When made properly, ice cream can be one of the best healthy bulk foods to eat. Egg yolk, cream, milk, and honey are all you need to make the best ice cream you’ve ever tasted.
This recipe makes about 1 quart of ice cream. You will need an ice cream churner for this.
My churner can only handle 1 quart at a time, but if yours is larger, you can scale the recipe up accordingly. Make sure to read the notes for some discussion on how the recipe works and for variations and alternatives.
Ice Cream (Makes 1 qt.)
- 1.75 c. heavy cream
- 1.25 c. whole milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 0.25 c. + 2 tbsp. honey
- 0.25 tsp. table salt
- 2 tsp. vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract (See note below if using vanilla extract.)
- ice cream churner
- one medium and two small bowls, freezer-safe
- metal baking pan, either 9″x5″ or 8″ square or 9″ square
- wooden spoon
- silicone spatula
- If your ice cream churner has an inner bowl that goes in the freezer, make sure it’s been frozen for 12-24 hours prior to starting all this. Consult your ice cream maker’s instructions for use.
- Put the metal baking pan in the freezer empty. You want it nice and cold.
- Put 0.25 c. honey, milk, cream, salt, and vanilla bean paste into your pot. (If using vanilla extract, do not add it here.)
- Heat the pot over medium-low or low heat slowly. We’re making a custard base, so we don’t want any of the dairy to curdle. Stir fairly often.
- While the mixture is heating, in a separate small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and remaining 2 tbsp. honey until smooth.
- When the temperature of the milk mixture in the pot reaches 170F, slowly add the egg yolk mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly.
- Continue to stir the custard in the pot constantly until it thickens and reaches between 180F and 190F. (You’ll want the heat on low but not too low. Feel this out with your particular stove. Gas stoves work great here. I’m not sure how well this part will go if you have a non-responsive electric stove.)
- When the base has thickened, remove from heat and pour into the large bowl.
- Let the bowl cool to room temperature, then remove about 1 c. of custard from the large bowl and put into the second small bowl.
- Put the small bowl in the freezer, and the large bowl in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. You want the custard in the large bowl to reach about 40F or below.
- Assemble your ice cream maker.
- Get the bowls out of the refrigerator and freezer respectively. Add the frozen custard to the large bowl and stir until the whole thing is smooth and registers 30-32F. If you’re using vanilla extract, add it here.
- Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn until it resembles soft-serve ice cream. I like mine on the thicker side, so I push the temperature below 30F. My ice cream maker takes about 20 minutes to finish this stage.
- Scoop the ice cream into your metal baking pan, then cover the top with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap onto the surface of the ice cream.
- Freeze the ice cream 30 minutes to 1 hour longer, then serve.
- I used exclusively honey in this recipe not just for the nutritional content, but for the chemical composition as well. Ice cream’s smoothness comes from fat content, slow churning, and minimizing water content. Less water means less ice crystal formation, which is what turns homemade ice cream to an unpleasant icy-milk concoction. Granulated sugar has too much water trapped in it, so we turn to invert sugars of the healthy variety (honey, maple syrup, corn syrup). My goal was to alter a good recipe to minimize the added sugar while retaining the appealing taste and texture. The texture is altered with any less honey than the recipe calls for. You can certainly feel free to increase the honey content. More honey will add sweetness and will make the ice cream more scoopable fresh out of the freezer for longer. This is because invert sugars lower the ice cream’s freezing point and keep it from getting too hard. I’ve gone as far as 5/6 c. + 2 tbsp. honey. The 2 tbsp. stays with the egg yolk mixture, and the extra honey goes in at Step 3. Anything in between these two will come out just fine.
- Don’t substitute half-and-half or lower fat milk in this for the same reason as above. We want minimal water content, and these dairy products have too much water. You’ll get a less creamy texture.
- The vanilla bean paste is the best way to get a strong vanilla flavor. I’ve tested this with vanilla extract, and the flavor just isn’t as forward. The honey still gives it a great taste, but vanilla extract is far weaker than vanilla bean paste. You can try almond paste if you like.
- I haven’t yet tried a method for getting chocolate ice cream yet. I’m not sure that adding cocoa powder directly is the right approach, or at what step. I’ll update the article after I’ve tried some iterations.
- In theory each batch should last at least a week in the freezer without losing texture. Make sure that you press the plastic onto the ice cream surface each time you put it away to prevent ice formation on the surface. A batch has yet to make it 5 days in my house, so I can’t speak to its longevity yet.