2 hours.
Remove the vanilla bean and pour the ice cream base into the frozen canister of your ice cream maker. Churn according to the manufacturer's instructions, until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream unto a storage container and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.