There's nothing like fresh-churned homemade ice cream. It's cool, but melts in your mouth, creamy and smooth, and when compared to a grocery store variety, has a richer, cleaner, more pure taste. To make ice cream you need an ice cream maker and a little skill, but most of all, it requires patience. Many recipes are egg-based, and one of the steps involves tempering a ribbon-like egg yolk and sugar mixture with warm milk. If you aren't patient, the eggs will scramble. Patience also comes in handy while you're waiting for the ice cream to freeze!
When mastering the basic procedure, start with vanilla ice cream. It's a flavor that can be enjoyed in every season, is loved by all, and pairs with a variety of desserts. Once you know how to make vanilla, it's easy to experiment with more complex flavors — you can stir in strawberry puree, or chunks of chocolate, or small pieces of Oreo cookies. To learn how it's done, keep reading.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream


2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise and scraped
2 cups milk, chilled
6 large egg yolks
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 cups heavy cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the vanilla beans and scrapings with the milk. Bring to a gentle boil. Remove from heat, and let steep, covered, 30 minutes.
  2. Prepare an ice bath; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg yolks and sugar on medium-high speed until thick and pale, about 4 minutes.
  4. Place milk mixture over medium-high heat; bring just to a simmer. Slowly pour about 1/4 cup hot-milk mixture into egg-yolk mixture, beating on low speed until blended. Continue adding milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, beating until incorporated after each addition.
  5. Return mixture to saucepan; stir with a wooden spoon over low heat until mixture is thick enough to coat back of spoon, 3 to 5 minutes. Custard should retain a line drawn across the back of the spoon with your fingertip.
  6. Remove pan from heat; stir in chilled cream to stop cooking. Pour custard through a fine sieve into a medium bowl set in ice bath; let stand, stirring occasionally, until chilled.
  7. Stir in extract. Freeze in an ice-cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Makes 1 1/2 quarts.

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