Making ice cream includes one of those techniques that once learned can be carried over to so many different baking classics like pastry cream, pudding, crème brûlée, tiramisù, the options are endless. It may seem intimidating but it's not super hard and with some practice can be a useful skill to have later on. I know the tendency is to just make the easy ice cream with a can of sweetened condensed milk and some heavy cream, but I am here to tell you that making it the old fashioned way is so worth it! Plus, is ice cream really ice cream if it's not made with eggs? I prefer the richness the egg yolk adds to the custard and the depth of flavor that helps to cut through the milk and sugar and allow your secondary flavoring to shine, in this case rose. This recipe can be used as a base for any flavor with a couple of adjustments here or there. I will discuss in detail further in the recipe, just keep an eye out for the highlighted tips, they will make or break your final product.
Ice Cream Base
2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
6 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean or 1 tbs vanilla extract
(for this recipe I used 2 tbs of my homemade rose simple syrup. Find the how-to HERE! )
- Separate the eggs and reserve 6 yolks in a bowl, glass or metal work best. Do not use a heat sensitive bowl as hot liquid will be poued over the eggs and you do not want the bowl to crack.
- Add sugar to egg yolks and mix well.
- Place the half and half, cream, and vanilla in a pot on the stove and turn heat on medium low. Cook until simmering, hot, and barely steaming. Do not let the mixture reach a heavy boil as the cream will separate!
- Once the milk mixture has reached temperature SLOWLY add it in to the egg yolks while continuously stirring. Start by pouring a quarter sized amount of liquid into the eggs while whisking. Count slowly to 4 and then add another quarter size. Each time you count to 4 add double the amount that was just added until all the milk has been incorporated into the egg yolk mixture and your arm feels like it might fall off. The point of this is to slowly cook your egg yolk. The slower an egg cooks, the creamier its consistency. The stirring is also a huge factor here. It keeps the proteins in the yolk from binding too quickly and creating a solid substance, like scrambled eggs. The sugar also plays its part in coating the egg proteins and allowing them to absorb the liquid more evenly as well as to prevent binding. When all of these things are done properly in synch you get a beautiful thickening agent in your custard and not a scrambled mess. The "incredible, edible egg" right?
- Pour mixture back into pot and turn on low heat. Continue to heat until mixture has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. If you have a thermometer you want the custard at around 180°. If not, no worries just cook until thickened. Do not turn your heat past low to medium low. You want to cook your eggs VERY SLOWLY!
- When thickened take off of stove and add in any desired flavorings. I added 2 tbs of my rose simple syrup. A note on flavorings: If using sweetened ingredients such as cookies, chocolate chips, or a high content sugar syrup like the rose above, there is no need to alter this recipe. However, if you are using an extract alone or a salty ingredient I would increase your sugar by an extra tablespoon or two to enhance the sweeteness.
- Let cool on the counter for at least an hour.
- Pour through fine mesh sieve to strain any overcooked bits and the film that formed during cooling. Wrap with plastic wrap that touches the liquid to prevent filming. Place in refrigerator to completely cool before pouring into ice cream machine (the one I use is linked below). Follow your machines instructions for turning your custard into creamy, delicious ice cream. Enjoy!
This is the ice cream machine we use at our house. The fact that it doesn't require salt or ice, sits on my countertop, and makes a quart of ice cream in under 60 minutes is why its my favorite kitchen gadget I own! Huge bonus, the parts are all dishwasher safe!