Serious Vanilla Ice Cream

Serious Vanilla Ice Cream

When I first developed this recipe, more than a few folks thought the peach preserves were a crazy addition. But consider this: Jams and preserves contain pectins, which are gigantic molecules that have considerable gelling power. Including just a wee bit not only smoothes out the texture and elevates the subtler flavor of the vanilla; it can also actually delay melting a bit.

And as you know by now, salt, in small amounts, can turn up the volume on almost any flavor. I include a pinch in most dessert applications.

Serious Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup heavy cream*
  • 5 1/2 ounces sugar
  • 2 ounces peach preserves or jam (not jelly)
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  1. Combine the half-and-half and heavy cream in a medium saucepan and place over medium heat.. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer and bring the mixture to 175 degrees F, stirring occasionally.** Remove from heat.
  2. Add the sugar, preserves, vanilla bean and salt, and keep stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved, then cover and steep 20 minutes.
  3. Fish out the vanilla pod and transfer the mixture to an airtight container and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to overnight.
  4. Assemble your ice cream churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using an electric machine, turn it on, then pour in the ice cream mixture. (This will prevent seizing.)
  5. Churn the ice cream until it reaches soft-serve consistency and almost doubles in volume.
  6. Move to an airtight container and harden in the freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

* Heavy cream is often labeled “heavy whipping cream” or “whipping cream” and has a fat content of 36 to 40 percent.
** Why the heat? Well, for one thing, we need to dissolve the sugar, but just as important, we need to shut down certain chemical structures in the dairy that could be an impediment to the smoothness we so desire.

Alton Brown's Serious Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe

Alton Brown’s Serious Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe


Add yours
  1. 1
    steve g

    I went looking for a Philadelphia Chocolate Ice Cream recipe. Could I just add 1.5 oz of Dutch cocoa powder to this Vanilla recipe? Should I add an additional 1,2 or 3 Oz of sugar because of the bitterness of the cocoa? Would anything be gained by adding 1,2,3 Oz of brown sugar instead of white sugar?

  2. 2
    steve g

    So I did the experiment: I made it with the peach preserves (I couldn’t find apple preserves at the store and I didn’t want to mess around with just a gelatin/pictin). I don’t like peaches, but I didn’t taste any peach in there. Just sweetness.

    I am going to keep looking for apple preserves, but for those of us who don’t like peaches I can confirm that you don’t taste them in there, it’s just some additional sweetness to it.

  3. 3

    So you don’t actually taste the peach preserves. It really just enhances the vanilla flavor. Try it as written above I promise it won’t disappoint.

  4. 4
    steve g

    I don’t like peaches. I love vanilla soft serve ice cream. Can I substitute apple preserves just as easily? Or is the peach flavor completely lost and you’re just using it for the pectin? Could I add pectin separately? Hmmmm….

  5. 5

    Am very interested in making this, but don’t have an electric ice cream maker. Was wondering what brand Alton uses? Or what kinds people use that aren’t super expensive? $30-$40.

  6. 8

    How many servings does this make? As in, should I double it ? Also if you can’t find a vanilla bean, it’s 3 teaspoons of pure vanilla extract. Is the peach preserves supposed to be chunky still when you put it into the refrigerator?

  7. 10

    I would sure like to know where you can get heavy cream. I have searched all over our area and can only come up with the UHT or Ultra Pasteurized. Can the Ultra Pasteurized work? Would it be possible to perhaps substitute coconut cream? This sounds great and I would love to be able to make ice cream at home but all of the recipes I look at use heavy cream.

  8. 11

    I used strawberry jam in place of the peach and added ~200g of roughly chopped strawberries in place of the vanilla bean for a strawberry ice cream. It went over well.

  9. 13

    To John, the peach jam will add very little to the flavor of the ice cream. It will be a mostly neutral, but compatible flavor. The purpose is the add the pectin in the jam to your mixture to serve as a stabilizer.

  10. 14

    Hey everyone talking back and forth about them measurements. I just have one thing to add. You all can go suck it, and suck it good. What a big bunch of babies you are. Grow the blank up! If you don’t like the way it’s listed than simply move on. If you have a scale than good for you, you don’t need a trophy. If you don’t have a scale and don’t want one, excellent that’s your choice and you can either convert or move along. Your comments overshadow the real questions like mine, why peach for vanilla ice cream. How does adding a different flavor to vanilla make it serious vanilla. Well I’m about ready to see as I’m making it tonight. You all have a wonderful night now.

  11. 15
    Joseph Murphy

    If you are complaining about measurements in weights, then you have not been paying attention. Weights are used because they are always the same and make the recipe precisely, every single time. Volumetric measurements are subject to expansion and contraction from settling, temperature, or other factors. Volumetric measurements are a fail. Do not be a fail, buy a scale

  12. 17

    Spend 10 bucks on a digital scale. Seriously. I don’t even bother baking a recipe which isn’t measured by mass because it is too variable. I use it daily for my coffee. I use it more than my can opener and I paid less for it! Shell out!

  13. 18

    Does it taste like peach or does that flavor get buried by the vanilla? And if so, could another, different jam be used (I don’t like peach)?

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