Saturday, July 23, 2011

Incredibly rich vanilla bean frozen custard

This venture started out with me wanting to make a good, rich vanilla ice cream with my little Cuisinart ice cream maker. I thought that a caramel topping would be nice. I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

What it turned out to be is a vanilla frozen custard so rich and creamy that really only a couple of small scoops are plenty for any ice cream, sugar-loving, dessert nut {like me}. Personally, I felt like it tasted like the ice cream version of the custard part of crème brûlée.

The topping is a deeply darkened caramel (read: sugar one step away from burning). It's not the super sweet light caramel that barely has any flavor. That has its own place in life... but not here. This caramel tastes much like the burnt "brulee" part of the créme brûlée.

This dessert is not for you if you're looking to trim away any inches on your waist. This is the real deal, folks.

Super Rich & Creamy Vanilla Frozen Custard
Adapted from Gourmet

Yields 3/4 quart, but doubling the recipe will likely be too dense for a typical 1 1/2 quart Cuisinart machine to handle


1 good quality vanilla bean (I used Penzeys) or vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs

Using a sharp paring knife, halve the vanilla bean lengthwise. Gently scrape out all of the caviar; place into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan the caviar, empty vanilla bean, cream, and sugar. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Using a mixer, slightly whisk the eggs. While the mixer is on medium low with the whisk attachment, slowly pour spoonfuls of the cream mixture into the eggs until the eggs are tempered (i.e. adjusting to the heat without becoming scrambled eggs), about 4 or so spoonfuls. Then, you can slowly pour in the rest of the cream mixture into the eggs while the mixer is still on. 

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan, and cook stirring constantly over medium-low until the custard reaches 170-175 degrees (do not let it boil). Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl. 

If you have time, let it come to room temp (or close) and then refrigerate until completely cold, about 3 hours or up 24 hours. Press a layer of plastic wrap or wax paper flush to the top of the custard so that a skin doesn't form. 

If you're short on time, place the bowl of custard inside a larger bowl filled with ice. Stir the custard constantly until it is cool, and then place in the fridge with plastic wrap or wax paper flush to the top of the custard so a film doesn't form. Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Follow your ice cream maker's instructions to finish and store for up to 1 week in an airtight container in the freezer.

The dark salted caramel topping is from Smitten Kitchen and made exactly as Deb perfectly described with the exception that I made a half a batch. 


  1. mmmm, beautiful photos and that caramel topping....i could most definitely just drink that stuff straight! Gorgeous post :)

  2. Wow. Yeah. I am looking to trim inches, but I think I'm going to succumb to this. What's a few steps back?

  3. I LOVE your blog - it's just simple and sweet!! This sounds divine and your photos are amazing. I love that I can see the little vanilla bean speckles in the ice cream!

  4. How wonderfully delicious looking! I think that caramel looks like it is bursting with flavor. I host a recipe swap every week and I'd love for you to come by and show off a recipe or two. Have a blessed day :)

  5. That ice cream looks incredible but that dark salted caramel is stealing the show for me. That looks so yummy!

  6. Ladies- you are all right... this IS so yummy! Thanks for all of your sweet comments!

  7. Do you think vanilla extract would work? If so, how much would you recommend? Thank you.

    1. Lisa-
      I don't recommend it for the best flavor, but you could substitute in extract. The flavor would not be nearly as deep. 2-3tsp of extract is supposed to equal one bean.

  8. Thanks Nicole. After giving it some thought I broke down and bought the actual beans (man are those expensive!). I'm going to give the recipe a try tomorrow and I can't wait. Thanks for responding to my question so quickly!


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