Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
For most of my life, I never quite understand the popularity for vanilla ice cream. There are so many flavors to choose from, why would you choose vanilla? I always assumed it would go the way of dinosaurs and become extinct.
I worked part time at an ice cream store for several years while I went to University. I fancied my ability at guessing which flavors people would gravitate to when they came up to the counter. I noticed a trend that mature folks often chose vanilla, butter pecan and other milder, classic flavors.
An elderly gentleman, one of my regulars, and his little dog used to come by at least twice a week and order a single scoop of vanilla ice cream every time.
"Cup or cone?" I asked in my pleasant, perky 20 year old voice.
"Cup", he would reply gruffly. And off he went.
One day he came in and asked for his usual vanilla. "We have lots of different flavors!" I suggested. "Would you like to sample or try anything different?"
"No!" he exclaimed with fervor.
"Ok! Cup or cone then?" getting back to my routine of questions.
"Cup", he replied again. As I was putting in the spoon to go with the cup, he barked "I don't need the spoon either!"
Weird. Maybe he's environmental and brings his own spoons? But then why doesn't he want a cone? Whatever! I thought to myself
The next time I saw him I asked if he wanted his vanilla ice cream in a cup or a cone before he even was able to put in his usual order.
"Why do you ask me that every time?" he replied in a grumpy ole man voice.
"But I have to, it's part of my job."
"But, the dog can't hold a cone?"
Maybe it has something to do with getting older but I have come to appreciate vanilla ice cream. Its simple and pure flavor is a wonderful treat on a hot summer day and it pairs wonderfully with other desserts, like a pie or tart.
Ice cream isn't just for the kiddies and dogs, you know.
Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
makes about 1 litre
1 cup homogenized milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean
6 egg yolks
Place the milk, whipping cream and sugar in a medium-sized pot. Cut the vanilla bean in half and scrape out the inside and place everything into the milk, including the outer bean.
Heat over medium-low temperature but do not scald milk. Turn off the heat and allow to slowly cool to room temperature so the milk has time to infuse with the vanilla.
In a small bowl, mix together the 6 egg yolks. Once the above milk mixture is almost to room temperature, slowly pour some of the milk into the egg yolks making sure to constantly stir the whole time.
Place the egg yolk/milk back into the milk pot and return back to the burner over medium-low heat. Stir constantly and cook until the mixture thickens, about 20 minutes.
Remove from heat and allow to cool. Strain mixture into a clean bowl and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Prepare ice cream in an ice cream maker.