Three day vanilla

Great moments in my ice cream career:

  • ca. 1956: I try ice cream. I approve.
  • 1987: I have a memorable ice cream cone in Rome, Italy. Italians being what they are, just buying it is an adventure: First we have to stand in line to buy a ticket. Then we have to take the ticket over to the actual ice cream counter and stand there in a mob, waving our tickets and yelling “Vaniglia! Vaniglia!” until we get served. But it was worth it.
  • 1995: Heather and I receive as wedding presents two ice cream makers (one big, one little) and start making recipes from the Ben & Jerry’s cookbook.
  • 2004: In a restaurant in Grenoble, France I have the best vanilla ice cream of my life. Anyone who uses the phrase “plain vanilla” has clearly never had this. Nothing plain about it.
  • 2009: I try a vanilla ice cream recipe from Ann Hodgman’s Beat This — twice.  Heather is enthusiastic but I’m dissatisfied with the texture. Maybe I just did it wrong.
  • 2009: I try another vanilla recipe from Michael Recchiuti & Fran Gage, Chocolate Obsession, a book Kenny gave Heather for Christmas. Not everything in the book is strictly chocolate related, and there are several ice cream recipes. (Burnt Caramel, Columbian Chocolate Malt, Meyer Lemon – Buttermilk, Roasted Banana, Cocoa Nib, and Vanilla.) Results are excellent, the closest I’ve come yet to the Grenoble experience. My new favorite recipe:

Day 1: Combine 1 1/4 cups milk, 1/3 cup sugar. Split 1/2 vanilla bean, scrape seeds into milk, add bean. Bring to boil. Cover w/ plastic wrap & leave in fridge overnight.

Day 2: Strain milk. Bring to simmer. Beat 6 eggs yolks and 1/3 cup sugar at med high speed with whisk attachment for 3-5 minutes. With mixer on low add milk & beat until combined. Cook mixture over med heat to 160F. Strain. Add 1 1/2 cups cream. Cover, refrigerate overnight.

Day 3: Churn that sucker in your ice cream maker.

That was condensed & paraphrased a bit. They do say you can steep the vanilla for only 1 hour at room temp but overnight in fridge is better.


3 thoughts on “Three day vanilla

  1. I like the 24 hour soak to extract the vanilla flavor from the bean.

    My latest vanilla recipe iteration ( uses vanilla from three different sources. One is from vanilla extract, one from vanilla bean and seeds added to the milk during the process of making the custard (and steeped for 15 minutes), and finally from using vanilla sugar, which is sugar that has had some cut-up vanilla beans sitting in it for a few weeks.

    My goal is to get as much vanilla flavor as possible without overdoing the alcohol or whatever that comes with extracts. I’m sure the grenoble vanilla you had was a bit more refined than my blunt attempt to overdose on vanilla, but I know what you mean about it being anything but plain old vanilla.

    I’m going to modify my recipe into a three day recipe like yours. I think I’d keep the vanilla seeds in the milk until after it gets heated, straining just before beating into the eggs.


  2. One of the things elided in the paraphrase is that the straining is through a fine sieve — not through cloth or anything like that. The seeds don’t get strained out — well, some don’t make it through but some do.

    I’m not sure there’s an advantage to using extract and vanilla sugar as opposed to just using more bean (and steeping longer). Maybe there is. The 1/2 bean in this recipe struck me as a little stingy but I wasn’t disappointed in the flavor, maybe because of the long steep. I’m going to get a second impression tonight if no one finishes off the little bit that’s left before I do, and depending on what I think next time I might bump it up to a whole bean.


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