French Vanilla Ice Cream

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FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM

The most incredible ice cream we have ever had. Better than anything we had found in Paris.


Christmas came early and Santa just left me a Whynter ice cream maker. Wow! We made one batch of ice cream with it and immediately got rid of all the previous ice cream makers we had hanging out in the garage that we never use. No messing with ice and rock salt or freezing the inner container. But best of all, it made the most incredible French vanilla ice cream we have ever had. Even better than the ice cream we had in France.

ICE CREAM IN AIX EN PROVENCE
ICE CREAM IN AIX EN PROVENCE
ICE CREAM IN LYON
ICE CREAM IN LYON

THE SMOOTHEST HOMEMADE ICE CREAM

Paris, Lyon, Aix… the ice cream in France is incredible. It is creamy, smooth and dense, not like the fluffy, airy ice cream we are used to. The flavors are intense and elegant. And we were determined to make something similar.

There is more to ice cream than just freezing quality ingredients. The key is making it smooth and creamy, and there is a lot of science to making it smooth. Ice cream stays smooth while it is being churned, but then it is put in the freezer in order to harden and that’s when ice crystals form, ruining the smoothness.

Making ice cream requires a method and ingredients that prevent large ice crystals from forming. This is accomplished with an ice cream maker that keeps the mixture moving and freezes it quickly, and using certain ingredients that keep the ice crystals small.

The Whynter ice cream maker does an incredible job of churning the ice cream and freezing it quickly. It also helps if everything is cold. Make the mixture the day before and thoroughly chilling it, which also improves the flavor. Let the ice cream maker run for five minutes before putting the mixture in. Freeze a glass container to store the ice cream. And work quickly when the ice cream has finished churning.

French Vanilla Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS FOR FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM

We started with the best ingredients, and that made a big difference – the best cream, ripe local fruit from the farmer’s market, and unusual liquors. Brands vary in quality, so we have listed what we used.

Some of the ingredients also affect the texture. They keep the ice crystals small so the ice cream stays creamy. In this recipe, the creme fraiche, alcohol and corn syrup are the keys to keeping the ice crystals small.

Creme fraiche is a cultured product, like sour creme, but with a much milder taste. The culture in it prevents ice crystals from forming once the ice cream has been churned and is hardening. We make creme fraiche in an Instant Pot from Horizon cream, which makes this an eco-friendly swap as well, since Horizon is taking action on climate change. So we are saving the world, one dish of ice cream at a time. (It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it.)

Corn syrup lowers the freezing point of water, making the ice crystals smaller and the ice cream smoother. We use Wholesome corn syrup because it is NOT a high-fructose corn syrup. Honey, and to some extent maple syrup, will do the same thing, so we use these for certain flavors.

Alcohol lowers the freezing point, making the ice crystals small. It also keeps ice crystals from forming as the ice cream hardens. Too much, however, and the ice cream won’t freeze. We use a Tablespoon of an 80 proof alcohol. We used vanilla extract in this recipe that is made from vodka. For other recipes we substitute an alcohol that has an appropriate flavor, using more if it contains less actual alcohol. This allows for a lot of creativity.

No Affiliates Statement

We call this our “no affiliates” statement because we accept no advertising, have no affiliates and accept no payment. We are not paid to mention brands – we just love buying the best, sharing that information and saving the planet at the same time. The effort put into writing and photographing the blog is solely based on our dedication to the cause.

French Vanilla Ice Cream with scoop on grey background
Scoop of French Vanilla Ice Cream in French Laundry dish on grey background

FRENCH VANILLA ICE CREAM

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: French Vanilla Ice Cream

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Put a glass storage container in the freezer.
  • In a small saucepan, bring cream, corn syrup and vanilla bean (if using) to a simmer, stirring to combine.
  • Remove the vanilla bean, split it with a knife and scrape the paste off, adding the paste back into the cream. If you are using vanilla extract, add it after simmering the cream.
  • In the stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whisk together egg, egg yolk, sugar and salt for 2 minutes on medium speed.
  • Switch to low speed and slowly add the cream and corn syrup mixture.
  • Continue wisking on low and add the creme fraiche and vanilla.
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Pour into the ice cream maker and make ice cream according to the directions.
  • Quickly transfer the ice cream into the glass container that has been in the freezer, cover, and put the container back in the freezer overnight.
  • Store in the freezer for up to a week.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

CREME FRAICHE
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BOURBON PECAN ICE CREAM RECIPE
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Bourbon Pecan Ice Cream Recipe


INSPIRED WHILE TRAVELING

This is one of the things we discovered while traveling and recreated when we got back home. We researched the science and techniques behind the recipe and used tips from exceptional chefs. Then we used the best ingredients we could find to create this recipe. For more ideas, see our other posts about recipes inspired by travel.

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