Thomas Jefferson's Vanilla Ice Cream


Recipe excerpted from One Big Table by Molly O'Neil

Makes 2 1/2 Quarts

  • 8 cups heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup sugar

Thomas Jefferson's Vanilla Ice Cream


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Combine the heavy cream and vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed pot. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring often, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together until thick and light yellow, 5 to 6 minutes with an electric mixer. While still whisking, add 1 cup of the hot cream to the yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream. Then gradually stir the egg mixture into the remaining cream. Continue stirring until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Line a fine-mesh strainer with cheesecloth and moisten with warm water. Pour the custard mixture through the strainer and into a bowl. Discard the vanilla bean, stir the mixture, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 12 hours. Freeze according to the instructions on you rice cream freezer, transfer to a mold or container, and freeze for 1 hour before serving.

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