Rum Raisin Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Rum Raisin Ice Cream photography © ShulieMadnick
Ice creams are my go-to desserts. At this point, I can churn ice creams half dozed off. In the early days of quarantine, two months ago, I made three batches of ice creams. A Madagascar vanilla bean ice cream that is the base for all my ice creams, a banana batch, and the third rum raisin that is possibly my all-time favorite. And then I ran out of vanilla beans.

Just before I churned this recent rum raisin batch, "Madagascar vanilla crop quality suffers as thieves spark violence," an article in Reuter's reporting on the thievery, violence, and inflation of prices of Madagascar vanilla beans came across my social media feed. It's excruciatingly painful to shell the $$ each time I buy the beans and the vanilla extract. My heart guiltily skips a beat whenever I see the price tags and still proceed to buy both. The Reuter's article explains the reasons and politics behind the exorbitant cost of vanilla beans. Madagascar is the largest vanilla bean supplier worldwide.

After reading the article, I paused and used the pure vanilla extract I had in my pantry in this batch, instead of ordering online more vanilla beans.

Rum Raisin Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream


1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup sugar
1 Madagascar vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
5 egg yolks

1/4 - 1/3 cup raisins (I use flame raisins when available)
1/2 cup dark rum (I used Bacardi)


Add the milk and sugar into a deep, medium saucepan. Add 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract or split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the vanilla bean seeds with a knife and add both scrapped split vanilla bean and seeds into the milk and sugar. On low/medium heat, stir the milk mixture until the sugar dissolves within several minutes.

Whisk egg yolks in a separate bowl. When you see bubbles appearing around the edges of the pan, pour two tablespoons of milk into egg yolks while whisking. Add the yolk/2 tablespoons milk mixture into the milk/sugar/vanilla mixture in the saucepan and whisk continuously on low/medium heat for approximately ten minutes or until a light custard is formed. The milk will thicken, but it will still be runny. Lower the heat temperature, if necessary, during the whisking process.

Take the ice cream base/custard off the heat, pour into Tupperware with a lid, and let cool down to room temperature, without the lid on. Add the cup and a half of heavy whipping cream, mix and cover with a lid. Let the ice cream base/custard steep and chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Add the rum and raisins into a small saucepan on high heat. Take off the heat when rum and raisins mixture starts to boil. Let cool down at room temperature and keep soaked for at least two hours or in the fridge overnight. The raisins will turn beautifully plump and boozy. The next day, drain the raisins and keep both raisins and rum separately.

The next day strain the ice cream base/custard through a sieve into a chilled ice cream bowl. Strain the rum into the ice cream bowl as well. Set the bowl on the ice cream maker and churn per manufacturer's instructions. Churn for approximately 30 minutes or more until a soft-serve consistency is achieved. Add in the raisins and churn for a few seconds to mix. Scoop into an ice cream container with a tight lid and freeze for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, before serving.

Author's notes: 

If you wish to make, only a vanilla bean ice cream skip the rum raisin step.

The recipe above is tweaked. I now use 1 1/2 cups whole milk to 1 1/2 heavy whipping cream ratio as a rule instead of 1:2 ratio I used in the original Rum Raisin Ice Cream post I published in 2011. If you wish for your ice cream to be richer, you can use the 1 milk:2 heavy whipping cream ratio. But with the rum raisin ice cream, whatever residue of alcohol that is left makes the ice cream softer and richer, so I don't find it necessary to up the fat content with a higher ratio of heavy whipping cream.

Follow Foodwanderings on Instagram highlights for a step by step ice cream making and for more food and travel (memories) during quarantine.

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