Remember a couple of weeks ago when I warned you about the dairy bomb that was eggplant parm? If you made it, ate it, and digested it relatively painlessly, then congratulations - you are now ready for the next level of dairy exposure. Please welcome our next contestant in the quest to master 101 home cooking classics: vanilla ice cream. Specifically, double vanilla ice cream.
You might assume that the ‘double’ in this recipe’s moniker refers to the quantity of vanilla. You would be correct, but as well as using two vanilla beans (instead of the usual one), this recipe can also claim the title of double from the dairy that it gets. Instead of the more commonly seen combination of milk + heavy cream, this recipe doubles up on creams and uses a mixture of half-and-half + heavy cream, resulting in an especially rich base for all of those vanilla flecks to sink into. Try not to dirty like 7 spoons from the number of times you go back and dip one into the unfrozen, chilling base; eating it like some insanely great dessert soup.
Now, I understand that vanilla beans are not cheap, but this is another one of those stubborn recipes that has a short ingredient list that relies on dropping a bit of money on groceries. Real vanilla beans and fat, golden yolks from happy hens are what make this ice cream so custardy and indulgent. Oh and all of the creams. They help too.
As if that alone were not motivation enough, I have also provided instructions for an optional-but-strongly-encouraged next step: using your double vanilla ice cream in an affogato that involves Mexican hot chocolate. If you would like this ice cream to go from amazing to transcendent, go down this route. You will certainly not experience regret. Unless you were one of those lactose-phobic people who weren’t even going to chance it with cheese, never mind cream, in which case - what are you doing here?? Go find the lovely coconut ice cream recipe I left for you back there!
Double Vanilla Ice Cream
From Chowhound (Vanilla Bean Ice Cream)
Makes 1 quart of ice cream
*Please note that this recipe requires that you have numerous large mixing bowls handy as well as the most important piece of equipment: an ice cream maker.
2 vanilla beans
2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1 cup half-and-half cream
2/3 cup white sugar
6 large egg yolks
Prepare an ice bath by filling a large mixing bowl with cold water and ice. Set aside.
Split the vanilla beans in half lengthwise with a small knife. Scrape out the vanilla seeds and place into a medium saucepan along with the pods. Pour in the heavy cream, half-and-half, and sugar. Stir over medium heat, cooking until the mixture comes to a simmer and the sugar dissolves (about 12 minutes).
Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until pale and smooth. Take the cream mixture off the heat and pour one cup of the hot cream into the yolks, whisking constantly to incorporate quickly. Pour the yolk-cream amalgam back into the saucepan with the remaining cream and place on the stove over medium-low heat, stirring constantly. You want to cook the custard for about 3-4 minutes, or until it starts to get thicker and coats the back of a spoon easily. I compare the texture to that of a very rich eggnog.
Remove the custard from the heat and pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into a large, heatproof mixing bowl. Place the vanilla pods back into the strained custard and set the bowl of custard into the reserved ice bath carefully. Allow the custard to come to room temperature. Cover the custard and refrigerate it for at least 12 hours, but preferably a full 24 (or even up to 48) hours. Once chilled properly, churn and freeze according to manufacturer’s instructions. To serve, allow the ice cream to sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before scooping out with a damp ice cream scoop. Ice cream keeps for 1 week in the fridge.
Mexican Hot Chocolate Affogato
Adapted from Food52 (Sipping Chocolate)
Makes 4 servings of affogato (or just hot chocolate)
2 cups whole milk
1 tsp honey
4 oz dark chocolate (e.g. 70% +)
2 cinnamon sticks, snapped in half
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of sea salt
4 servings of double vanilla ice cream (see above)
Place all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan set over low heat. Whisk gently until the chocolate has melted. Continue heating the hot chocolate for 10-15 more minutes, stirring frequently to avoid a skin forming or the bottom from burning.
To serve, scoop fat mounds of ice cream into bowls. Pour about half a cup of affogato over each serving. Devour immediately.