Even though we’re living in the age of microwaves, fast food and the availability of many instant foods, nothing can rush the process that a vanilla bean endures before it reaches our kitchens and added to our favourite recipes.
Each time I need to purchase vanilla beans I hesitate because of the cost. But then I remind myself of the time, work and care that goes into the growing and processing of nature’s wonderful little gift to us. I was surprised to find out that vanilla is the second most expensive spice after saffron.
Though it is referred to as a bean it is actually the seed of a vine from the orchid family.
When all is said and done and keeping in mind that it must be hand pollinated, it may take between nine to ten months before this fragrant bean is ready to be sold on the market.
Even though Mexican vanilla is the most highly prized, I find the Madagascar Bourbon varieties of both vanilla extract and bean to be intensely fragrant and flavourful. They also seem to be more readily available in the bulk food and grocery stores as I have yet to come across any Mexican vanilla myself.
This Vanilla Ice Cream recipe uses one whole vanilla bean and only natural ingredients and I especially like the fact that no eggs are used in the preparation.
It does however require the use of an Ice Cream Machine but the resulting creamy texture and exquisite taste far outweighs the extra effort required in making it.
Simply Vanilla Ice Cream
2 cups half and half (10% cream)
1 cup whipping cream (35% cream)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean
- Split vanilla bean in half and scrape out seeds.
- Add vanilla seeds and hull to remaining ingredients and place in a medium saucepan.
- Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until mixture reaches 170 degrees F.
- If you don’t have a thermometer heat mixture until you see a bubble hit the surface.
- Do not allow to boil, remove from heat and cool slightly.
- Place in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove vanilla bean hull and freeze mixture per manufacturer’s directions of your ice cream maker
- Place prepared ice cream in a covered container and freeze at least 1 hour before serving.
- Makes 1 quart of ice cream
Notes, Tips and Suggestions
- Remember to place Ice Cream Machine canister in the freezer the night before or at least 15 hours before you want to use it.
- Don’t throw the vanilla bean hull away, wash and dry it and add to ¾ cups granulated sugar and in a few days you will have vanilla sugar for your next batch of ice cream.
- Remove ice cream from freezer a few minutes before serving to soften slightly.
- This ice cream is especially good when served with homemade apple, peach or cherry pie.
Make a Good Investment…Yummy Dividends Will Follow
I don’t think owning an Ice Cream Machine ranks high on the kitchen utensil priority list but if you enjoy really good frozen treats the investment is truly worth while.
Some planning is required when using the machine as the canister must be placed in the freezer over night and the mixture must be made the day ahead and refrigerated overnight for best results.
The actual time it takes to make the ice cream or any other frozen dessert ranges between 20 to 30 minutes depending on what you’re making.
The ice cream Machine can be used year round so you’re not investing in something that can only be used during the summer months. Ice cream is yummy no matter what season.
I recently became aware that Kitchen Aid has Ice Cream Machine accessories available to attach onto their Kitchen Aid mixer. If you are considering purchasing an Ice cream Machine and own a Kitchen Aid mixer it would be a good idea to check out this option first.