Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

June 24, 2020 Updated: June 24, 2020

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Vanilla Ice Cream

My grandmother didn’t have the benefit of a blender for tempering eggs—the process of carefully raising their temperature while keeping them in a liquid state, rather than scrambled—but I find using a blender to be faster and easier than Grandma’s method of juggling a ladle of hot cream and a whisk. Otherwise, this is the same recipe Grandma and I enjoyed at her farmhouse.

It can be used as a base for many different flavors. After chilling, add sugar-macerated fruit or syrups to the mixture.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 cups heavy cream

In a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar and cornstarch until well blended. Add the cold milk and whisk until smooth. Place the pan over medium heat and slowly add half and half. Whisk until sugar and cornstarch are completely dissolved.

Meanwhile, place eggs in a blender with a couple of tablespoons of cold milk or cream. Pulse until well mixed. 

Keep stirring the ice cream mixture in the saucepan with a whisk or wooden spoon until the liquid is scalding hot, but not boiling. You should see steam coming from the cream and a few tiny bubbles around the edge of the pan. 

Turn the blender with eggs on low and slowly add a large ladle full of hot liquid to the eggs. Pour the tempered eggs from the blender into the saucepan. Whisk quickly and constantly until the egg mixture is blended into the ice cream. 

Keep cooking and stirring until mixture just begins to bubble. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and heavy cream. Allow the mixture to cool in the pan, then strain it into a pitcher. Chill the mixture in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Freeze according to ice cream maker instructions.