For Christmas, my aunt and uncle gave me an ice cream maker. Now, I definitely enjoy cooking but I hesitate to collect tools for cooking and baking projects I’m just not going to undertake that often and I honestly considered taking it back to the store and exchanging it for something more practical. I am so glad I didn’t. So far, I’ve made six batches of delicious, homemade ice cream and now that it’s getting to the warmer months, I’m sure that there will be more on the way.
The beauty of the whole thing is that as long as you have space to store the ice cream maker’s bowl in the freezer until you need it, the process takes no more than five ingredients and 20 minutes from quart of half-and-half to soft serve. It’s a great project for kids, an impressive treat for adults, and so customizable.
I’ve made mint chocolate chip, lemon custard with a raspberry swirl, chocolate, Oreo, and red raspberry sorbet but, believe it or not, the best batch I’ve made was this vanilla recipe which came from the personal, 1780s journal of Thomas Jefferson and was published on The Kitchn. It’s absolutely fantastic.
Thomas Jefferson’s Vanilla Custard
makes about 1 quart
3 yolks of eggs
1/4 lb sugar (5/8 cups)
2 pints cream or half-and-half
1 vanilla bean
- Mix the yolks and sugar together.
- Put the cream or half-and-half in a heavy pan over medium heat.
- Cut open the vanilla bean, scrape out the seeds, and put the seeds and the pod into the cream.
- Heat until nearly boiling. Take it off and pour it gently into the mixture of eggs and sugar. Stir well.
- Put the mixture back over medium heat and bring just to a boil.
- Pour into a bowl and cover the custard with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t form a skin. Chill overnight.
- Churn in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.
If you’d like to add any mix-ins, toss them in right at the end of the churn. It’s absolutely delicious in the soft serve stage but you can also pack it into a container and freeze for up to a week.