1 September 2009

The best simple vanilla ice cream

Anyone on a diet, look away now.

I made vanilla bean ice cream on the weekend. It's probably the best ice cream I've made so far and it's also the most simple - no eggs, no custard, just items from the fridge and pantry. Trouble is, I've been so busy, we haven't eaten it yet. Oh, we test tasted along the way but a sit down dessert will have to wait until tonight. BUT! I'm in a hurry again this morning so I can't waffle on. When we eat our ice cream tonight, I'll take a photo of the finished product.

  • 2 cups milk - this can be any milk you have in the house, skin, no fat, soy, powdered, full cream
  • 1 cup cream
  • one vanilla bean or two teaspoons vanilla extract. Please don't use vanilla essence in this, it is fake vanilla and will not do it justice.
  • 1 can condensed milk - I made my own, it's simple. The recipe is below.
  1. Add the milk and cream to a saucepan and heat.
  2. Scrape out the vanilla bean and add the seeds or add your extract.
  3. Bring to the boil and allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  4. Remove the vanilla bean.
  5. Add the condensed milk and stir.
  6. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  7. When the mixture is cool, place it in a container and put it in the freezer.

Scrape the vanilla bean with a sharp knife.

If you have an ice cream machine ...
Wait until the mix is forming ice crystals, then add it to the machine and start processing.

If you don't have an ice cream machine (or if you have one and thought the bowl was in the freezer but it wasn't) ;- ) ...
After the mix has formed ice crystals, remove it from the freezer every 45 minutes and give it a good stir until it's almost frozen.
When it reaches that state, put it in a freezer container with a lid for storage.

The ice cream will be smoother if you have an ice cream machine but it's mighty fine made with muscle power. BTW, my ice cream maker bowl will remain in the freezer over summer. I'll be doing some gelato and sorbets soon. Stick around.

I did a post on this a couple of years ago but here it is again:
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons soft butter

Put all the ingredients in a small processor and whizz until the sugar is dissolved. This is much cheaper than a tin of condensed milk and it tastes the same.

Just to quickly answer some questions from yesterday.

Karen Sue, the lids on those preserves were sealed in a water bath. You'll need a better spot for your tomato seedlings. Growing leggy ones will only bring you grief.

Jody, I sometimes use Epsom salts when I sow seeds. It will help with germination. And we spray seaweed tea on leaves and pour it into the soil. It's a great plant tonic and will build up the health of your plants.

Ann, I can tell you and Peter live in a colder climate. Up here, most people would be horrified to have a window sill that gets sun.

Dora, we usually pull out our tomato plants when they have reached a certain height and stop producing flowers. Waiting for a second crop doesn't pay off here. We'd rather have fresh plants ready to follow on with.

Jessica, I have just started a new plant. I'll write a post on ginger beer when it's ready in week or so.

And now I'm off to send off my next Burke's Backyard article and to sort out some liquid soap I made yesterday. I had to go out before I finished. Have a lovely day, work hard and take care of yourself.

ADDITION: I posted at the co-op today. That post is here.



  1. Hi - this sounds delicious. and thanks for the condensed milk recipe - i use it a lot, so a cheaper home-made version is a great idea. I have only just found your blog - Im very impressed - especially with your aldi-in-a-cupboard food storage - i had to laugh, i have the same.

  2. Looks soo good!! i must confess that as much as I love to cook I have never used a vanilla bean before.

    Enjoy your blog stop by mine sometime if the mood strikes. :)

  3. MMMMMMM...oh my gosh, this looks so good. I'm going to make some! :D Thanks for this post! I have a big weakness for icecream (the good stuff). :D Have a spectacular day!

  4. Homemade condensed milk - I never knew it was possible. Thanks Rhonda Jean! I'm going to make some of your icecream to go with the homemade chocolate sauce I cooked up on the weekend.

    Cath in Sydney

  5. The ice cream looks delicious. And I love the new header on the blog.

  6. Thanks ! Oh thanks a lot for the condensed milk recipe ! I will save tons with it !

  7. How very strange! I was just looking for ice cream recipes today as I brought home fresh milk from the farm.... I can't wait to try ice cream with farm fresh milk! Thanks for reading my mind :)

  8. Oh, this may be the most simple recipe for ice cream I have seen! My family loves ice cream--I'm looking forward to giving this a try! Perhaps I missed it... but how much does this recipe yield?
    Thank you!

  9. Hi there Rhonda.

    I just have a quick question for you. Do you think homemade ginger beer is safe for pregnant women to drink? I'm not concerned about the teeny alcohol content, but about bacterial spoilage during the plant-growing process. Have you ever heard of any problems with it, for pregnant women? Thanks.

  10. This sounds so easy!!! I can't wait to try it. Thank you so much for sharing the recipe.

    Have a great day. :)

  11. I'm really glad you posted the sweetened condensed recipe again, 'cause I didn't catch it my first time I perused your blog. I love to use it to sweeten my homemade yogurt, but I hate having to run to the store when I'm out.

  12. Hi Rhonda, I've been on holidays and have not visited your site for a few weeks. Firstly, I love your new header with the happy looking chook, and your new profile pic also looks great. I'll be off to get a copy of the September issue of Burke's Backyard, it is fantastic you are now a regular writer for this publication, you have a lot of excellent info to offer on living well. Go Rhonda!

  13. Perfect timing for an icecream recipe...its Hot here! :) This truely is an easy one and to use things we would usually have is extra special! :)
    Rhonda you answered you used epsom salts when you plant your veggies...Does that mean you put like half a teaspoon in each hole? Or maybe so much broadcast on the soil and if so is it dug in and to what depth? I was interested in your comment that you took out your tomatoes when they stopped flowering and replaced them. I got a lightbulb moment when I read that. I usually wait till mine are half dead or have deseases. By taking them out earlier and replacing your tomatoes they will not get to the stage of getting viruses and deseases!! Brillient idea! Thankyou Rhonda! This is a new idea to me and one I will use now. Jody

  14. yummo rhonda! thanks for sharing your recipes. we have the motherload of intolerances in our home including lactose so we can't have condensed milk - am always on the look out for a recipe that will work for us! your one comes close - the only thing with the recipe you've shared that i'm unsure about is the powdered milk - which we can't have. Can i subsitiute the powdered milk for liquid lactose free milk?
    thanks heaps for all your inspiration!
    blessings + love on this beautiful spring sydney day!
    lusi x

  15. Home Made Sweetened Condensed Milk - now that is something I can use :)
    We use sweetened condensed milk to make our home made iced coffee taste like that from the shops, but it is a bit pricey and I have had recipes call for it, but not have it on hand. However I do have all the ingredients on hand.
    Can I ask why you wait till your Ice Cream milk crysalizes to add it to the ice cream machine? I have been making home made ice cream my whole life and we never have. The mixture goes into the metal tin, paddle is added and its churned for 20 minutes. Does your ice cream maker not have ice and salt in it? I am just curious, because several recipes I have read call for this step and I don't know why?
    We have a batch of black raspberry ice cream in the freezer for tonight and I have the blackberry guts for reducing with some black berry brandy for sauce tonight. mmmm

  16. Sounds wonderful! I will definitely be trying this recipe. We do have an ice cream machine, and I love finding new recipes!

  17. Rhonda I was wondering why the milk and cream need to be heated?

  18. Terry, I find the ingredients mix together better when they're hot and it intensifies the flavour of the vanilla.

  19. Thanks Rhonda! I am making strawberry ice cream, no vanilla bean, so I think I will try mixing things cold, its too hot here to be heating things up!


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