A couple weeks ago, our friend Kathleen returned tanned and rested from Moorea in French Polynesia. Smuggled in her suitcase were two jars of vanilla beans—one for her brother-in-law, Adam, and another for yours truly. I love that the price tag on the lid says 2100F—it seems so extravagant! I think it’s like the equivalent of $23 US, which believe me, is extravagant enough. The beans are incredibly fragrant and I can’t wait to take a page out of Adam’s book and try making his superb Moorea Double Vanilla ice cream. He was kind enough to part with the recipe. Use the best vanilla beans you can find for this one. PS – check out the handiwork of Adam’s new label maker below…nice!
Moorea Double Vanilla Ice Cream
1 vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian
3 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
¾ cup sugar
Dash of salt
4 egg yolks
1 tablespoon Tahitian vanilla extract
1. Using the pointed tip of a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the tiny black seeds into a heavy medium saucepan. Add the vanilla bean, cream, and milk and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to blend the flavors.
2. Add the sugar and salt. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is hot, about 5 minutes.
3. Beat the egg yolks lightly in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in about 1 cup of the warm vanilla cream. Return the egg mixture to the saucepan, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until the custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 170° to 175°F (75° to 80°C). Do not let boil, or the egg yolks will curdle.
4. Strain the custard into a bowl, pressing through as many of the vanilla seeds as you can. Refrigerate covered, until the custard is very cold, at least 6 hours or as long as 2 days.
5. Stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the custard into the canister of an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the ice cream to a covered container and freeze until it is firm enough to scoop, at least 3 hours or overnight.