Just made vanilla ice cream with vanilla beans for the first time. WOW! I don’t think I can ever go back to vanilla ice cream with extract ever again—even high-quality extract! Absolutely delicious! I just might eat this entire batch right now!

Costco here in Calgary currently sells Rodelle-brand vanilla beans in batches of 10 beans for under $13 dollars. That’s the cheapest per-bean price I’ve ever found.

  • 2 cups cream
  • 1 cup table cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 6 egg yolks

Standard process: Combine all the cream/milk and sugar in a pot. Split the beans and scrape the pulp into the cream-sugar mixture. Throw the bean pods in, too. Heat to a simmer so the sugar fully dissolves. Cover and let steep for a good hour. This gets the most bang out of the vanilla beans. Whip the egg yolks a little, temper them with about a cup of the hot mixture, then pour everything back into the pan and heat to at least 160°F (70°C) to pasteurize the eggs. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Put everything in a bowl (including the bean pods), cover, and place in the fridge overnight. Before putting the custard into your ice cream maker, remove the pods. Rinse and dry them and you can put them in your sugar bowl. Freeze the custard and enjoy!!

UPDATE 2016:

My standard sweet cream recipe is

  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 egg yolks (for cooked recipes)

One vanilla bean is plenty. Two is overkill.