If you’ve not yet heard of Chef Fabio Viviani, well, you’re in for a treat. 😉
Ladies, you’ll like him because he’s cute and he’s funny.
Gents, you’ll like him because he’s funny and he’s cute.
Born in Florence, Italy, Chef Fabio is now a naturalized US citizen. One of his endeavors is a web cast called Chow Ciao on Yahoo, where he shares and demonstrates recipes and tips, which is how I made his acquaintance, as it were: http://screen.yahoo.com/chow-ciao/
Not too long before Labor Day, Fabio posted a recipe for homemade Vanilla Bean Ice Cream:
It’s the vanilla bean that takes this from bland vanilla to out-of-this-world fantastic. As handy Wikipedia tells us:
Vanilla is a flavor derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia). The word vanilla, derived from the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning sheath or pod), simply translates as little pod. Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs, and Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s.
Vanilla beans tend to be pricey, but their flavor is so rich and delicious, a little goes a long way. Fabio’s recipe calls for one vanilla bean for a quart of ice cream.
As Fabio points out, his ice cream recipe is egg-free and gluten-free. Fabio also assures us that because part of the heavy cream is replaced with whole milk, it is lighter than regular ice cream. While that is true, the ice cream is still two parts heavy cream and one part whole milk, all of which I think keeps it from being a “light” ice cream.
So, me being me, I set out to try and make Fabio’s fabulous recipe even lighter.
Of course, it goes without saying that I replaced the sugar with Splenda granulated (the kind that measures-for-measure like sugar). For the milk, I used half whole milk and half 1% milk — I think that using 2% milk would likely work as well, also.
My biggest debate was what to substitute for the heavy cream. After much agonizing and reading of nutrition labels, I decided to use 2% evaporated milk in place of the cream. I’ve had good luck in substituting evaporated milk for cream in other recipes, and so I decided to give it a go in this recipe, as well.
We were lucky enough to have our son, daughter-in-law, and grandbabies visit us over part of the Labor Day weekend, so we opted to try making the ice cream while they were here. We were all excited but also a bit nervous, wondering how the ice cream would turn out with all the substitutions I’d made.
Well, people, let me tell you that it was FABULOUS! Everyone loved it, especially our perfect little granddaughter. It was easy to make — the most challenging thing is splitting the vanilla beans and getting the seeds out, which isn’t quite as simple as Fabio makes it out to be in his video — but then again, I’m sure that Fabio has had much more practice. 😉
This ice cream is so yummy, you’ll no doubt be getting in lots of practice with splitting vanilla beans!
I doubled Fabio’s recipe to make two quarts, but it is easy to increase or decrease the recipe.
Typically, homemade ice cream tastes best when it’s first made, as time in the freezer changes its texture, but the leftover makes for incredibly yummy milkshakes. 🙂
So the next time you have a hankering for some ice cream, whip up this version of Fabio’s Fabulous Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Made Lighter. You’ll no doubt find yourself singing “The Ice Cream Song” while you do. 😉
As Fabio would say, “BOOM.” 🙂
Fabio’s Fabulous Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Made Lighter (Makes 2 quarts)
- 4 cups reduced-fat (2%) evaporated milk
- 1 cup whole milk + 1 cup 1% milk (NOTE: 2 cups of 2% milk would likely work, also)
- 1 1/3 cup Splenda granulated (or other favorite artificial sweetener that measures-for-measure like sugar)
- 2 vanilla beans, split lengthwise, seeds removed with a knife
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I like Adams Best Vanilla)
- Pinch of salt (about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon — just eyeball it)
- Whisk together all ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, stirring to prevent scorching, until it just reaches a light boil. DO NOT OVERCOOK.
- Let cool to approximately room temperature (about 15 minutes).
- Freeze according to your ice cream freezer’s instructions.
- Enjoy! Freeze leftovers in a tightly sealed container.