French Vanilla Bean Ice Cream is a treat everyone should have each summer. You can add crushed Oreos, chocolate chip cookies or snickerdoodles at the very end to make a more customized version. I prefer this ice cream as-is with a touch of fresh vanilla bean. I often make this ice cream with 2% instead of whole milk. I would also warn you against adding in additional heavy cream. If you add more cream thinking ‘more is better,’ you will be disappointed with the results. Too much heavy cream will bring out the flavor of butter, rather then a sweet vanilla ice cream.
French Style Vanilla Bean Ice Cream
Fresh homemade ice cream is almost impossible to beat. You will find that this recipe rivals the best ice cream shop you've been to. Scratch recipes always taste better. You can control the age, quantity and quality of the ingredients. In this recipe I utilize fresh Tahitian vanilla beans, which are great. If you want a stronger flavor, I would suggest getting vanilla bean paste rather than vanilla beans.
In a medium saucepan over medium high heat combine the milk, cream, half of the sugar, vanilla bean scraped along with the bean, and salt and bring just to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and begin the egg yolk mixture.
While the milk/cream mixture is heating, combine the 5 yolks and remaining 1/2 cup of sugar in a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or stand mixer on low speed or whisk, beat until mixture is pale and thick. While intermittently scraping down the side of the mixing bowl and stirring by hand with a rubber spatula, increase speed to medium and mix until all is incorporated. The mixture should be pale yellow.
Bring the milk/cream mixture back to a boil and whisk about 1∕3 cup of the hot mixture into the yolk/sugar mixture. Add another 1∕3 cup of the mixture, then return the combined mixture back to the saucepan. (You have just tempered the eggs for the ice cream batter.)
Using a high temperature rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly over low heat until it thickens slightly and coats the back of the spatula or spoon. This mixture must NOT boil or the yolks will scramble – the process should only take a few minutes. Work the range top to accommodate what you want to do. Adjust the heat just to keep from boiling.
Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer (discard the vanilla pod) and bring to room temperature. Stir in the vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate 1 to 2 hours, or overnight.
Once your ice cream batter is fully cooled, add the mixture to your ice cream maker. Follow the churning instructions given by the manufacturer.
The ice cream should have a soft creamy consistency. Remove from the ice cream maker, add to an airtight container and freeze for 2 hours before serving.