Vanilla Ice Cream

  • Serves

    makes 2 cups

  • Cook

    6 hours


This basic ice cream recipe from pastry chef Tracy Obolsky of North End Grill is endlessly customizable; turn it into anything from chocolate to rum-raisin to pistachio. While you can freeze it as soon as two hours after cooking the base, Obolsky recommends allowing the final mixture to rest in the fridge for 24 hours to let the flavors mellow and the proteins relax, which makes for a creamier final product.


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 12 cup sugar
  • 14 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped


Step 1

Place the egg yolks in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream with the milk, sugar, and vanilla bean and seeds. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring, until beginning to steam, about 5 minutes.

Step 2

While whisking, gently pour 1⁄4 cup of the hot cream into the yolks until smooth, and then stir the egg yolks back into pot of hot cream. Return the pan to medium heat, and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of spoon, 4 to 5 minutes. Pour the custard through a fine sieve into a bowl, let cool completely, and refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours.

Step 3

Pour the chilled custard into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions. Scrape the ice cream into an airtight container, and freeze until set, at least 4 hours.

Flavor variations:

Chocolate: Whisk in ½ cup melted chocolate before straining.
Mint: Purée cooled ice cream base with ½ cup firmly packed fresh mint leaves, then strain.
Cookies and cream: Add in ⅓ cup crushed chocolate sandwich cookie pieces in the final stage of freezing.
Rum-Raisin: Add 1 tablespoon rum and ⅓ cup raisins in final stage of freezing.
Coffee: Whisk in ¼ cup ground coffee before straining.
Pistachio: Grind ¾ cup toasted pistachios in a food processor until pasty. Add to the pot along with the cream, milk, and sugar in step 1.

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