THE TAKE-IT-EASY ICE CREAM

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
• Philadelphia - style •

Vanilla Bean
Ice Cream
• Philadelphia - style •

With milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla bean.

Vanilla beans can be expensive, so we consider them a rare treat. To celebrate a vanilla bean, we make this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream full of vanilla seeds speckles and a warm, full-bodied vanilla flavour. A vanilla bean ice cream is the kind you only devour in fine-dining restaurants, only that you can make it at home at a fraction of the cost and take the most out of this precious ingredient.

Philadelphia-style ice cream is our Take-It-Easy ice cream, the one we make when we are short of time yet want to make something that everyone will love. Easy and superb, it is a delightful reminder of how great it is to make our own ice cream at home. 

3 more ways to make this Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With milk, cream, sugar, corn starch, vanilla bean.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla bean.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient. With milk, cream, sugar, xanthan gum, vanilla bean.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make, and resistant to melting. With milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean, corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean, egg yolks.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient. With milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean, xanthan gum.

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

show the ingredients of the recipe: milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean

• Vanilla Bean: a good vanilla bean is plump, smells divine and feels fleshy when pressed. If your vanilla bean doesn’t match this description, you can still use it; but you may want to add one tablespoon of vanilla extract to boost the ice cream’s flavour.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar). Another option is raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the ice cream’s flavours. Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Cream (heavy cream – for double cream scroll to the right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in double cream – how to use” notes in the recipe.

show the ingredients of the recipe: milk, cream, sugar, vanilla bean

• Vanilla Bean: a good vanilla bean is plump, smells divine and feels fleshy when pressed. If your vanilla bean doesn’t match this description, you can still use it; but you may want to add one tablespoon of vanilla extract to boost the ice cream’s flavour.

• Heavy cream (for double cream scroll right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% – 40% fat. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content.

Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in Double cream: how to use” notes in the recipe.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar). Another option is raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the ice cream’s flavours. Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

Overview

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

Warm the sugar with half of the milk until hot and steamy and the sugar dissolves. Pour it into a heatprood bowl.

Scrape the vanilla seeds into the warm milk and whisk.

Add the vanilla pod in, too.

Add the rest of the cold milk and all the heavy cream and stir.

Chill the ice cream mixture overnight or until completely cold (a faster chilling method is also included in the recipe).

Remove the vanilla pod. 

Churn in your ice cream maker until fluffed up and creamy.

Put it in the freezer for a few hours to set. 

As soon as it sets, you can either serve it from the ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a container and store it in the freezer.

The recipe

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

Ingredients:
Notes:
If you find the heavy cream in this Philadelphia-style ice cream recipe is too much, do not try to reduce it. Instead, make this ice cream thickened with corn starch, which has the least amount of heavy cream a homemade ice cream can have. 
 
Philadelphia-style, on the other hand, is the easiest ice cream we can make because we do not thicken the ice cream mixture with corn starch/egg yolks /xanthan gum, like in other ways of making ice cream. But we do need to use more heavy cream, mainly to compensate for the lack of body in the ice cream mixture.

When making ice cream prefer to weigh all the ingredients by weight. We also recommend weighing the liquids directly into the bowl/pan as you proceed with the recipe instead of transferring them from one bowl to another because this transfer causes a small -but unwanted- loss of quantity.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:
• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

• sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Use a 15 ml measuring tablespoon (not a regular one); this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure correctly, each time you scoop the sugar, level it with the flat side of a knife.

• milk and cream: thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula any residues left on the sides and bottom of the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

This recipe makes a 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers).

If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down, use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):

milk 32% / heavy cream 52.7% / sugar 15.3 %

in desired total weight of ice cream mixture;

and approx. 1 vanilla pod for every 1000 g; 35 oz of ice cream mixture.

 

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe.

To make the 635 g (22.4 oz) heavy cream, you need:

  • 440 g double cream (15.7 oz) (this is approx. 50% fat)
  • 195 g whole milk (6.7 oz) (this is approx. 3.5% fat)*

 

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a medium bowl, then pour in the milk, a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula. Avoid whisking, as it may turn into whipped cream.

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 635 g (22.4 oz) heavy cream needed. 

*this 195 g (6.7 oz) milk is extra to the 385 g milk (13.6 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if you use double cream, you need in total 580 g of milk (20.3 oz), from which:

  • 385 g (13.6 oz) are for the recipe; and
  • 195 g (6.7 oz) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

This vanilla ice cream is perfect as it is. However, if you want to boost its flavour you can substitute the regular sugar with good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado. These sugars have a natural subtle caramel flavour which pairs well with the vanilla’s tropical notes and boosts its flavour. 

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

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

Instructions
Plan ahead:

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator. Alternatively, if you have two trays of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in 20 minutes; you will find detailed instructions under step 2.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Dissolve the sugar 

Warm the milk with the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put roughly half of the milk (200 g; 7 oz; 1 cup) and all the sugar (185 g; 6.5 oz) and warm over medium heat, often stirring until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and steamy (this is at 75° C / 167° F if you have a thermometer). Do not let it boil.

Remove from the heat and pour it into a large, heatproof bowl.

Scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk; whisk vigorously to distribute the seeds. Αdd the vanilla bean.

Step 2: Chill the ice cream mixture

Add the cold liquids: pour the rest of the cold milk (185 g; 6.6 oz) and all the cold heavy cream (635 g; 22.4 oz) in the vanilla milk. Whisk to combine.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl

and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

If you two trays of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in less than 20 minutes, by cooling the warm milk completely in an ice bath.  

The smaller the quantity of the mixture you chill in the ice bath, the fewer ice cubes you need. So prefer to cool the warmed milk (step 1) in the ice bath before adding the rest of the liquids. As soon as the milk is fridge-cold, you can remove it from the ice bath, add the cold cream and the rest of the cold milk and churn.

How to prepare an ice bath for fast chilling:

1. Put the milk in a bowl made of heatproof glass or stainless steel; these materials help the milk chill fast and not break in sudden temperature changes. Avoid using a plastic bowl which will take forever to cool, or a regular glass bowl that may break upon contact with the ice bath.

2. Nest the bowl with the milk into a large empty bowl (it should be large enough to fit ice cubes on the sides) and fill the sides of the large empty bowl with ice cubes. How many ice cubes? Well, the more ice you put in, the faster it will chill.

3. Pour cold water into the sides of the large bowl, taking care that no water slips into the milk. Pour as much cold water as needed so that the level of the water bath in the large bowl is 2 cm / 1 inch above the milk. 

For this quantity of milk, we started with approx. 300 g; 10 oz ice cubes and less than 1 litre fridge-cold water.

4. Refresh the ice bath with new ice cubes as soon as the older ones start to melt. If you have a thermometer, add enough ice cubes to keep the water well below 10° C / 50° F – take care that you measure the temperature of the water itself, not the ice temperature. The colder the ice bath, the faster the milk will chill. We used approximately 250 g; 9 oz additional ice cubes.

5. Stir often, leaving the spatula in the bowl during the cooling process. The milk is ready when it is fridge-cold to the touch (4-12° C / 39-54° F).

6. Remove the bowl with the milk from the ice bath, and wipe its bottom with a kitchen towel. Add the cold cream and the rest of the cold milk; the ice cream mixture is now ready for churning.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

Step 3: Churn the ice cream

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Remove the vanilla pod from the ice cream mixture.

Whisk the ice cream mixture thoroughly.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.
To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.
In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.
So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.
Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 4: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do 

so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 
Setting time depends on many factors; read right below for indicative times.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to be inserted into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

Storing and serving

Storing: Philadelphia-style ice cream is at its best when eaten the day it is made. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from the freezer’s smell and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minutes until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11°C / 12°F.

Instructions

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator. Alternatively, if you have two trays of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in 20 minutes; see detailed instructions below.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Warm the milk with the sugar: in a medium saucepan, put roughly half of the milk (200 g; 7 oz; 1 cup) and all the sugar (185 g; 6.5 oz) and warm over medium heat, often stirring until the sugar dissolves and the milk is hot and steamy (this is at 75° C / 167° F if you have a thermometer). Do not let it boil.

Remove from the heat and pour it into a large, heatproof bowl.

Scrape the vanilla seeds from the vanilla bean directly into the milk; whisk to evenly distribute the seeds. Αdd the vanilla bean, too. 

Add the cold liquids: add the rest of the cold milk (185 g; 6.6 oz)  and all the cold heavy cream (635 g; 22.4 oz) and stir thoroughly.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

If you want to shortcut the time and churn the ice cream mixture faster, do not add the cold milk and cream, but follow the instructions in How to chill the milk in less than one hour in the questions & troubleshooting section below.

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Remove the vanilla pod from the ice cream mixture.

Whisk the ice cream mixture thoroughly.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes; read more in How do I know when the ice cream is ready in questions & troubleshooting below.

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine

· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 

· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 

Setting time depends on many factors; read How long does it take for the ice cream to set in questions & troubleshooting below.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing: Philadelphia-style ice cream is at its best when eaten the day it is made. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from the freezer’s smell and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11° / 12°F.

If you have lots of ice, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in approx. 20 minutes, by cooling the warm milk completely in an ice bath.  

The smaller the quantity of the mixture you chill in the ice bath, the fewer ice cubes you need. So prefer to cool the warmed milk (step 1) in the ice bath before adding the rest of the liquids. As soon as the milk is fridge-cold, you can remove it from the ice bath, add the cold cream and the rest of the cold milk and churn.

How to prepare an ice bath for fast chilling:

1. Put the milk in a bowl made of heatproof glass or stainless steel; these are materials that help the milk chill fast and do not break in sudden temperature changes. Avoid using a plastic bowl which will take forever to cool, or a regular glass bowl that may break upon contact with the ice bath. 

2. Nest the bowl with the milk into a large empty bowl (it should be large enough to fit ice cubes on the sides) and fill the sides of the large empty bowl with ice cubes. How many ice cubes? Well, the more ice you put in, the faster it will chill.

3. Pour cold water into the sides of the large bowl, taking care that no water slips into the milk. Pour as much cold water as needed so that the level of the water bath in the large bowl is 2 cm / 1 inch above the milk. 

For this quantity of milk, we started with approx. 300 g; 10 oz ice cubes and less than 1 litre fridge-cold water.

4. Refresh the ice bath with new ice cubes as soon as the older ones start to melt. If you have a thermometer, add enough ice cubes to keep the water well below 10° C / 50° F – take care that you measure the temperature of the water itself, not the ice temperature. The colder the ice bath, the faster the milk will chill. We used approximately 250 g; 9 oz additional ice cubes.

5. Stir often, leaving the spatula in the bowl during the cooling process. The milk is ready when it is fridge-cold to the touch (4-12° C / 39-54° F).

6. Remove the bowl with the milk from the ice bath, and wipe its bottom with a kitchen towel. Add the cold cream and the rest of the cold milk; the ice cream mixture is now ready for churning.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream.

It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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