No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | the custard version​

May 31, 2021

|

© 2021 Biterkin

cover photo for recipe no-churn vanilla bean ice cream custard
cover photo for recipe no-churn vanilla bean ice cream custard
Share on facebook
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email

You only need cream, egg yolks, sugar and a vanilla bean to make this No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. The process is as simple as that: you boil the cream with the sugar, pour it over the egg yolks, chill the whole thing and then whip with the mixer. You then have to wait until it sets overnight in the freezer; and your patience is rewarded with the best no-churn ice cream you can make at home. 

What you will love about this no-churn ice cream is that with just four ingredients (and no condensed milk, none at all) plus a hand-held mixer you can make an ice cream that everyone will adore. What is more, it’s the perfect choice for making ice cream pops and ice cream cakes, as its rich body makes it easy to pour into moulds without making a mess.

 

The Biterkin tricks for a No-Churn Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

When making custard-based ice creams at home, you may be asked to use an instant-read thermometer to check if the custard has reached the right temperature, which is around 80ºC/176ºF. This is the temperature at which the custard is thickened; also, at this temperature, the eggs are perfectly safe to eat. But! While it is good to have a thermometer, it is only natural that you may not have one at home.

For this reason I have developed a very simple method, which uses the laws of physics to guarantee that the custard is cooked to the right temperature. It is also the least labour-intensive one, as it does not require you to stand over the stovetop stirring until the custard is thickened. 

Instead, you only need to bring the dairy and sugar to a full boil and then pour the mixture onto the cold egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. It works every time, because by combining the right amount of boiling dairy with the right amount of fridge-cold egg yolks the custard comes to the right temperature.

For this method to work, you have to make sure that:

  1. the ingredients are properly measured; it is important that the ratio of “cold egg yolks to boiling dairy” is right
  2. egg yolks are cold from the fridge (4ºC; 39ºF), and
  3. you bring the dairy to a full boil (100ºC; 212ºF) and immediately pour it over the egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. 

This is totally optional, but you can replace regular sugar with a good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado. These are sugars which are very aromatic, thanks to their natural content in molasses, which gives them an earthy, slightly caramelised aroma, giving the final ice cream an aroma similar to that of vanilla’s.

By replacing regular sugar with a good quality raw cane sugar, you boost the vanilla flavour of the ice cream, which takes the vanilla-ness to the next level.

You will need a good-quality raw cane sugar to obtain the best results. To evaluate the quality of the sugar, you only have to sniff it; it should smell divine. In my experience, the best Demerara sugar comes from the island of Mauritius, so I always check the packaging for the origin.

The ingredients:

This is what you will need:

to show the ingredients for no-churn vanilla bean ice cream custard

Every single ingredient plays a vital role in the recipe. Ice creams are all about balance, both in terms of ingredients, as well as their quantities. Do not play around changing the proportions of the ingredients or trying to use low-fat versions of dairy and sweeteners, such as stevia/other decreased-calorie sugars. Look out for these:

The recipe at a glance:

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

No-churn Vanilla Ice Cream | the custard version
Ingredients:

For best results, use a scale and measure the ingredients directly into the utensils, when you need them.

Avoid weighing in one utensil and transferring to another, as this causes a small, but important loss of quantity, especially in liquids.

Use heavy cream suitable for whipping, with 35-36% fat percentage.

Do not use lower fat versions, or else the custard may not whip.

Do not use any kind of non-dairy cream. 

If you live in the UK where heavy cream is not available, you can combine double cream and milk to create heavy cream.

For 500 gr heavy cream (17.6 oz.) you will need:

  • 350 gr double cream (12.3 oz.) (with 50% fat)
  • 150 gr/ml regular milk (5.3 oz.) (3.5% fat)

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a bowl, then pour in the milk, a little at a time, whisking smoothly after each addition until just incorporated. Do not over-whisk, or else it will turn into whipped cream; stop when the cream is smooth and preferably with a pourable consistency.

Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 500 gr heavy cream needed. All the other ingredients remain the same.

Use regular sugar (white granulated sugar).

You could use a raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which will enhance the vanilla flavour of the ice cream.

Do not use sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia. Also, do not use confectioner’s sugar, it is not suitable for this recipe. 

it is recommended to weigh the egg yolks, because egg sizes (and their yolks) may vary from my country to yours. If you do not have a scale, use only egg yolks from eggs which are in the range of around 65 – 75 gr; 2.3 – 2.65 oz (whole egg, in its shell). The weight of the eggs is written on their packaging and they may be labelled as “large” or “extra large”, depending on the country they are sold.

The egg yolks should be cold when you pour in the boiling cream, or else they may be cooked.

TIP: to separate the egg yolk from the white, do it when the eggs are cold from the fridge, as the egg yolks are firmer and are easy to handle.

A good vanilla bean looks fresh and plump. The plumper the vanilla bean, the more the seeds which hide inside it are; and the more flavourful the ice cream will be. 

Tip: when it is time to remove the vanilla bean from the custard right before whipping, give each halved bean a last scrape with your fingers (clean hands, please), holding the halved bean between your thumb and index finger and gently sliding it lengthwise over the ice cream mixture, to remove any seed residues which are attached on the pod, and add them in. The reason to do so, is that the vanilla bean softens after steeping in the ice cream mixture and any seeds which are still attached to it are easy to remove and add to your ice cream.

It is optional to add vanilla extract, as the vanilla bean should provide enough vanilla aroma to the ice cream, especially if it is a good-quality one.  

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Using a saucepan with a long handle in step 1 is useful for easily pouring  the boiling cream with one hand, while whisking the eggs vigorously with the other.

Bonus tip: if the bowl with the eggs is lightweight, put a towel under it, to keep it in place while whisking.

Instructions
Step 1: Prepare the custard

Prepare the egg yolks: put the cold egg yolks (100 gr; 3.5 oz.) in a large bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Put them in the fridge to keep them cold, keeping the whisk in the bowl. Do not do this ahead of time, as the egg yolks dry quickly.

Boil the cream and sugar: place the heavy cream (500 gr; 17.6 oz; 2 cups & 2 Tbs.) and the sugar (130 gr; 4.6 oz; 1/2 cup & 2 Tbs.) in a medium saucepan. Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula, until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to high and remove the egg yolks from the fridge. 

Pour the boiling cream in the egg yolks: when the cream comes to a full boil (large bubbles cover the surface), remove it from the heat, and immediately start pouring it in a steady stream into the cold egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other.

Stir: with a rubber spatula, stir well and thoroughly for one minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl.

You have to stir the custard with a rubber spatula while it is still hot, thoroughly scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, where residues of egg yolk lie. Those residues, which you cannot see, are there and they should be incorporated into the rest of the mixture, while it is still hot. Stirring also makes the custard thicken slightly.

Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl.

Scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean directly into the ice cream mixture and whisk to combine. Αdd the scraped vanilla bean in the mixture, too. 

Step 2: Chill the custard

Cool it down:  prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the custard in it, taking care that no water slips into it. Leave it to cool down for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill thoroughly:  before you whip it, the custard should be thoroughly cold. To chill it, use one of the two methods below (click on methods to read more):

Personally, I prefer the slow method, as during the refrigeration process the custard matures and the flavours improve. However, most people do not notice this flavour improvement, therefore feel free to follow the method which is more convenient to you.
Another thing to consider in choosing the fast method is whether you have enough ice to fully submerge the bag with the custard.

Step 3: Whip the custard

Remove the vanilla bean from the ice cream mixture; add the vanilla extract (1 tsp -if using).

Pour the chilled custard into the bowl of a stand or hand-held mixer.

Whip the custard: with the whisk attachment on, start whipping at low speed and gradually increase the speed to high. Beat until soft peaks form and it is dollopable: this is when the waves that the whisk leaves on the surface of the cream stay there, instead of disappearing in the cream.

Step 4: Freeze until firm

Transfer the whipped custard into a freezable container. Cover well and put it in the freezer until completely firm and set, preferably overnight. 

If using as a filling in a mould, ice cream sandwich or a torte, use it directly after whipping. Freeze for 24 hours before cutting/unmoulding.

The setting time for this no-churn ice cream depends on your freezer. It is most likely that it will take 6-8 hours, but it is recommended to let it fully set overnight; you can tell if the ice cream has properly set, if you insert a knife into and it is hard to go all the way to the bottom*. When it is set, you can soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, by putting it in the refrigerator for one hour, which will finally give the best texture and mouthfeel to this ice cream. 

* if the ice cream is not ready yet, when you insert a knife, it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down. In this case, you have to let it set for longer.

Storage and serving
Storage: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells.
Scooping: before serving, soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, by putting it in the refrigerator for 1 hour (or 30 minutes if it is freshly made).

Use a rubber spatula: 

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Use a saucepan with a long handle:

Using a saucepan with a long handle in step 1 is useful for easily pouring  the boiling cream with one hand, while whisking the eggs vigorously with the other.

Bonus tip: if the bowl with the eggs is lightweight, put a towel under it, to keep it in place while whisking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Sugar