Easy Ice Cream at Home
What You'll Need
Not pictured: measuring cups and spoons. You'll need those, too.
Egg Separating Setup
If you want to save your whites for another project, throw the shells away.
Add Sugar to Eggs
My standard creamy base calls for two cups of heavy cream and one cup of whole milk. If you want it more rich, substitute half and half for the milk or add another egg yolk or two. If you want it less rich, use equal parts cream and milk or use one or two fewer egg yolks. It's really up to you and your personal taste.
For this recipe, you can also substitute in a pint of half and half and a cup of heavy cream. It's a similar—though not exactly the same—amount of fat to the above, but it has one key advantage: pre-measured ingredients, no measuring cup required.
But wait, you might ask, don't I need to scald my dairy and temper it into the eggs? Nope. Commercial dairy is pasteurized and homogenized, which means it's already been heated up to a high temperature and thoroughly emulsified. You heating up the dairy to a bare simmer won't do anything on top of that except waste time. And if you start from cold dairy, you don't need to slowly temper it into your egg yolks to prevent curdling. The entire custard can be heated together all at once with no loss in quality.
The exception is if you're planning to steep a flavor in your dairy that takes time to infuse, like vanilla beans or mint leaves. In that case, heat your dairy to a bare simmer separately, add your flavorings, cover, and remove from the heat. I let a vanilla bean steep for one hour; mint goes for two. By the time it's done, the dairy is usually at a low enough temperature that you can quickly whisk it into your well-combined yolk-sugar mixture with little risk of curdling.
There We Go
Use this spoon test often as the custard warms through. If the custard starts to simmer at all before you reach this stage, reduce the heat to low and stir more frequently.