Vanilla is not one of my favorite flavors of ice cream…unless it’s real vanilla bean ice cream! This ice cream is a great treat on those times when you really crave something sweet, though not over-the-top sweet. It is sweetened with real maple syrup, not refined sugar…so it is much better for you.
- 3 1/2 cups heavy cream, preferably raw, but definitely not ultra-pasteurized
- 1/2 cup real pure organic maple syrup (we prefer grade B)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder
- 2 plump vanilla beans
In a large stainless-steel bowl (about 3-quarts), add the cream, maple syrup, egg yolks, and arrowroot powder.
Next split the vanilla beans down the middle, lengthwise, leaving about 1-inch intact at the top. Scrape the beans with the dull side of a knife to get most of the seeds out. Add these seeds to the cream mixture, set aside the vanilla pods.
Using a stick blender, blend the cream mixture until all ingredients are combined. Add the vanilla pods back to the cream mixture.
Heat some water, over medium heat, in a saucepan large enough that the stainless-steel bowl will sit safely on top of. (Make there is enough water in the pan, so that the bottom of the bowl just touches the water.) When the water is just starting to steam, place the bowl of cream mixture on top of the pan; making sure it is level and secure. Stir the cream mixture constantly, until warmed through, about 5 minutes.
Carefully remove the bowl from the pan. Remove the vanilla pods. Blend 1-2 times more using a stick blender, until the vanilla seeds are mixed through. Place the vanilla pods back in the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Remove the vanilla pods, but don’t discard…see note below. Stir the cream mixture to blend. Transfer it to an ice cream maker and freeze according the manufacture’s instructions. In my Cuisinart 1-1/2 Quart Ice Cream Maker it takes about 20 minutes. You can serve right away if you like soft-serve consistency, or place in a freezer-safe container with a lid in the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.
Makes slightly more than 1 quart.
Note: You do not have to discard the empty vanilla bean pods. Rinse them under cool water to completely get rid of any remaining milk/cream residue, and let air-dry completely. Then you can use them again for other things. For example… Add them to a jar of sugar, and after a little while this will give your sugar a subtle vanilla flavor. You could cut up the dried pod and grind it in a coffee/spice grinder and mix this in your sugar jar. Or try adding the dried vanilla pod to a bottle of maple syrup.
Variations: try adding 1/3 cup coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate or chocolate chips (60-70% cacao) during the last 5 minutes in the machine and/or 1/2 teaspoon of peppermint extract for a refreshing mint flavor.