easy desserts & recipes: serious vanilla ice cream recipe by alton brown

easy desserts & recipes: serious vanilla ice cream recipe by alton brown

We’ve all heard it. As kids we say it and as adults we think it. “I scream. You scream. We all scream for ice cream.” We are sure that there are some folks out there who don’t care for ice cream. However, ice cream is by far one of our favorite desserts. So, as the weather continues to warm we would like to devote a post or two or three to our all time favorite summer treat: ice cream.

Let us take this opportunity to define ice cream and a few other frozen treats.

1. Ice Cream: a frozen food containing cream or milk and butterfat, sugar, flavoring, and sometimes eggs.
2. Gelato: a rich ice cream, made with eggs and usually containing a relatively low percentage of butterfat.
3. Sorbet: a frozen food made from fruit puree that is whipped.
4. Sherbet: a frozen food made from fruit, milk and less than 2% butterfat.

Of course, there is frozen yogurt, ice milk, low fat ice cream, Italian ice, etc. We love them all and will write about most of them; however we will now get to a brief history of our beloved ice cream:

According to food historians ice cream’s origin can be traced back to China as early as 3000 BC. The first frozen treat was probably more closely related to sorbet and less like ice cream. This frozen treat from the China is thought to have made its way to Italy due to the travels of Marco Polo, but there is no definitive proof.

During the 17th century a more modern version of ice cream found its way to the tables of Italy where some food historians believe it was invented. It is thought that the first ice creams were simply sweet cream or custards (more like French ice cream that is egg based) and chilling them with ice, calling it “iced creams”. Because retaining ice during warm months, before the invention of refrigeration, was something that only the well-to-do could afford, ice cream was not enjoyed by the masses during the summer months.

Once refrigeration was invented the ice cream industry took off. Today we enjoy a variety of ice cream as manufacturers continue to delight us with their flavorful sweet concoctions. Making ice cream your own ice cream allows you to create your own flavors, however if you have never made ice cream a good place to start is with a recipe for good ole’ vanilla.

We love all the fancy, complex flavors of ice cream available on the market, but there is something to be said for the creamy, rich goodness of vanilla ice cream. It is humble and inviting. Plus, it is a blank canvas awaiting any number of toppings to accompany it.

We adore Alton Brown and have used yet another of his recipes. What we like best about this recipe is his use of the peach preserves. Who would have thought to add them in a recipe for vanilla ice cream?! The preserves add to the richness in flavor, allowing it to stand on its own, no topping needed. The name for this ice cream suits it perfectly:

Serious Vanilla Ice Cream (recipe from Alton Brown)

Ingredients

2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup minus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons peach preserves (not jelly)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

Directions

Combine all ingredients (including the bean and its pulp) in a large saucepan and place over medium heat. Attach a frying or candy thermometer to inside of pan. Stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to 170 degrees F. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Remove the hull of the vanilla bean, pour mixture into lidded container and refrigerate mixture overnight to mellow flavors and texture.

Freeze mixture in ice cream freezer according to unit’s instructions. The mixture will not freeze hard in the machine. Once the volume has increased by 1/2 to 3/4 times, and reached a soft serve consistency, spoon the mixture back into a lidded container and harden in the freezer at least 1 hour before serving.


Photography Data:
ApertureFNumber: f/3.5
Make: Canon
Model: Canon EOS 350D DIGITAL
Featured Photographer

ExposureTime: 1/40
FNumber: 35/10
ExposureProgram: 1
ISOSpeedRatings: 100
MaxApertureValue: 96875/100000
MeteringMode: 5
Flash: 16
FocalLength: 50/1

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18 comments

  • May 17, 2012 at 8:33 am //

    Vanilla ice cream is always my favorite and Wow,,stunning pictures ,looks so elegan :)

    • May 17, 2012 at 8:50 am //

      What is your second favorite flavor?

  • May 17, 2012 at 9:50 am //

    I haven’t used any of Alton Brown’s recipes for quite awhile, but boy do they work – I’ve never had a bad experience. The Peach Preserves idea is really interesting. I haven’t made ice cream for some time, and won’t be doing so soon, but maybe later this summer. And if I do – and if it isn’t chocolate, which it probably will be! – I may give this a try. Good history of ice cream, good post – thanks.

    • May 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm //

      HE is a true favorite of ours, all his recipes are so spot on, we are hoping to try some exotic flavors this year, our ice cream maker only makes a quart, but that’s okay ( forced portion control) because there are days (or times of the month) that a pint of Ben & Jerry’s can easily disappear.

  • May 17, 2012 at 12:31 pm //

    Vanilla ice cream is definitely a classic, my all-time favorite!

    • May 17, 2012 at 8:56 pm //

      Ours too!!!

  • May 17, 2012 at 1:05 pm //

    that a classic ice cream loved by everyone and the presentation is so beautiful!

    • May 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm //

      YES!!! I love seeing the specs of vanilla bean in the ice cream =)

  • May 17, 2012 at 8:42 pm //

    I love vanilla ice-cream and I love Alton Brown! Looks perfect!

  • May 17, 2012 at 10:21 pm //

    I love making homemade ice cream! It’s fun to experiment with add-ins after creating the vanilla base. Your photograph is stunning!

  • May 18, 2012 at 2:50 am //

    An all time fave…Lovely clicks…

  • May 18, 2012 at 3:01 am //

    Beautiful ice cream, so simply yet looks so elegant.

  • May 18, 2012 at 3:14 am //

    This sounds like my kind of recipe…I’m such a huge fan of homemade ice-cream! I think I’d replace the sugar with stevia…

  • May 18, 2012 at 6:15 am //

    oh my , this looks crazy good. Vanilla Ice Cream homemade.. I’m so intimidated to make ice-cream at home

  • May 18, 2012 at 11:18 am //

    My husband’s favorite ice cream is vanilla! I must try this recipe, especially with the addition of peach preserves. Alton Brown has added them for a very good reason. A most delicious recipe!

  • May 19, 2012 at 4:22 am //

    I hate regular vanilla ice cream. But when it’s homemade? With real vanilla beans? Oh my gosh, it’s divine–it’s completely different! This sounds so good, especially with the peach preserves!

  • May 19, 2012 at 10:08 am //

    This looks fantastic! I love the simplicity of vanilla ice cream and this looks just perfect!