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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, French-Style

French Style Vanilla Bean Ice CreamThere are primarily two methods in making ice cream.  One is called Philadelphia-style and only requires mixing together your cream and sugar with another flavoring, then dumping into the ice cream maker.  The other (my favorite) is called French-style and includes cooking up a custard base to give the ice cream a richer taste and creamier texture.  Today, I’m sharing with you the French-style method.

Don’t be afraid of the egg yolk custard.  And, while you’re at it, save the egg whites to make ice cream cones (recipe to come).  Also, don’t fear the price for vanilla beans.  You can find the best deal here without sacrificing the quality.  It’s also important to use good vanilla extract, which I also found at a decent price from the same shop.

Vanilla is the ice cream I make most often because it can be used in so many ways.  You can eat it plain, create your favorite sundae, serve it alongside a favorite pie, or do something I did with it that I’ll be sharing sometime next week.  :)  You can’t wait, can you?

Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, French-Style

Prep Time: 8 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 8 hours, 25 minutes

Yield: 1 quart

Serving Size: 1/2 cup

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the pod as well. Stir and cover. Remove from heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to avoid curdling, then scrape back into the saucepan.

Heat over medium heat, while stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula and scraping the bottom of the pan as you stir. Continue to heat and stir until the mixture thickens into a custard and coats the spatula. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. Strain the custard through the mesh strainer and stir it into the 1 cup cream. Transfer the vanilla pod into the strained custard, mix in the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill overnight in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla pod, rinsing and reserving for another use, and then freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Source: The Perfect Scoop, by David Lebovitz

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  1. Beautiful. I never knew of two styles and since i am getting an ice cream maker soon this is a perfect post. BTW you can find “cheaper” vanilla beans in places like marshalls or tjmax.

  2. A little confused with the directions. In the second paragraph, it says “Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top” and to put the eggs in a second bowl and then pour the eggs in into the heated milk (I’m assuming the milk that has the sugar and bean in it). How does the remaining 1 C milk come together with the eggs and the heated sugar/vanilla milk mixture?

    • Hi A,
      After reading through my directions again, I could definitely see how confusing it was. I rewrote a few of the steps to try and clarify. Hopefully it helps! Thanks!

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