When I was a kid, my dad bought an old-fashioned electric ice cream maker with a wooden container. He would make the ice cream mix right in the metal ice cream canister with sweetened condensed milk. Daddy always had a sweet tooth and had to taste the rich, thick milk as he made the mix. He let us taste it too. Then we’d pack the wooden container with crushed ice and rock salt, put the top on and wait quite impatiently until our ice cream was frozen. Spoons were handed to my sisters and I and we ate the ice cream out of the canister as soon as it was ready.
Maybe that’s way out of everything I do in the kitchen, I love stir-freezing the most. Even today, I can’t resist tasting my creation as soon as it’s frozen. I love everything about ice cream; the coldness as it hits my lips, the sweet creaminess as it melts in my mouth. I can mix almost anything together and it still tastes great. The biggest challenge I’ve had in making homemade ice cream is scoopability. Homemade ice creams are notorious for freezing so hard that you have to let it set out for 30 minutes or so before you can scoop them. Not this one – you can scoop it right out of the freezer. That’s a good thing because it’s so delicious you won’t want to wait. Once you master the vanilla ice cream, try the cinnamon variation below.
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- ½ cup light agave nectar
- 2 vanilla bean pods or 2 tablespoons vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean pod & 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks, beaten until smooth
- Combine milk and heavy cream in a heavy bottom medium sized sauce pan. Put gelatin and arrowroot powder in two separate, small bowls. Add 3 tablespoons of milk mixture to each bowl. Mix each bowl well and let sit so that gelatin and arrowroot can soften.
- Split vanilla beans lengthwise and scrape seeds. Add to milk. After both vanilla beans have been scraped, add the vanilla bean pods, gelatin, and agave to the milk mixture. Heat to scalding over medium heat, stirring until gelatin is dissolved. Once milk reaches the scalding point, turn heat down to low immediately and remove milk from heat.
- Add 1/3 cup of warm milk mixture to egg yolks, stirring constantly. Add eggs to sauce pan and return to heat. Add arrowroot and stir. Cook for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Do not boil. To see if the mix is finished cooking, dip a spoon into the mix and quickly remove it. Using a clean finger, draw a line in the mix on the back of the spoon. If the mix holds the line and does not run then it's finished. If not, cook for another 30 seconds to 1 minute and test again. Remove from heat.
- Remove vanilla bean pods from mixture. Strain into a medium bowl. Cover immediately and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight. The ice cream mix will thicken considerably. You can also place the bowl in an ice bath to cool it quicker. Simply fill a large bowl halfway with ice. Set the bowl with the ice cream mix on top of the ice, working it into the cubes until ice surrounds the medium bowl. You can place it in the refrigerator and stir every 30 minutes or so until it is cool.
- Stir freeze according to manufactures directions.