This is a very rich and delicious ice cream. My recipe is based on that found in Ben and Jerry’s® "Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book.©" but I have modified their recipe a bit to get what I want. Thus, it took me a few times to get it right. Now it is perfect and you get the benefit of my experience.
The key to making great French Vanilla ice cream is to include extra egg yolks, a Madagascar vanilla bean pod and a nice heavy cream content. The egg yolks add body, color and texture. The vanilla pod amps up the vanilla flavor considerably and puts those tiny specks of vanilla in the ice cream that you will see when buying a very high quality vanilla ice cream. The use of more cream and less milk makes a creamier ice cream. The recipe below has my changes. Do note that vanilla bean pod is expensive so you may opt to simply increase the amount of vanilla extract to three or four tablespoons, or buy vanilla beans online at a great price at www.myspicesage.com.
I have learned that Ben and Jerry are right about limiting the total amount of cream. Some milk causes the ice cream to take on the right amount of air during the freezing process to produce a consistency that is perfect.
Ingredients: (makes about 1½ quarts of ice cream)
2 jumbo eggs plus two egg yolks
2 cups of heavy cream
¾ cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
1 Madagascar vanilla bean pod
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Cut the vanilla pod in half lengthwise and scrape all of the dark vanilla particles from the inside of each pod half, then set those particles aside in a small dish. Save the pod pieces for other uses, like putting them into a bowl of sugar to make vanilla sugar.
Use your electric mixer to beat the eggs and the egg yolks on medium speed, then pause to add the sugar, the vanilla extract and the reserved vanilla particles and resume mixing. Mix thoroughly. Slowly add the cream and the milk while continuing to mix.
Transfer the mixture to a gelato maker and turn it on. After about 25 minutes check the ice cream to see if it is fairly stiff. If necessary continue to run the gelato maker for an additional ten minutes.
Transfer the ice cream from the gelato maker into a good quality 1½ to 2 quart plastic container that has a tight fitting lid. Put the lid on the ice cream and put the container into a deep freeze for four to six hours.
The ice cream is then ready to serve. It is delicious!
The temperature of a deep freeze is typically lower than that of the freezer of your refrigerator, and that means the deep freeze is superior to your refrigerator freezer in the last step of final freezing of the ice cream. Use your deep freeze and the ice cream will be ready within a few hours. Conversely, the freezer of your refrigerator may not properly freeze the ice cream at all (it depends in part on how you set your freezer settings), and even if it does you may have to wait until the next day to eat the ice cream properly frozen.