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Vanilla Custard Ice Cream
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In a heavy 2-quart saucepan or double boiler over medium-low heat, stir and heat the cream, milk, sugar and vanilla bean until the sugar dissolves. Do not boil. In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks lightly. While whisking, pour 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the bowl, then pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon (don't let the mixture boil; it could curdle) for about 8 minutes, or until it begins to thicken and coats the spoon. To test for doneness, dip a metal spoon into the mixture and run your finger across the back. The custard is done when your finger leaves a clear, clean trail. A candy thermometer should read 175-180 degrees F. Remove the pan from the heat and remove the vanilla bean. If using extract, stir it in now. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
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