I have been asked to make another batch of vanilla ice cream. All of this fancy stuff like Deep Chocolate Gelato and Espresso Fudge Ripple Ice Cream has left Troy wondering why. What’s with all the fancy stuff and why can’t he just have some plain old vanilla? I guess I just don’t understand. I’m more of a chocoholic. But I will give in every once in a while. And while I did succumb to the call for vanilla, it didn’t really turn out quite as “plain” as expected. I mean, I made the Vanilla Bean With Bittersweet Hot Fudge back in July so I had do something different… I said all of this and he gave me the green light to add Reese’s pieces to it to change it up a bit. You could really use any candy pieces or bar you like in this. Like I, personally, would have used Butterfingers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. But that’s just me and this was for him (and for me because I love pretty much any ice cream lol). Although I have to say, this turned out pretty darn good so I’m not sure I would choose something else. I put the Reese’s pieces in a ziplock bag and crushed them a bit with a meat mallet to reveal some of the peanut buttery goodness in side. This is turn became incorporated into the ice cream a bit and, along with some of the pulverized shell, gave the ice cream a nice golden hue and well-rounded flavor and texture. This one is a winner.
I chose to use vanilla extract rather than vanilla bean for this ice cream so that the black specks wouldn’t be competing with the Reese’s pieces for your visual attention. Also, I find that vanilla bean tends to be a bit more floral than vanilla extract and that the extract would pair better with the candy pieces. This base would be excellent with vanilla bean in place of the extract if you wish, especially if you wanted to leave it plain and omit the candy pieces all together. I would just scrape out the seeds and add the seeds and pods while cooking the custard. You would then remove the pods before putting into the ice cream maker, as in Vanilla Bean with Bittersweet Hot Fudge. This ice cream base is a bit heavier than the one in that recipe. I’m not sure which I prefer but Troy’s opinion was that the Vanilla bean recipe was better suited for a plain application. I’m on the fence because this one is quite rich and creamy and I love that. They are in fact, very similar. There is a bit less sugar in this one which is fine because I was adding so much candy to it anyway! Both good choices. This recipe is based on the Vanilla Ice Cream recipe in Sarabeth’s Bakery (yea, yea I do love this cookbook).
Reese’s Pieces Ice Cream
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- 1 ½ cups whole milk
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 8 large egg yolks
- 1 cup roughly crushed Reese’s Pieces (or candy of your choice- you don’t want the pieces to turn to powder, just to be assorted shapes and sizes to give the ice cream textural interest)
- Pour the cream, milk and sugar into a medium-sized heavy-bottomed saucepan
- Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof medium bowl
- Heat the cream mixture over medium heat, stirring very frequently with a silicone spatula to dissolve the sugar. Heat until it is very hot but not quite simmering
- Temper the beaten eggs with a ladle full of the hot cream mixture, whisking constantly to combine. Add a couple more ladles of hot cream mixture, one at a time, whisking each time
- Pour the tempered egg mixture into the saucepan and immediately reduce the heat to medium low
- Heat the mixture, stirring constantly, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spatula and thick enough so when a line is drawn through the custard, the line holds it’s shape. The temperature should be 180 degrees F
- Immediately pour the custard through a sieve positioned above a large bowl (this is the bowl you will store the custard in).
- Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Let cool on the counter for about a half hour before covering and placing in the refrigerator to chill at least 4 hours (overnight is better)
- Transfer the chilled custard to your ice-cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions (should take about 20 minutes and the ice cream will still be slightly soft even when it’s done churning)
- About five minutes before the end of the churning, add in your candy pieces
- Transfer the ice cream to a covered freezer-safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours before serving to allow it to firm up (or serve it at soft-serve consistency right out of the machine)