Here at casa de Mason ice-cream is always readily available. We luuurve it! We are suckers for a good gelato and we often buy from local suppliers. It’s such a quick and easy treat that can be jazzed up to look a little bit fancy very quickly.
However, as many of you may know, we are making the conscious effort to eliminate all processed food from our house. Many store brand ice-creams contain colouring, additives, thickeners and preservatives, which we are now aiming to avoid. Even some of the better brands are chocked full of preservatives. We are in a transition period. Honestly, it takes time and effort to eat cleaner. And so I am now committed to making our own ice-cream.
Cost-wise, making your own ice-cream is relatively cheap - that is if you're like us and spend $8-12 per litre on store-bought gourmet varieties. In any case, to make a litre of homemade traditional-style gelato, it should cost around $5-8 dollars. Most of the ingredients are items that the average household should have readily available, which means you can whip it up without having to make a special trip to the shops.
Like anything, excellent quality ingredients will result in fabulously lovely food. To make the best Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream, you need very good quality full cream milk (raw if you can find it), the freshest free-range eggs and lovely sticky vanilla beans. Don’t be tempted to use low fat milk, the results will be watery and icy and, frankly, where’s the fun in that?
Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream - makes about a 1L
- 6 free-range egg yolks
- 4 vanilla bean pods
- 1/2 cup of caster sugar (I use my vanilla sugar)
- 1 cup of full cream milk
- 2 cups of cream (thickened, whipping or raw)
- Halve two of your vanilla bean pods and scrape out the beans. Add the hulled out vanilla pods and the beans to your milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Bring the milk to boiling point and take off the heat immediately. You are infusing the vanilla by scolding the milk. Set the milk aside to cool. Remove the vanilla pods.
- With a whisk beat together your egg yolks and sugar until pale. Gradually add in a little of the cooling milk (it can be warm - not hot), whisking very quickly. If the milk is too hot the eggs will scramble.
- Return your mixture to the saucepan on medium heat. Keep whisking or stirring vigorously to avoid scrambling. The mixture will begin to form together to become a custard. It may be a little foamy on the top if you are whisking in too much air, but don’t worry about it - this will disappear when the custard sets.
- If your custard coats the back of the spoon, it is ready. Cover your custard, place it in the fridge and allow to cool and set. I will be quite thick once it's ready.
- Split your last two vanilla bean pods, scrape out the beans and whisk into your completely cooled custard with the cream. Pour into your ice-cream machine/maker, following your manufacturer instructions.
- If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, place in the freezer for two hours, then remove and whip with a food processor or electric beaters. Place in the freezer for another two hours and repeat. If the consistency is what you desire, repeat once more.
Serve your Vanilla Bean Ice-Cream as a side with a fabulous cake or brownies, or with fruit or nuts. Or simply enjoy el natural. If you don’t have a huge stash of vanilla beans like me, you could use just 2 pods, vanilla paste or tonka beans. Enjoy!