09 October 2007

Perfect Vanilla Creamy Goodness

David Lebovitz wasn't kidding when he called his book "The Perfect Scoop." I know I'm a bit late to the table with my review and recipe alteration, since he released the book earlier this year, but better tasty and late than never.

Reading David Lebovitz's gorgeous ice cream (and desserts, mix-ins, and more) cookbook, I was so happy to see that he included great little stories to go along with each recipe. He gives great tips and instructions in the beginning (after a very well-written introduction), so you'll be hard pressed to fail in your efforts to make your own perfect scoop. "The Perfect Scoop." makes for an excellent read even before going into the kitchen to try a recipe or two. It's a definite must-read for anyone with an ice cream maker.

For my first try at a David Lebovitz recipe, I thought John's favorite, Vanilla, would be a good choice. Since I was unsure how the agave nectar for sugar substitution would work out, I halved the recipe. It was definitely enough for multiple servings (especially when you add mix-ins).

Here's the recipe as I made it, with two substitutions (agave and half and half for heavy cream):

Vanilla Ice Cream (inspired by David Lebovitz's "The Perfect Scoop.")


1/2 cup whole milk
A scant 1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup half and half
Pinch of salt
1/2 vanilla bean split lengthwise
3 large egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract


1. Warm the milk, agave nectar, 1/2 cup of the half and half and salt in a medium saucepan.
2. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the saucepan and add the bean.

3. Stir the mixture, turn off the heat and cover for 30 minutes.

4. Pour the remaining half and half into a bowl and set a strainer on top of the bowl.
5. Whisk the egg yolks in a separate bowl.

6. Slowly, whisk the vanilla mixture into the eggs. Do not stop whisking until it is all evenly incorporated.

7. Pour the warmed egg yolk/vanilla mixture back into the saucepan and turn the heat on medium. With a silicone spatula, stir the mixture constantly until it thickens and coats the back of your spatula.

8. After it thickens, take it off the heat and pour the mixture through the strainer, into the cream. You may need to stir it in the strainer to get all the custard through. Stir the mixture well.
9. Stir in the vanilla extract.
10. Place the bowl into an ice bath and stir until cool.

11. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator for up to 8 hours.
12. Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker as directed by the manufacturer.

You could freeze it at this point, but I'd scoop out a serving first, then freeze the rest.

The agave nectar ensures that your ice cream will not become rock hard in the freezer. Depending on how sweet you like your ice cream, you may wish to use less.

Your final result should be wonderfully creamy, ultimately vanilla-tasting custardy ice cream. I enjoyed mine sprinkled with unsweetened carob chips. They make an excellent foil for the sweet cream.


Anonymous said...

Hi Deb:

Glad you had success with agave. I made a chocolate ice cream with agave and it came out great too. If you're avoiding sugar, try a handful of cocoa nibs tossed in as well. Delicious!

Deb Schiff said...

Thanks so much, David! So kind of you to visit. Loved the video of you shopping the green market with Adam.

While I'd love to use cocoa nibs, I have an allergy to chocolate, so it will be carob for me.