I love vanilla beans!
I have a friend that I share life’s abundance with. She is from Indonesia. She went home for a visit, and brought me back fresh vanilla beans from Bali.
Oh my goodness!
When I buy vanilla beans in the store, they are dried sticks and have very little aroma or flavor, and they are very expensive.
My friend said that it cost her $5.50 for a bag of 15 pods. She gave me 5 of them. I know exactly what to do with them.
At our house, we make our own ice cream with raw cream, and fresh eggs yolks. My favorite is peanut butter chocolate, but I am having guests this weekend, and I will be making peach cobbler. So vanilla is required.
If I am going to bother with boring vanilla, then something special is needed. These vanilla beans are just the thing.
The first thing that I noticed about these beans are the aroma. They smell so sweet that I was tempted to bite into one, but I know better. I also noticed that they have been dried just to the consistancy of a raisin. They are soft, plump, and they are easy to cut into. When you scrape the seeds, there are alot of them.
I remember making ice cream as a kid, we did not use a custard recipe, and when we froze it, it was hard. So I use a custard recipe that requires the extra step of cooking but it is well worth the effort. The ice cream will freeze to a firm-but scoopable texture. Like store bought, but without all the weird words on the box. Just cream, milk, salt, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and vanilla bean. Yum!
So, when you heat the milk, cream, salt, and sugar; you slice open the vanilla bean lengthwise, then scrape the seeds into the pot. You also add the bean pod, and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring.
You will slowly add this heated mixture to some egg yolks, and sugar.
Add some more vanilla (extract), remove the bean and chill for two hours.
Resist! DON’T DO IT! You will end up eating the whole thing before you get ice cream. Just put it into your ice cream freezer as quickly as you can. My daughter gave me this lovely model. It takes 25-30 minutes to churn and freeze.
Ok–now! Please pass the spoons.