(#79) VANILLA BEAN: Sweet Pods

The word "moist" usually makes me really uncomfortable.  But let me just say that there is nothing like a moist (cringe!) vanilla bean.  I used to not have the patience to make Vanilla Bean ice cream; cutting up the bean and making sure to get each bit of vanilla was so tedious.  But I have come to love this and now find it therapeutic.  I love taking my time with each vanilla bean, appreciating it in every way. Feeling how soft and moist (cringe!) it feels, admiring its layers and its sweet, delicate aroma. There is nothing like breathing in a bundle of vanilla beans. These pods are surely a gift from the universe. 
It's about time I made a Vanilla Bean flavor. I've experimented with the flavor for awhile and have finally found a recipe that is perfectly rich and creamy. 

Some tips for using vanilla beans:

1. Don't be stingy.  I use two and a half beans per quart of ice cream. Don't use a small amount of vanilla bean and try to compensate with vanilla extract.

2. Every bit is precious. When I get some on my fingers, I dip my fingers in the heated batter so the vanilla isn't wasted. I would also put the emptied pods in the batter, so any left over seeds come out. You can take the pods out after the mixture is done heating and scrape them again. They will be softer and the seeds will come out easily. Just be sure to put them back in the batter before you put it in the fridge to ripen. 

3. Bulk is the best. If you'll be using a lot of vanilla beans, buy them in bulk! They're so overpriced at the market (the cheapest I've seen is $2/bean).  I've recently started buying them in bundles of 30 from an online vendor--they're the same quality and more than half the price.  Be sure to buy Grade A beans, as they are moister (cringe!) than Grade B. 

Scoopsies' Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is made with: vanilla beans, whole milk, heavy cream, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla extract.