Perfect Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream is a dessert which is so easy to get wrong. One wrong step and it’s bland, boring, hum drum. It’s difficult to impress with vanilla, because everyone’s had it, and therefore everyone’s an expert (or so they think). Ice cream too, is a dessert that is often dismissed as a side dish, or a children’s dessert. Blasphemy I say. It’s time for an ice cream renaissance, and yes I am aware that summer has just ended.

I have followed many an ice cream recipe in my time, from the tricky traditional frozen custard method to simple condensed milk and whipped cream concoctions, and I think I have finally found a winner. This ice cream is deliciously creamy, with an incredible texture. It’s thick and almost chewy, but melts to a delicious smooth cream. This recipe contains no eggs, but it’s still plenty rich, with the surprise ingredient of a small amount of cream cheese.

The recipe is based on a mixture of cream, milk, glucose syrup, vanilla and salt all thickened with corn flour (starch) along with a small amount of good ol’ philadelphia. What you end up with is a pure white, seed flecked vanilla pudding, which tastes uh-may-zing straight out of the pot. It’s a very low stress process, with no fear of splitting or egg curdling.  You simply heat up the cream and milk, whisking in the corn flour, and then whisking these into the softened cream cheese before chilling it down, and churning in an ice cream machine.

Not only do you have the added bonus of not using up a load of expensive egg yolks, you also don’t end up with a ton of egg whites leftover stashed in unmarked bags in your freezer door. You also have the joy of enjoying a sweet, creamy, strongly vanilla flavoured ice cream made from scratch. I didn’t have any glucose syrup, so I subbed in some golden syrup, and I ended up with a hint of caramel flavour in mine. It elevated this to the realm of a real luxury, perfect to eat a scoop on it’s own in quiet enjoyment.

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream at Home, Artisan 2011

35g cream cheese
Pinch sea salt
500ml full cream milk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp corn flour
300ml double cream
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp golden syrup
1 vanilla bean

  • Place the cream cheese and salt into a  bowl large enough to hold the entire ice cream mix, and leave to soften at room temperature for at least 15 minutes.
  • Combine 1 tbsp of the milk with the corn flour and set aside in a seperate bowl.
  • In a medium saucepan combine the remaining ingredients, including the scraped pod and seeds of the vanilla bean and bring to the boil, boiling for four minutes, stirring with a spatula, and ensuring it does not boil over.
  • Take off the heat for a moment, and whisk in the cornstarch slurry. The cream-cornflour mixture will thicken immediately, but place back on the heat for a further minute, to cook out the flour.
  • Gradually whisk this mixture into the softened cream cheese and salt, a little at a time, ensuring that the cream cheese is thoroughly combined and there are no lumps. Place in the fridge until cool, overnight or up to 2 days. Leave the vanilla pod in to get maximum flavour and perfume out of it.
  • Once thoroughly chilled pour into your ice cream machine and churn following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Devour.
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  • This looks very similar to a yummy vanilla ice cream I had at Freestyles the other night… It was amazing.
    Your ice cream recipe also sounds amazing.

    I think I may need to look into investing in an ice cream machine…

  • After using many ice cream recipes both from my recipe books and from the internet at last I have found the secret to a perfect ice cream, tasty, creamy and does not need a jackhammer to get it out of the container after freezing! Thankyou for realising the problem with home made icecream and for producing one which I can scoop easily straight from the freezer. Magnificent for our Queensland lifestyle!

      • Sarah,
        Have just made this a second time and the result was disastrous! I’m wondering if the recipe has been changed at all. I think the culprit may be the Double Cream, which I find too oily and created lumps of tasteless fat when it cooled. I’m also wondering if I may have substituted thickened cream last time which came out perfect. Also I don’t remember using the cornflour … The flavour is wonderful though and I’m thinking that I may have to freeze it first then put it back in the ice cream maker to get rid of the crystals. Any suggestions what may have happened this time?

    • I am hanging my head in shame after my last review of the ice cream – there is obviously nothing wrong with the recipe ingredients et al, but I definitely need Specsavers! My sincerest apologies, it would seem that the cream was not the culprit, but my eyes which ignored the amount of milk stated and casually doubled it! I left the mix in the fridge overnight until firm then gave it a long whirl in the ice cream maker and it actually came out still tasting very good and though the texture was a little different it still made a darned good ice cream. Will be making yet again with correct ingredients as I still believe this is the easiest recipe on the net

      • Hi Kris, so sorry for the late reply on this! I’m glad you worked out what went wrong, and that you still love the recipe! And please, no need to apologise at all – I make heinous mistakes on a daily basis, much worse than this, so I’m the last person to throw stones. xx Sarah

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