Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

Utah puts out some mighty fine ice cream. Some of the best Utah ice cream comes from the Brigham Young University Creamery. Any amens out there?

How about some amens for Nielsen’s Frozen Custard? Sooooo smooth and creamy. It definitely trumps BYU ice cream. Sorry about that.

Frozen custard is not a Utah phenomenon. There are frozen custard places all over the country and pretty much each of these places has a following. Typically there are lines of people waiting to indulge themselves in frozen custard concoctions referred to as ‘concretes’. This is simply frozen custard with added ingredients of your choice. Berries, chopped nuts, or chopped candy bars are particular favorites.

How about some amens for making your own frozen custard at home? Hang on, my lovlies; the recipe is on its way. But first, let’s talk about the difference between ice cream and frozen custard.

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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

When my inquiring mind first asked the universally important question about what made frozen custard different than ice cream, the answer I was given was a mysterious “It has eggs in it”. I thought about what I knew about making ice cream and decided that maybe I must be misguided because I had made ice cream with and without eggs, so I didn’t say anything. There must be something more than just eggs to make it a frozen custard instead of an ice cream.

Ice cream comes in two varieties, Philadelphia style and French style. Philadelphia style ice cream is made with milk, sugar, and cream as the main ingredients. French style ice cream has all of those good things plus egg yolks and in short, the ice cream is made from a custard base.

Philadelphia style, a.k.a. American style, is delicious of course. However, an ice cream made from a custard base is outstanding. It is silky, smooth, and creamy with smaller and fewer ice crystals. So now the real question becomes ‘what is the difference between a custard based ice cream and frozen custard’? The real, true, honest-to-goodness answer is “not much”, especially if we are talking a high quality French-style ice cream.

By law, the weight of frozen custard must be a minimum of 1.4% egg yolk. 1.399999999999% = ice cream. 1.4% or more = frozen custard. Additionally, there is less air in frozen custard than there is in ice cream, which makes for a denser product. Frozen custard is also smoother than ice cream because it contains less or smaller ice crystals.

  Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

How Much Does Your Ice Cream Weigh?
I’m sorry, but I really must interject a personal observation here. Have you, by chance, ever noticed the difference in the weight of various ice creams? One day a few years ago while grocery shopping, I grabbed a carton of my favorite ice cream and started to put it in my grocery cart. I stopped dead in my tracks and balanced the carton in my hand. It didn’t feel right; as if it hadn’t been filled all the way. So, I put it back in the freezer case and picked up another carton. It, too, felt too light. Pretty soon I was comparing the ice creams’ weights brand by brand. That’s when I discovered that the ice cream industry had resorted to some pretty underhanded practices.

Just because the carton states that there are two quarts of ice cream by volume, the weight of those two quarts varies from carton to carton. Air can be added to ice cream, thereby giving it more volume. Volume and weight are not the same thing. As much as you’d like to think that the pricier ice creams have more weight, I have found that it is not so. I’d mention them by name, but I’d probably get in trouble. I will say, however, that Ben and Jerry’s is not on the cheater list. I give credit where credit is due.

With frozen custard, technique is also involved in the success of the end product. Frozen custard is richer in fat, but is served at a slightly higher temperature than ice cream, which makes the product softer. Frozen custard also has less air incorporated into it. It is slow churned. While the typical home ice cream freezer speed cannot be controlled, a beautiful end product can still be obtained.

So, ladies and gentlemen, make your own ice cream or frozen yogurt or frozen custard. Start out with something easy and work your way up from there. You can do it, I know you can. Below is a step by step tutorial. The beauty of making your own frozen custard, ice cream, etc. is that you get to choose the ingredients and the quality of the ingredients.

Whether you want to call it French style ice cream or frozen custard, it makes no difference to me. Personally, I’m going with the frozen custard theme.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 24 hours

Yield: Makes about 1 1/2 quarts base

Recipe by Terri @ that's some good cookin'

Ingredients

  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3/4 cups white granulated sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a heavy saucepan add the cream, milk, sugar, salt. Stir to combine.
  2. With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. With the back edge of the knife, scrape the inside of each half to release the vanilla bean seeds (sometimes referred to as vanilla bean caviar). Add the vanilla bean seeds and the vanilla bean pod halves to the cream mixture.
  3. Place pot over medium low or medium heat, stirring just until steam starts to rise. Do not boil.
  4. Remove pot from heat and proceed with step #4.
  5. In a medium size bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Temper the egg yolks by slowly pouring about 1 cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks while whisking quickly and constantly. Whisking is important because the hot liquid can cook the egg yolks, which would ruin the custard. Although this may sound like an intimidating step, it will work out very well if you remember to slowly add the hot liquid to the egg yolks while whisking quickly.
  6. Pour the tempered egg yolk/cream mixture slowly back into the saucepan while again whisking quickly.
  7. Over medium heat to medium low heat, continue to stir the mixture until it is thickened and coats the back of a metal spoon. Slide your finger across the back of the coated spoon. If a definitive line remains, then the custard is done. If not, continue to cook and stir the mixture, testing periodically with the spoon until the custard has developed.
  8. Now this is an optional step, but it may be a good idea if you have noticed any small lumps in your custard base. Pour the custard through a fine mesh strainer into a separate bowl to separate out any of the little lumpy stuff.
  9. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  10. Place the pot or bowl with the custard into an ice bath and stir until the mixture has cooled. (I set the pot in a large bowl about a quarter filled with ice and a little water. Use whatever you have available, even the kitchen sink with some ice in it will do the trick.) REMOVE the vanilla bean pods if you have not already done so.
  11. After the custard has cooled. Cover and put in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight until completely chilled. It is best to work with a well chilled product. If you choose to process the custard after the ice bath, the only problem, which will not really be so much of a problem, is that the end product will not be as smooth. To be frank, sometimes I skip that 'thoroughly chilled' step. Tell no one. However, I must confess that the product turns out better if it is chilled before churning.
  12. Process according to manufacturer's instructions in an ice cream freezer. Remove dasher from the custard. The custard will be soft set at this point, similar to a thick milk shake. Sometimes, it's great to serve it up as is. However, if you prefer a firmer product, put the custard in a covered container and place in freezer for several hours or over night until firm (this is called ripening).

Notes

The total time listed in this recipe includes chilling and freezing times.

http://tsgcookin.com/2012/08/vanilla-bean-frozen-custard/

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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 The cream, milk, and sugar. I didn’t think to take a picture of “the process”.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 I did, however, remember to take a picture of pouring in the salt.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Stir these guys together.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 This is a vanilla bean pod. Take a moment to inhale it’s wonderful aroma. Try not to get lost in the experience.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 With a sharp knife, split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Scrape the inside of the vanilla bean to release the seeds or caviar. Please use the back of your knife. Without thinking I used the sharp blade side of my knife. The back of the blade works better.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 The most wondrous stuff on earth.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Add the vanilla bean seeds to your pot.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 I like to cut the vanilla bean into fourths simply because it is easier to stir in the pot.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Add those bean pods to the pot, too.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
Over medium low or medium heat, cook and stir the mixture just until steam starts to rise. You don’t have to stir quickly, just stir enough to keep things from sticking to the bottom or sides of the pot. Remove pot from hot burner and set aside.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks together.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 SLOWLY pour about a cup of the hot cream mixture into the egg yolks while QUICKLY whisking. This is called tempering the eggs. By slowly pouring  the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture and quickly whisking at the same time, the eggs will not cook. You definitely do not want cooked egg yolks in your custard.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 See this? Smooth as a baby’s behind. I whisked so briskly that I got a head of foam going. No problem with the foam.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Now pour the tempered eggs back into the pot with the rest of the cream mixture. I ought to have been whisking during this part, but I lost my photo partner for this part of the shoot. The Olympics take ultimate priority over photographing tempered egg yolks being added back to a hot cream pot. To tell you the truth, I poured just this little bit back into the pot, snapped a pic while I was pouring, then put down the camera and stirred like crazy while I finished adding the tempered egg yolks to the pot.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Over medium low or medium heat, cook and stir the soon-to-be-custard mixture together.  Cook and stir until…..
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 …the mixture thickens and coats the back of a metal spoon. Draw a line across the back of the spoon through the custard coating. If a definitive mark is left, then the custard is ready. If not, then cook and stir some more until the custard passes the test. Turn off the heat and remove pot from hot burner.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Now add the vanilla extract.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 And of course stir it into the other ingredients.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Place the pot of custard into an ice bath. I used a large metal bowl with ice and a little bit of water in it. If you don’t have a large bowl, then use your kitchen sink.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Stir the custard periodically to help cool it.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Oh…don’t forget to take out the vanilla bean pods.
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This is the part of the plan where you put the cooled custard into a container and chill it in the fridge for several hours or over night. If you can wait that long. Sometimes I can wait and sometimes I cannot.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
 Process the well chilled custard in your ice cream maker until it reaches a soft set stage, somewhere between 20-25 minutes.
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard

At this point there are more choices to make: 1) eat it now; 2) put it in a container and allow it freeze for several hours in the freezer. I do both, but at my house I’m the only one who gets to do this because I’m the cook.

Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
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Vanilla Bean Frozen Custard
Photo shoot aftermath.

This recipe has been shared at the following linky parties:

Comments

  1. says

    Great way to christen the new kitchen… ice cream. 🙂 It looks absolutely divine…creamy and delicious. I have to try using my ice cream maker again this year… I bought it last year and tried it twice and it didn’t seem to thicken the ice cream into the right texture. I have a cuisinart brand and it looks like you have the same one. I don’t know what I am doing wrong… but I’m sure it’s my fault the darn thing does not work right. LOL! I bet you loved working in your kitchen. I would never want to leave that room again if I got a wonderful makeover like you did. Have a great weekend! ~ Ramona

    • says

      Ramona, ohhhhh so sad about your ice cream maker not working right. Here’s some tips for “what might have gone wrong”.
      1. Make sure the bowl has been in the freezer for at least 24 hours before using.
      2. The ice cream base should be cold before processing.
      3. Ice cream makers only freeze ice cream to a soft-serve state, similar to a milkshake texture. It only takes my ice cream maker about 20-25 minutes to being the ice cream to this texture. (I have another, much more expensive, ice cream maker that takes nearly 45 minutes to an hour to bring the ice cream to a soft milkshake texture.)
      4. After the ice cream has reached the soft-serve stage, put it into another dish or container, cover, and put in the freezer for at least 8 hours or overnight to ripen (get firm).
      5. Depending on how much sugar is in your recipe, you may be able to reduce the amount, which will raise the freezing point of the ice cream. More sugar = lower freezing point, meaning that you will need a colder temperature to freeze the ice cream.

      Hope these suggestions help. Let me know how your next ice cream adventure works out for you. I have a really easy recipe for Cake Batter Ice Cream on this site (http://www.tsgcookin.com/2011/08/cake-batter-ice-cream.html)that works well every time I make it. It tastes great and is a cinch to make.

  2. says

    I’ve been wanting to make frozen custard for a while, but I always hesitate at using so many egg yolks. Do you really need so many? What do you do with all of the egg whites?

    • says

      Hi Becca. If you are making a custard based product such as a French-style ice cream or frozen custard, then yes, you do need this many egg yolks. On this particular recipe I even reduced the amount I had originally used. Egg yolks give the ice cream or frozen custard a creamier texture by emulsifying the fats and liquids in cream and milk.

      Philadelphia-style ice cream doesn’t use any eggs (no custard base) and it is still delicious. This recipe can quickly be turned into a Philadelphia-style ice cream by omitting the egg yolks and increasing the milk from 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups.

      As for what to do with the leftover egg whites, two egg whites can be used to replace 1 whole egg in baking such things as muffins, pancakes, etc. They, of course, can also be used to make meringue. Have you ever had Great Grandma Spencer’s lemon meringue pie? Soooooo amazing!

  3. says

    Mmmmm, that looks delicious! We have a locally-owned frozen custard store nearby that sells the most amazing fresh, frozen custard every day in a variety of daily flavors. If I could make something even sort of similar at home, I’d be so happy.

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