Alesha Manning’s Churned Vanilla Custard Ice Cream Recipe


Tasty Traditions

By Gray Bennett | Photography by Kristina Armstrong

What could be sweeter than dessert? For some, beloved sweet treats often go hand in hand with a special tradition shared with family and friends. From family game nights to birthday celebrations, a nostalgic dessert always adds more meaning to the memories. Here, we spoke with four locals to learn more about what makes their tasty traditions so sweet. 


Alesha Manning with spouse Anne and daughters Jaime and Josephine

Homemade ice cream is a treasured birthday tradition for Alesha Manning and her family. As a child, her grandfather would make homemade churned ice cream to celebrate birthdays, and the whole family participated in the churning process. Aunts, uncles, cousins, and family friends would all join in. Manning recalls her excitement from the first time she helped churn. “I remember having my first go at the bucket around eight years old,” she says. “It was definitely a rite of passage. I miss him. We continue this tradition today with my family and my kids and their friends take turns churning a little to have a little.” For Manning, this tradition is a way to honor the past and share new memories with the next generation. She calls this special treat the “sweetest, coldest, and best ice cream.” Perfect to enjoy on the first day of summer or any birthday celebration, this tradition is all about teamwork and togetherness, and Mueller Manning recommends adding to the fun with special toppings like fresh fruit and chocolate sauce.



Alesha Manning

Alesha Manning’s Churned Vanilla Custard Ice Cream

“My grandfather used to make homemade churned ice cream anytime we celebrated a birthday. The rule was: everyone had to churn a little to have a little!”
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings


  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 6-7 large egg yolks
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla bean paste or pod


  • In a heavy bottom pot, simmer heavy cream, milk, sugar, and salt until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat.
  • In a large glass bowl, whisk eggs and vanilla until creamy. Slowly add half of the warm cream into the yolks, using about ¼ cup at a time. Then whisk the yolk mixture back into the remaining pot of warm cream.
  • Return pot to low heat and cook gently until custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Take off heat.
  • Strain mixture into a clean bowl to cool. Cover top of custard with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight. Pour into churner basket. Add ice and rock salt around container and churn, churn, churn. Once it becomes hard to move the handle, it's ready. Serve alone or with fresh fruit and chocolate sauce.
Keyword homemade ice cream, vanilla ice cream
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