Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Madagascar Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Copyright ©ShulieMadnick

Not an ice cream bit but a vanilla bit:

This past week Martha Stewart making green chocolate brownies with Snoop Dogg came across my Instagram feedWatch minute 3:20 when they add in the vanilla. I just died. Snoop Dogg goes: "Which one is the vanilla?" Martha points to the vanilla: "It's over there." Snoop Dogg: "Vanilla is burgundy (I think he said burgundy. Watch and let me know.)?" Martha Steward: "Brown. Yeah." Snoop Dogg: "Why they call it vanilla when it's..." Well, watch the rest yourselves. It's hilarious. 

Now a bit about the ice cream:

I realized that although I have posted several ice cream recipes on Foodwanderings, I haven't posted a straightforward vanilla ice cream here. Though the vanilla is the base for many of the ice creams appearing in this space. 

I will switch it up at times and use a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract instead of a vanilla bean if the ice cream is, say, rum raisin. I don't see the point of going through an entire process of splitting the bean and scraping the vanilla seeds, etc., when the end flavor I wish to achieve is rum raisin or coffee or banana-flavored ice creams, for that matter. Besides, the vanilla bean pods are super expensive. Though prices for the pure extract aren't cheap either. If I keep the ice cream a pure vanilla flavor, I use a vanilla bean. Once I didn't go and buy vanilla beans when I ran out but used the extract due to the prohibitive cost. 

But I must admit that I was at times extra fancy (which now I don't see the point) in the past and made rum raisin, salted caramel, and other flavors by adding the extra step of splitting and scraping the bean.

And if you want to learn further why vanilla is so expensive, read this piece about the politics behind vanilla and why the prices are spiked. 

I also want to discuss a bit photographing ice cream. 

It's darn frustrating. Especially if I don't use any artificial components (which I don't)  and food stylists' bags of tricks. Often the ice creams you see in magazines aren't edible. Even though I am not very happy with the photograph above. It's out of focus, in all honesty (I've been working on it all morning and gave up eventually). And artistically, I preferred the pre-cropped version of this image. But the cropped one here gives you guys a closer look at the various textures and dark speckles of the vanilla seeds. 

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*
5 egg yolks


Add the milk and sugar into a deep, medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the vanilla bean seeds with a knife. Add the scrapped split vanilla bean and the seeds into the milk and sugar. Stir the milk mixture on low/medium heat 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.

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. Scoop into an ice cream container with a tight lid and freeze for at least a few hours, preferably overnight, before serving.

*At times, I wait till the next day, whip the whipping cream, then gently mix it in with the strained ice cream custard/ice cream base and churn. 

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