Where is Bobby Flay when you need him?
In an effort to test just how good my homemade vanilla ice cream is, and having no way to get the throwdown king into my kitchen, I decided upon my second best option…. Hire the pickyest tongue in the entire family and have him be the judge of my carefully crafted dessert.
There is something you must know about this judge first, he only eats one brand and one type of ice cream: Breyer’s Natural Vanilla. That’s all. Not Extra Creamy, not French Vanilla, not Ben and Jerry’s, and certainly not Sugar Free. Is it possible he was overqualified for this?
I mean, if I can get my Uncle John to like a spoonful of this stuff, chalk up a GIANT W for me.
The recipe is simple, easy, and tastes incredibly natural. There is but one restriction, an ice cream maker is a must. I recently received the Kitchen Aid stand mixer ice cream bowl attachment and I am not sure if anything trumps my love for this can’t live without kitchen accessory. It makes everything, and it makes it with such mind-blowing ease! Whether you invest in that, or you purchase the stand alone type, any machine will do the work it takes to get this ice cream into shape.
All credit for the recipe goes to idol-blogger David Leibovitz and his bible, “Ready for Dessert”.
Vanilla Ice Cream
1 cup whole milk
Pinch of salt
3/4 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean
2 cups heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, warm the milk, salt, and sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the saucepan, then drop in the pod.
Cover and remove from the heat, and let steep for 30 minutes.
Pour the cream into a medium bowl and set a mesh strainer across the top.
Reheat the milk mixture until it’s warm. In a separate bowl whisk the egg yolks
Gradually add some of the warm milk mixture, whisking constantly as you pour.
Pour the warmed yolks back into the saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Pour the custard through the mesh stainer into th eheavy cream.
Rinse the vanilla pod and return it to the custard to continue steeping; stir in the vanilla extract.
Set the bowl containing the custard over a larger bowl of ice water. Stir the custard until cool, then cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the chilled custard in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
What results in just about 20 minutes is one of the most gorgeously creamy sights your eyes have ever set themselves on. It makes just about a quart, enough for a week’s worth of spoon diving…
So what about the throwdown? Well it went down last night after much family chit chat and anticipation.
The stage was my Nana’s Birthday dinner, the audience was small, and the results were fabulous.
Prior to the event, to my own chagrin, I wandered down the grocery store aisles and found myself into the arctic tundra that is the freezer section. I guess I had to buy Breyers in order for this whole thing to work … hey at least it was on sale.
With an ingredient label that was only one line, I knew that I had constructed a fair competition. It wouldn’t be right to compare my ice cream, clearly exempt from preservative heaven, with ice cream that had chemicals and crap tagging along with it. The only odd item on the Breyers breakdown is Natural Tara Gum, whatever that is.
In typical John fashion, the competition was taken on with careful consideration and a real sense of seriousness. Eyes were closed, napkin posed as a blind fold, and he prepped his palette (picky as it is!). I only told him that evening that he was the subject of the experiment…
He tasted my Vanilla Ice Cream first. Two spoonfuls. Strange expressions.
Then my aunt spooned him two bites of his favorite and only choice, the Natural Vanilla. Before I knew it I heard the words, “chemical after taste”.
Ding Ding Ding, I WON!
I think my Aunt might have lost sleep in the nights leading up to this contest. John, the man that always tells it how it is, was probably going to break my heart and hate my ice cream. If he likes something, that’s the only choice, and he hates something, he will tell you about it. For the first time, I broke the trend.
The moral of the story, and my plea to the world is, whether you realize it or not, taking the extra time to make something homemade not only tastes better, but it is simply just better for you! Why subject your body to things unnatural when it is requires just a few extra steps to pull together something wonderful.