Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream with Salted Caramel Sauce and Pecans

I think my ice cream maker is my second favorite kitchen appliance, after my KA stand mixer of course.  We bought it last summer and used it once before it got shoved to the back of the appliance cupboard.  What was I thinking?!  I pulled it out last month to make this glorious vanilla custard based ice cream and I haven't hit the ice cream aisle since.

Homemade ice cream is so freaking good I can barely wait to make another batch.  I can't believe I haven't been making my own ice cream for years, it's so easy.  As long as you have heavy cream, milk, sugar, and vanilla in your kitchen you can have fresh ice cream any time you want.  Sold yet? ;)

On to the recipe.  This is from David Lebovitz, and mmmm boy is it decadent.  I usually make simple ice creams since I seem to make them spur of the moment and there is usually one if not two kids hanging off of me all day.  Custard based ice creams take a little more time, but you can really taste the difference.  So rich and flavorful.  This recipe is chock full of vanilla bean seeds and extract, perfect for any vanilla lover.  It would also make a great base for other add-ins.  I had some of Lebovitz's salted caramel sauce in the fridge and made a toasted pecan sundae.   Enjoy!

Vanilla Ice Cream
from David Lebovitz

About 1 quart (1l)

For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Note: Used vanilla beans can be rinsed and dried, then stored in a bin of sugar. That sugar can be used for baking and, of course, for future ice cream making.

Rich Caramel Sauce
slightly adapted from David Lebovitz 

1/2 cup unsalted or salted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Fleur de Sel

In a large saucepan or a Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.  Add the sugar and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar begins to caramelize, then turns dark amber in colour and begins to foam a bit (it should smell and look like it's just on the verge of burning).  Remove from heat and slowly and carefully add in the cream (the mixture will bubble vigorously), whisking constantly until all of the cream is added.
Return the pan to med-low heat and stir until the sauce is smooth, about 1 minute.(this took about 5 minutes for me).  Then stir in vanilla and salt. 
Remove from the heat and allow to cool, then taste, and add more salt, if desired.

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  1. Yummy! I just got a third ice cream cookbook. Goodness help us all. And my waistline. This stuff is addictive. I like the sound of this one. Kim

  2. Oh this looks amazing! Wonderful job - love my ice cream maker!

  3. I loooove this classic...it has to be my favorite ice cream by far.
    I also love my ice cream maker... I use it every other day. :)


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