Seven-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream

April 02nd, 2011  | Category: Ice Cream & Sorbet

7-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream

Yesterday, Cafe Fernando turned 5! A year ago today, I quit my job and decided to become a full-time blogger. Since then, so many things have happened. First of all, the book happened. It turned my world upside down. And continuing to do so. I thought it was going to be all about baking, writing, melting chocolate and shopping for props, but it is much more than that. It became my whole life.

If I’m not measuring, baking, glazing or slicing, I am thinking, dreaming and planning. It is not just the actual work involved. I spend every waking minute of my life doing something about the book. And when life goes on like that, as equally important as it may be, I can’t help but spend less time on my blog. I feel sad for not being able to post frequently and socialize more with you guys, but I hope you know that a part of my brain is permanently thinking of my blog, and you, dear reader.

Because of all these, I also felt guilty for leaving everything behind and going on a 12-day vacation to San Francisco, but now that I think about it, my adventures there will keep the blog going for a couple more months. In the meantime, I hope to finalize the first two chapters (together with photos) and the moment I’m done, I’ll be back with recipes.

So, how are we celebrating this year?

I churned an outrageous ice cream.

Imagine the creamiest vanilla ice cream. Now multiply the vanilla aroma by seven.

Vanilla Beans

Not 2, not 4, but 7.

Not just the aroma, but the number of seeds. You know how the poppy seeds crackle when you bite into them in a cake or a financier? The same thing happens, but this time you’re biting into vanilla seeds. Flavor explosion. Heaven.

I assure you – the Seven-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream is not an April Fool’s Day joke. It is for real. The first time I saw this recipe on Sherry Yard’s book, “Desserts by the Yard”, I couldn’t believe my eyes. And let’s not forget that it is just a component of a dessert she created for the 75th anniversary of the Oscars, titled “Chocolate Truffle Tart with Chocolate Crème Brûlée Diamonds and Seven-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream”. Wouldn’t you have fallen off your chair if you had seen it on a menu? I would.

Since the book is written by a pastry goddess, I didn’t even doubt the amount of vanilla in the recipe. OK, it is pretty intense, but come on – I’m celebrating the 5th year of my blog. That doesn’t happen every day and so should this ice cream, but I thought I deserve it just as much as an actor with an academy award in his hand.

The ice cream is beyond rich and creamy, so I thought segmented orange and grapefruit would balance it with their freshness.

Segmented Oranges

And they did.

7-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream 2

Once again, I’d like to thank you for reading my stories, trying out my recipes (some of which are outrageous as well), taking your precious time to leave comments and watching Cafe Fernando grow up during these five years.

7-Bean Vanilla Ice Cream

Here’s to another 5, hoping I never run out of vanilla ice cream in my freezer, with a 7-bean version once in a while.


Recipe inspired* by Sherry Yard’s book “Desserts by the Yard” and adapted from David Lebovitz’s Vanilla Ice Cream recipe published in “The Perfect Scoop”.

Makes 1 quart


For ice cream:

  • 7 vanilla beans
  • 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
  • 2 cups (500 ml) heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt

To serve (3-4 servings):

  • 1 orange
  • 1 grapefruit


  1. Using a paring knife, cut the vanilla beans in half (lengthwise), scrape the seeds and place in a large pot together with milk, heavy cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, take off heat, cover and let infuse for half an hour.
  2. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice and cold water. Set aside.
  3. Place the egg yolks together with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until thickened and the whisk leaves a trail.
  4. In the meantime, bring the infused cream to a boil again.
  5. While whisking constantly, slowly pour half a cup of the hot cream into the egg mixture.
  6. Once incorporated, pour the warm egg mixture into the infused cream, place over medium heat and stir until the mixture coats the back of a wooden spoon, for about 15 minutes.
  7. Pour the custard through a strainer into another mixing bowl, add salt and stir over ice and cold water until the custard reaches room temperature.
  8. Cover the bowl and chill overnight, then freeze it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  9. Right before serving, segment the orange and grapefruit. Slice the top and bottom of the fruit, place it on a cutting board, slice the skin and pith in strips (let the curve guide you), then hold the fruit in your hand and slide the knife along the membrane, on both sides of each segment to release it.
  10. Place two tablespoons of ice cream in each serving dish, wait for 5 minutes for it to melt, place the fruit segments on top and a scoop of seven-bean vanilla ice cream right in the middle.

* I prefer a much smoother and richer vanilla ice cream, so only increased the amount of vanilla beans and kept the rest of the ingredients same in David’s vanilla ice cream recipe. Sherry Yard’s original recipe has twice the amount of milk. The rest of the ingredients are the same. You can see it here.

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  1. 1 - Tatiana on April 2nd, 2011

    I loved the presentation!!

  2. 2 - Caffettiera on April 2nd, 2011

    No matter how sparse, each of your post and recipe is a huge inspiration. I’m looking forward to reading your adventures in San Francisco. Happy fifth blog birthday! To many more years and vanilla beans to come.

  3. 3 - Val on April 2nd, 2011

    Congratulations! I hope to be reading you for a much longer time to come. Love you, love your blog. Keep it up!

  4. 4 - A Plum By Any Other Name on April 3rd, 2011

    I’ve always wondered what would happen if I extended the traditional vanilla bean quotient past 2 pods. It was unknown, uncharted territory as far as I was concerned. I likened it in my head to how explorers must have felt when they thought the world was flat.

    Thank goodness for exploration: now I know the world is round … and vanilla beans are abound! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  5. 5 - S on April 3rd, 2011

    Happy fifth birthday!

  6. 6 - dilan on April 3rd, 2011

    Congrats Cenk. Loved the photo with the vanilla beans.

  7. 7 - Izzy on April 3rd, 2011

    Happy blogaversary! I’ve been following your blog for almost two years now and you’ve been a great inspiration. My best wishes.

  8. 8 - sophia on April 3rd, 2011

    What a great recipe to celebrate Cenk. Happy blog birthday..

  9. 9 - Tina on April 3rd, 2011

    BIG Congrats!

  10. 10 - yvonne on April 3rd, 2011

    Awesome. Thanks for the amazing five years. Happy birthday!

  11. 11 - Nil on April 3rd, 2011

    Süpersiniz,hem tarifler hem de benim de uzun yıllar yaşamış oldugum BayArea ve S.F ile ilgili yazılarınız.Keep up the good work

  12. 12 - ruth on April 3rd, 2011

    happy 5th birthday, don’t feel guilty for going to san francisco, just enjoy every moment of your life, pretty soon I’ll be going to Paris and the 1st place I will go to is l’étoile d’or, after all these years going to paris and I found out about this place through your blog, isn’t life funny and blogs are a great thing.

  13. 13 - Geri on April 4th, 2011

    I’m new to your blog and if you didn’t travel and do a variety of things your blog would not be as entertaining and educational….so enjoy life do what is best for you and keep blogging too…I’m going to get my vanilla ice cream ingredients and dive in to it…sounds delicious and looks that way too…Happy Anniversary.

  14. 14 - Carol on April 4th, 2011

    Happy Anniversary Cenk!

  15. 15 - Syd on April 4th, 2011

    Happy Blogaversary 🙂 And thank you so much for sharing this recipe, it looks delicious! I will definitely have to try it.

  16. 16 - feride on April 4th, 2011

    Happy Birtday, Cafe Fernando! Wishing you many more years! Good luck with the book too. Looking at you ice cream pictures is about to ruin my diet!:)

  17. 17 - Andreas on April 4th, 2011

    I wish you a nice vacation in SF and a happy anniverary… looking forward reading your new stories.

  18. 18 - Ilke on April 5th, 2011

    Happy Birthday! Nice way to celebrate it! Looking forward reading another 5 years and more!

  19. 19 - terri on April 9th, 2011

    Happy Blogiversary!

    The ice cream looks incredible, but I have to admit–I want to know more about the fiber that you have under the vanilla beans. Wool? Combed top? Where did you get it? The colors are gorgeous!

  20. 20 - Michelle @ Taste As You Go on April 13th, 2011

    Congratulations on reaching such a major blogging milestone!

    This ice cream sounds like the perfect way for me to use the vanilla beans I have in my pantry right now. Thanks so much for sharing!

  21. 21 - Helene on April 14th, 2011

    Happy 5th Birthday! I am glad I was with you reading and cheering you on since the beginning. Congrats on all your successes!

  22. 22 - Gordon@PimpThatFood on April 16th, 2011

    Happy 5th Year of CafeFernando! Love the Vanilla Explosion in this ice-cream!

  23. 23 - Cenk on April 17th, 2011

    Thank you all for the nicest comments!

    terri – Those are roving merino wool tops. I got them from here.

    Helene – And I feel extremely lucky to have such an inspiring fellow blogger reading and cheering me on since the beginning.

  24. 24 - B5 on April 18th, 2011

    I think after 5 years your blog became my “golden girls”. I mean this blog shows up when I need that feeling home. Or when I need to calm down and to feel happiness. Thank you : )

  25. 25 - cream canisters on April 19th, 2011

    it looks so delicious.
    yummy yummy

  26. 26 - Kitchen Butterfly on April 20th, 2011

    Many Congratulations Cenk on turning 5! I am encouraged and inspired by your bold step to quit your job. Sometimes we must go with our guts…..

  27. 27 - Ashley on April 20th, 2011

    Happy Blog Birthday!
    When I worked at the restaurant with Sherry we used 50 vanilla beans. A deep golden custard studded with thousands of speckled beans.

  28. 28 - June Thompson on April 21st, 2011

    Congrats on the big 5! I love your blog and recipes. This 7 bean revelation belongs in Paula Deen’s cooking competition! It’s called Real Women of Phialdelphia and the season 2 contest is going on now…Winning the big cash prize would be one h*ll of a chapter in your book!

  29. 29 - Cenk on April 24th, 2011

    June – Absolutely! Thanks for letting me know. I’ll check it out.

    Ashley – Thanks! 50? Do you mean 50 instead of 7 for a quart of ice cream? And you worked with Sherry! I’m jealous.

  30. 30 - RSA Now on April 27th, 2011

    First of all happy anniversary 😉 second of all OH MY GOD that ice cream is so good!

  31. 31 - shirley @ Food as passion on June 3rd, 2011

    This looks really delicious. Yummy. I just loved your recipe. Keep it up, keep sharing more recipes. I have some amazing recipes too. For sure you will love it. Waiting for your visit to there. Don’t forget to visit. Have a good day guys.

  32. 32 - Clare Hampshire UK on June 10th, 2011

    Love it I think i will put on my to do list and invite the crew over and I am glad to have found this site I am always looking for new ideas and credit will be given I will direct clients here

  33. 33 - gizem on June 16th, 2011

    I saw this beautiful post.And I want it how badly:)What will I do now!!!:p
    Happy Anniversaire Cenk!!!

  34. 34 - Shar on June 22nd, 2011

    I’m glad you quit. Happy 5th anniversary.

  35. 35 - Na on June 25th, 2011

    I recently made something with 4 vanilla beans and it was a big disaster in my opinion. The crunch of the seeds in something creamy reminds me of gritty clam chowders….yuck!

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