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Jeni's Splendid Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla ice cream recipe: Homemade ice cream recipes
Delicious vanilla ice cream in a bowl.Getty Images stock
Makes about 1 quart

Chef notes

In this vanilla ice cream recipe, the exquisite cream flavor is lifted up and exalted by vanilla's natural, subtle hints of honey, jasmine, leather and smoke.

With an infinite number of ice cream flavors to make, you might think vanilla would not be high on our list to perfect. But our Ugandan Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is no ordinary vanilla ice cream. We use an amazing Ugandan vanilla bean, but you can use whatever kind you more enjoy. My technique doesn't just make a "plain old vanilla," but a richly scented, voluptuous, velvety and unforgettable vanilla.

Do not hesitate to serve it with some grilled peaches and raspberry sauce for the finest pêche melba imaginable. Of course, vanilla is a staple on cherry pie, and who doesn't have a soft spot for vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, extra whipped cream and Spanish peanuts (or my favorite, smoked almonds)? Basically, this delicious recipe pairs well with any sweet treat! 


  • 2 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped out, seeds and bean reserved



Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.


Combine the remaining milk, the cream, sugar, corn syrup and vanilla seeds and bean in a 4-quart saucepan, bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry. Bring the mixture back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat.


Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.


Remove the vanilla bean from the cream base. Pour the base into the frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.


When you're read to serve it, remove the container from the freezer about 5 to 10 minutes before scooping so you can easily form it into round balls. 

Excerpted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2011.