Vanilla Custard Ice Cream √

Makes about 1 quart.

Note: Vanilla is still America's favorite flavor — and the use of both bean and extract could make this doubly popular. Vanilla beans are often sold with spices at the supermarket. They aren't cheap; get the most out of them by washing the pod, laying it on a plate to dry, then burying it in your sugar bowl to make vanilla sugar. Or the vanilla pod can be simmered a second time in a fruit compote or jam. Adapted from "Living the Sweet Life in Paris," a blog by pastry chef David Lebovitz.

• 1 c. whole milk

• Pinch of salt

• 3/4 c. sugar

• 1 vanilla bean (see Note)

• 2 c. heavy cream

• 5 egg yolks

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Heat the milk, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium low heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved. Meanwhile, lay the vanilla bean on a cutting board, split it lengthwise with a paring knife, and use the edge of the knife to scrape the seeds from the bean. Add both bean and seeds to the milk in pan. Cover pan, remove from heat, and infuse for an hour at room temperature.

When milk has infused, make an ice bath by partly filling a large bowl with ice and water, then placing a smaller bowl (2-quart) inside it. (Ice should come most of the way up the side of the interior bowl; just don't let it splash inside.) Place a mesh strainer over the small bowl, and strain cream into the bowl, reserving vanilla bean.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks. Rewarm the milk slightly then whisk 1/2 cup or so into the yolks to temper them. Slowly pour the rest of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the yolk-milk mixture back into the saucepan, and cook over low heat, scraping the bottom of the pan with a heatproof spatula and stirring constantly until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula. Strain custard into the heavy cream, stir in the vanilla extract and add in the reserved vanilla bean, then refrigerate to chill completely, preferably overnight.

To make the ice cream, remove the vanilla bean and process the mixture in an ice cream maker, according to manufacturer's directions. For a firmer texture, transfer to an airtight freezer container and freeze for 2 hours or more.

Nutrition information per 1/2 cup serving:

Calories 332 Fat 26 g Sodium 59 mg

Carbohydrates 22 g Saturated fat 15 g Calcium 87 mg

Protein 4 g Cholesterol 197 mg Dietary fiber 0 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1½ other carb, ½ medium-fat meat, 4½ fat.

Chocolate Gelato, Sicilian-Style √

Makes about 1 quart.

Note: Sicilian gelato is often made without cream or eggs. That was likely due, long ago, to the scarcity of ingredients, but the lack of richness makes other flavors pop. This easy, economical recipe is made with pantry ingredients — and a nice choice if you want to avoid the fat of traditional ice creams. Adapted from Saveur Magazine.

• 3 c. milk, divided

• 2 tbsp. cornstarch

• 3/4 c. sugar

• 3/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder


Put 2 cups milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then remove from heat.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining 1 cup of milk with the cornstarch to create a slurry, then mix in sugar and cocoa. Add cocoa mixture to hot milk in saucepan, and cook over medium low heat, stirring until cocoa and sugar are completely dissolved. Remove from heat to cool, then transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate overnight, or until thoroughly chilled.

Process in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. For a firmer texture after it's been through the ice cream maker, put gelato in an airtight freezer container and freeze for 2 hours or more.

Nutrition information per 1/2 cup serving:

Calories 137 Fat 2 g Sodium 42 mg

Carbohydrates 30 g Saturated fat 1 g Calcium 125 mg

Protein 5 g Cholesterol 5 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ milk, 1½ other carb, ½ fat.

Blackberry Sage Ice Cream √

Makes 1 to 1 1/2 quarts.

Note: This was tested with frozen blackberries, which didn't really thicken after cooking. Cook them another 10 minutes, but don't worry if they remain fairly juicy; the result is still delicious. For a less seedy version, strain more of the berries than recommended. Just don't forget to rescue the fruit that clings to the bottom of the strainer — you want every bit of berry. Blackberries and sage are a beautiful late summer combo, and this Philadelphia-style ice cream strikes a beautiful balance of creamy lushness and fruity flavor. Adapted slightly from "Molly Moon's Homemade Ice Cream," by Molly Moon Neitzel and Christina Spittler.

• 2 c. heavy cream

• 1 c. whole milk

• 1 1/2 c. sugar, divided

10 or more fresh sage leaves, finely minced (about 1 1/2 tbsp.)

• 3 c. fresh or frozen blackberries (see Note)

1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)

• 1 tsp. vanilla extract


Put the cream, milk, 1/2 cup sugar and sage into a small saucepan with a lid and cook over medium heat, uncovered, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Bring the cream mixture just to a boil and then remove from the heat. Cover and let steep for 20 minutes at room temperature. Pour the cream mixture into a shallow pan or bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill thoroughly, 1 to 2 hours.

Meanwhile, put the blackberries, remaining 1 cup sugar, and lemon juice into a small, nonreactive saucepan. Place over medium heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until thick, 10 to 13 minutes (see note).

Divide the blackberry mixture in half by pouring into 2 separate bowls. Strain half of the blackberries (1 bowl) through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the sieve contents. Pour the strained blackberries into a shallow pan or bowl and combine with the unstrained blackberries. Place in the refrigerator to chill completely, 45 minutes to 1 hour.

When the blackberries and the cream mixture are both thoroughly chilled, whisk them together in a large bowl, then add the vanilla extract. Pour into an ice cream maker and process according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Using a rubber spatula, transfer the ice cream to an airtight glass or plastic freezer container. Cover tightly and freeze until the ice cream is firm, at least 4 hours.

Nutrition information per 1/2 cup serving:

Calories 316 Fat 19 g Sodium 29 mg Carbohydrates 37 g Saturated fat 11 g Calcium 73 mg Protein 2 g Cholesterol 68 mg

Dietary fiber 2 g Diabetic exchanges per serving: ½ fruit, 2 other carb, 4 fat.