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.