BA’s Best: Vanilla Ice Cream

BA’s Best: Vanilla Ice Cream
Vanilla Ice Cream

It would be a perfectly respectable goal to devote yourself to mastering one really quintessential summer recipe this year. Something simple and classic that could cap off any summery meal, complimenting any other sweet thing that it came into contact with. Something equally at home whether melting atop a freshly baked strawberry rhubarb crisp or luxuriating under a stream of chocolate sauce. Something like, say, speckled buttery-yellow mounds of vanilla ice cream?

Ever so slightly lighter than the double vanilla ice cream, this rendition of a classic yields a creamy custard with a delicate smattering of vanilla throughout. This is a great ‘base’ ice cream to learn from if you’re just starting to experiment with making ice cream at home. It can take on a variety of flavours without overpowering them - for when you feel secure enough in your ice cream-making prowess to push yourself past vanilla. Bon Appetit lists about 4 variations that this recipe can riff on, including a chocolate malt one that I can confidently vouch for.

One of the brilliant ways that you can serve a simple, high-quality vanilla bean ice cream like this one is to drizzle some lovely thick honey over top and sprinkle it with a pinch of flaky sea salt. This is a combination of flavours that I saw a lot last year while travelling in South Korea, except that the ice creams in that situation were soft serve and crowned with a cube of honeycomb as well. They were insanely satisfying to eat in the sweltering temperatures of late-August Seoul and it was with great pleasure that I noted how equally delicious they turned out in the erratic temperatures of early-June Vancouver.

BA’s Best: Vanilla Ice Cream

Taken directly from BA’s Best arsenal, with the most minor of tweaks here and there

Makes roughly 3 ½ cups of ice cream

*Please note that this recipe requires the use of an ice cream maker


1 cup whole milk
1 ½ cups heavy (whipping) cream
½ cup white sugar, divided in half
Pinch of kosher salt
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
5 large egg yolks


Combine the heavy cream, milk, ¼ cup of sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean and throw in the pod itself. Bring the mixture just to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 30 minutes to allow the vanilla bean to steep in the milk.

Meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a medium bowl until pale, about 2 minutes. Gradually whisk in ½ cup of warm cream mixture. Whisk the yolk-cream mixture into the remaining cream in the saucepan. Cook the custard over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, 3-4 minutes. The consistency should be like that of a thick eggnog.

Strain the custard into a medium bowl. Prepare an ice bath by pouring cold water and ice into a large mixing bowl. Set the custard bowl into the ice bath and let cool for 30 minutes. Process the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, cover, and freeze for up to 1 week. Let sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping and serving.

Vanilla Ice Cream