Vanilla Ice Cream Custard

After reading the alarmingly long list of ingredients (and the saturated fat content!) of Trader Joe’s Super Premium vanilla ice cream, I decided to make my own.  I basically adapted my favorite pudding recipe, cutting the corn starch a little and amping up the vanilla.  Turned out better than anything I’d made before, and absolutely delicious on baked apples.  Makes about 4 cups.  Enjoy.

Vanilla Ice Cream Custard

2 c. 2% milk, divided
1 c. heavy cream
Vanilla bean
2 T. cornstarch
2/3 c. plus ¼ c. sugar
4 egg yolks
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Almond extract (few drops), opt.

In a small saucepan, heat one cup milk and cream over medium low heat. Scrape in seeds and stir. Add pod, cover and steep at least 20 min. Remove pod. Rewarm gently.

In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine cornstarch and ¼ c. sugar. Pour in warm vanilla milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add remaining sugar. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves and small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, stirring often. Mixture will thicken slightly.

In the meantime, whisk egg yolks and remaining cup milk in a medium bowl until combined. When vanilla mixture has begun to bubble and thicken, pour one cup (or so) of it into the egg mixture, whisking to temper eggs. (This step must be done quickly and smoothly so you don’t get scrambled eggs!) Pour tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stirring constantly. Keep at a slow boil for one minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in extract(s). Let cool.

Pour cooled mixture into airtight container, placing saran wrap directly on the surface to prevent a “skin” from forming. Chill until cold (ideally overnight). Process in an ice cream maker until quite firm. May be made ahead and frozen in an airtight container. Allow to sit at room temperature 10-15 min. before serving.

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