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French vanilla ice cream recipe

How to make French vanilla ice cream

Classic French vanilla ice cream, homemade vanilla ice cream using a custard base, sugar, cream, and real vanilla beans.

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

You may have already noticed that French vanilla ice cream tends to have a slightly yellow coloring, while plain vanilla ice cream is more white. That’s because the base of French vanilla ice cream has egg yolks added to it.

The eggs give French vanilla ice cream both a smoother consistency and that subtle yellow color. The taste is a little richer and a little more complex than a regular vanilla, which is made with just milk and cream and is sometimes called “Philadelphia-style vanilla” ice cream.

Ingredients


2 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups milk (separated into 1 cup and 1/2 cup)
2 vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup white, granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

Special equipment:
An ice cream maker

Directions


Beat egg yolks with half of the sugar: In a medium bowl, beat together the yolks and half of the sugar. You can beat by hand using a whisk or using a hand mixer or egg beater. Beat until thoroughly smooth and creamy. (A couple of minutes by hand.)

Heat cream, milk, remaining sugar with vanilla beans: Put cream, 1 cup of the milk, the remaining half of the sugar, and the salt into a saucepan on medium heat. Use the tip of a sharp knife to scrape out the tiny seeds from the vanilla beans, and stir them into the milk cream mixture. Heat until steamy, but not simmering. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand while the vanilla infuses.

Prepare a bowl over an ice bath: Fill a large bowl half way with ice and cold water. Set a smaller metal bowl inside of it. Set aside.

Temper the eggs: Vigorously whisk the eggs while you slowly dribble half of the cream mixture into it. Pour the egg mixture into the pot with the remaining cream and milk.

Cook custard until it thickens: Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and coats the back of your spoon. (You can run your finger in a line over the back of the coated spoon. If the mixture doesn't run, but stays in place on the spoon, it should be thick enough.)

Remove from heat and mix in the remaining 1/2 cup of milk to stop the mixture from overcooking.

Pour custard through a sieve into bowl over ice bath: Set a stainless steal bowl over the ice water bath that you've prepared. Place a mesh strainer over the top bowl and pour the custard through it.

Chill the custard: Let the custard cool completely, stirring to help chill it quickly. Put into the refrigerator and let chill for at least an hour, preferably several hours.

Process in ice cream maker: Freeze custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. (Take care not to over churn the ice cream or it will get a grainy texture.)

Freeze to store: If you serve the ice cream immediately, it will have the consistency of soft serve ice cream. Freeze it for at least an hour in an airtight plastic container to have a firmer texture. If it has been frozen for more than a day, you may need to let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes to soften before serving it.

Serve with caramel sauce.

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