Note: This was supposed to publish last week. Technology and I had a falling out, so I apologize to anyone who was miffed it didn’t show up, but I think we’re good now.
When it comes to homemade ice cream I think it is vital that everyone has a really really good vanilla ice cream base. Not only because vanilla ice cream is yummy on its own, but also because once you have a good vanilla base you can add all sorts of stuff to it to make a million flavors. But if your base isn’t good it doesn’t matter how many beautiful raspberries you add, or chunks of double brownie it just won’t have the quality you want.The Thick Gel in this recipe helps to create a really smooth ice cream that freezes with small crystals to retain a superior mouthfeel.
So…that said here is my favorite recipe, for now, for vanilla ice cream base.
Vanilla Ice Cream Base
2 cups half and half
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup white sugar
3 Tablespoons Thick Gel (5 Tablespoons Ultra Gel)
2 Tablespoons peach jam (I use my Jam in a Jiffy Jam. And yes it needs to be peach as that flavor is very delicate and highlights the vanilla. If you don’t have peach then omit entirely. The flavor won’t be as rich, but it will work out)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar and Thick Gel and mix thoroughly. Move to a large saucepan and combine with all remaining ingredients. Stir well to make sure all ingredients are completely integrated. Warm over medium heat until mixture just starts to thicken. You need the heat to activate the Thick Gel but you do not want to boil the mixture to avoid scorching. Remove from heat and pour into a container. Refrigerate over night. Remove vanilla bean before pouring mixture into a churn and processing as per manufacturer’s directions.
When it comes out of the churn the ice cream will be soft. This is the perfect time to stir in any extras you want, then move the ice cream to the freezer for at least 4 hours before serving.