Vanilla Bean and Black Pepper Ice Cream
I came across the idea for this recipe while surfing the web a little while back. I was planning to make shortbread cookies and wanted to pair them with something I’d never tried before. In my searching, I discovered a few sites that mentioned how amazingly perfect the combination of freshly ground pepper and pure vanilla is in a creamy, homemade ice cream. Being the adventurous person that I am, I set out to try it for myself. I tweaked and modified until I got the final recipe just right, and the result is nothing short of miraculous. I couldn’t wait to share it!
I chose to create my own recipe for this one and I think you’ll agree that the combination of a rich, custardy ice cream – that kind that’s always creamy, even straight from the freezer – and a spicy, freshly ground multicolored pepper help to accentuate what’s already a near-perfect flavor pairing. I used a very classic custard-based ice cream (6 egg yolks!) and let my vanilla bean pods infuse with my milk for over an hour before combining my ingredients. It takes a little bit of extra time and effort but the results are definitely worth it. If you’re having any doubts about mixing pepper and vanilla, I think you’ll be very pleasantly surprised! The pepper is far from being too harsh or overpowering and helps to bring out some of the more delicate flavors in the vanilla. They really are a perfect duo!
This recipe makes one qt. of ice cream.
- 6 Large Egg Yolks
- 1 Cup Whole Milk
- 1/8 tsp. Salt
- 1 Vanilla Bean, split lengthwise with the beans removed from the pod
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Cups Heavy Cream
- 3 Tbsp. Freshly Ground Multicolor Pepper (black pepper is also fine, but the pink peppercorns in the multicolor blend add a nice color profile)
- Place the cream in the fridge to chill.
- Begin by combining the milk, salt, sugar, and both the vanilla beans and the bean pod. Heat over medium-high in a small saucepan but don’t allow to boil. Remove from heat, add half of the ground pepper, cover, and allow to sit for at least an hour.
- In a separate bowl, lightly beat the egg yolks.
- Return the milk to heat and warm over low heat. You don’t want the milk to get very hot. Very slowly add the milk to the yolks, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and thicken on low heat, stirring constantly. Chill in the fridge for a few hours.
- In a large bowl, add the remaining pepper to the heavy cream.
- Strain the milk and yolk mixture into the cream, being sure the vanilla pod is strained from the mixture.
- Freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s directions.