DIY Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

During the summer cold dessert recipes are pouring out of our earsFrozen pies and popsicles and delicious parfaits are all popular. Some of the more adventurous among us will dedicate an afternoon to making frozen yogurt or custard. But when was the last time you heard of someone making real-deal ice cream at home? The last time I attempted to make ice-cream was in tenth grade chemistry class using plastic bags, ice, and rock salt. The result was not very impressive.

It’s not that making ice-cream from scratch in your kitchen is really difficult. What it does require is time, planning and dedication.  So for those of you up to the challenge, read more to learn how to make your ice-cream at home!

Start with your ice cream recipe. I’m going with Vanilla Bean Custard for the sake of simplicity. The custard will serve as the base and give you a smoother, creamier result.


1 C. whole milk

1/8 tsp. salt

3/4 C. sugar

1 vanilla bean pod

2 C. heavy cream

6 large egg yolks

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Mix milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan and heat until simmering. While the milk mixture heats, split your vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and bean pod to the milk mixture. Remove the pan from the heat, cover it and let sit for one hour.

While you wait, set up the ice bath apparatus by placing a small (2 qt.) bowl inside a large bowl filled with ice and water. Pour the 2 C. heavy cream into the small bowl. Also, nab a freezer safe bowl or baking dish from a cupboard and stash it in your freezer to, well, freeze.

After an hour, set your milk mixture back on low heat to warm it and whisk together your 6 egg yolks in a separate bowl. Once the milk is warm, slowly pour the mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly. Pour the combined milk, salt, sugar, egg, vanilla bean mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly until the custard thickens enough to cling to your spoon or spatula. Scrape the sides and bottom of the pan often.

Set a strainer over the small bowl in the ice bath and strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir the mixture over the ice until it is cool, then add the vanilla extract.

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the halfway mark! Now we start the freezing process to turn your ice cream mixture into actual ice cream.

Remember the bowl you have in your freezer? Now that it’s nice and cold, pour your ice cream mixture into it and let sit for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, check on your mixture. If it has started to freeze at the edges, take it out and stir with extreme prejudice until all the clumps are broken up. Seriously, you do not want any frozen chunks in this mixture; it will wreck your ice cream.

For the next three hours, check your ice cream every 30 minutes. It will keep freezing and you will keep beating and breaking up those frozen chunks. The better you do this, the smoother your ice cream will be. After three hours, your ice cream should be ready. It will be softer than store bought ice cream, but just as delicious. Serve immediately and enjoy.

Have you ever made ice cream at home? Do you do it by hand or with a machine? Let us know in the comments!

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