This French vanilla bean ice cream is made with a traditional egg custard for a classic, creamy ice cream that's rich and delicious.
This old-fashioned vanilla ice cream is a rich, luxurious ice cream made in the traditional French style with an egg custard or creme anglaise base. The combination of aromatic vanilla beans with the rich custard base gives a fabulous flavor that rivals that of any ice cream shop.
Looking for more vanilla ice cream recipes? Why not try my Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream, all the flavor but without the eggs, or my simple three ingredient ice cream, no-churn vanilla with no ice cream machine needed. Delicious!
Or if you're in the mood for more delectable ice cream check out my full collection of Cuisinart ice cream maker recipes (that work well in other brands ice cream makers too!).
Recipe tips and frequently asked questions
What's the difference between vanilla and french vanilla ice cream?
Vanilla ice cream is Philadelphia-style ice cream that's flavored with vanilla. But the vanilla flavor could be anything from whole vanilla beans, to natural vanilla essence or paste or even artificial vanilla flavoring. Philadelphia style means an ice cream that is made without eggs and is often thickened with other ingredients such as tapioca starch.
French vanilla ice cream refers to the method of making the ice cream with an egg custard base that's been flavored with vanilla.
So the difference between vanilla vs French vanilla ice cream referred to the different methods of making the ice cream. Either type can be flavored with a variety of vanilla, from whole vanilla beans to essence or flavoring.
What to serve with vanilla ice cream
This versatile flavor is delicious on its own but also pairs perfectly with just about anything! Some fabulous ideas include:
- As the base of a classic ice cream sundae
- In a thick and frosty banana milkshake
- On top of a fudgy, chewy chocolate brownie
- On top of a cozy fruit crumble, such pear crumble or rhubarb crumble
- On a quick and easy mug cake such an Oreo mug cake
Is vanilla bean ice cream gluten-free?
It depends. This homemade ice cream is gluten-free however store-bought ice cream can have unexpected ingredients added, so if this is an issue for you it's always best to check the ingredients on the label.
Does vanilla bean ice cream contain caffeine?
No vanilla bean ice cream does not contain caffeine.
Vanilla beans: are available for supermarkets and specialty baking stores.
Cream – in Australia I use thicken cream. The key thing is it needs to have a fat content of around 35% or you risk your ice cream being icy.
Milk – gotta be the full cream stuff, so around 3.5% fat. Anything less is going to make your ice cream icy.
White sugar: for both taste and scoop-ability. White sugar gives a clean taste to the ice cream or you could use castor sugar which will dissolve a little easier.
Egg yokes: use large eggs and separate out the whites. You can set aside the egg whites to make something else such as my amaretti cookies.
Glucose syrup – also called confectioner’s glucose. Its available from some supermarkets or specialty baking stores. A small amount of glucose syrup helps lower the freezer point of ice cream and improves the texture and scoopability of the ice cream. If you can’t get glucose syrup you can substitute with the same amount of light corn syrup or powdered dextrose, commonly available from brewing shops. Do not add to much or your ice cream will melt in a red hot minute!
🔪 How to make vanilla bean ice cream at home
See the full recipe card at the end of the post for ingredient amounts and instructions.
If using a double boiler put the water onto boil. The post should be quite full but not touching the bottom of the double boiler.
Put the milk and the rest of the cream into a separate small saucepan and put it on warm to simmer. Split the vanilla bean with a sharp knife and run the knife along the inside of the split to scrap out the seeds. Add the seeds and rest of the vanilla pot to the milk and cream mix.
Separate eggs and put egg whites aside for another recipe, such as my amaretti cookies. Put the egg yokes into a bowl and beat them together with an electric hand mixer. The mix will be very yellow to start with, but will pale to almost white when beaten enough.
Temper the egg yokes by slowly adding the warmed milk and cream milk to the yokes a bit at a time, mixing well in between.
Once fully combined pour into the top of the double boiler. A double boiler is an option but it makes it much easier to cook custard ice cream bases. It evens out the temp and makes it less likely to curdle.
If you're not using a double boiler put the mix into a pot and have the heat on very low. You will need to watch it very carefully to prevent it from catching and curdling.
Simmer gently and stir stir stir 'until it coats the back of a spoon', stirring frequently and ensuring to scrape the bottom and sides. Basically until it holds the line when you run your finger through it (don't burn your finger!).
This could take anywhere from about five to fifteen minutes, depending how high the mix is. If the mix starts to simmer and bubble to much remove the pot from heat and allow to coo slightly before continuing and stirring. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Hot tip: as soon as the custard is cooked remove the top of the double boiler and place it in a colander. This will allow your mix to cool without overcooking it before you strain it.
Put a sieve over a heat-proof container and strain mix to remove any eggy bits. Put the vanilla pod back into the base, cover and chill for at least four hours, preferably overnight. This will help infuse more vanilla flavor into the base from the vanilla pod.
Put your ice cream storage container into the freezer to chill. If you are using a self-chilling churner turn it on ten mins before to chill. Remove the vanilla pod and set aside to make something else, there will still be plenty of flavor left in it.
Churn the ice cream. It will be the consistency of soft-serve when done. Transfer to the chilled ice cream container, cover and freeze for at least four hours, or until firm.
💭 How to serve
To serve, remove from the freezer, scoop and enjoy! Fantastic on its own, in a decadent ice cream sundae or paired with your favorite dessert. Delicious!
💭 How to store
To store the ice cream put it into an air-tight container in the freezer. It will have the best taste and texture if eaten within one week. It will keep significantly longer than this but may start to become icy over time.
Have you made this recipe? Tell me how it went in the comments below and tag me on instagram so I can see your delicious creations! #KCAEIC
Looking for more ice cream recipes?
Why not try making
- Ice Cream Sundae
- No churn vanilla ice cream - no ice cream machine needed
- Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream (egg free)
- Lemon ice cream
Vanilla bean ice cream
- ice cream churner
- double boiler optional
- Electric hand beaters or stand mixer
- 1 & ½ cups (375mls) full fat milk
- 1 & ½ cups (375mls) thickened cream
- 1 whole vanilla bean
- 6 egg yokes, from large eggs
- ¾ cup (165gms) castor sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- ½ tablespoon (15gms) glucose syrup *optional
- If using a double boiler put water on to boil. Once boiled reduce the water in the pot to a simmer.
- Add milk and cream to a separate small saucepan. Use a sharp knife to carefully spilt the vanilla bean. Scrap the inside and add the scrapped seeds and bean to the pot with the milk and cream. Put the pot on medium-low until ti comes to a simmer.
- Add egg yokes and sugar to a medium bowl or stand mixer and beat together until pale.
- Temper the egg yolks by slowly adding the simmering cream and milk, mixing well between each addition. Once combined add to the top of the double boiler. Add the glucose syrup and mix well.
- *You can use a regular saucepan instead of a double boiler if you don't have one BUT you will need to use a very low heat and watch and stir it very frequently to prevent mix catching and the eggs scrambling.
- Cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, making sure to scrap around the edges to prevent lumps.
- Mix is ready when it starts to thicken and 'coats the back of a spoon' i.e. until it holds the line when you run your finger through it (don't burn your finger!). This could be anywhere from about five to fifteen minutes.
- NB if the mix gets too hot or starts to bubble too much remove the pot from the heat and continue stirring until it cools. If you cook the mix too hot you will scramble the eggs.
- Remove from heat, put the top of the double boiler into a colander and allow to cool. Put a sieve over a heat-proof container and strain mix to remove any eggy bits. Put the vanilla pod back into the base, cover and chill for at least four hours, preferably overnight.
- Put your ice cream storage container in the freezer to chill. If using a self-refrigerating ice cream churner turn on ten minutes before using, otherwise take your freezer bowl out of the freezer at the last min.
- Stir ice cream base and remove vanilla bean. Pour into ice cream churner and churn, it will be the consistency of soft serve when done.
- Quickly transfer to chilled container and freeze until firm.
- To serve, remove from freezer, scoop and enjoy! Fantastic on its own, in a decadent sundae or paired with your favourite dessert. Delicious!
Nutritional information is an estimate based on an online database. The nutritional content of ingredients may vary by brand. If you require accurate nutritional information, you should calculate this based on the specific brands and products you are using.
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