ice cream

Mama’s Custard

I remember one year when I was in elementary school one of my friends invited me to her family’s Fourth of July cookout. I don’t remember much about it besides being in a grassy backyard and people raving and looking forward to the homemade peach ice cream that had been promised. Even my friend had told me that it was the best ice cream ever.

I’m sure I had had homemade ice cream before that. I have vague memories of my mom making ice cream in one of those old fashioned ice cream makers where you have to use rock salt, ice, and use your own muscle power to churn it for 45 minutes. Maybe I let everyone’s excitement get to me about that homemade peach ice cream because I could not eat it. I was sorely disappointed. It was soupy and icy and no where near creamy, which is what ice cream needs to be.

Over the years I have seen that same disappointment in many homemade ice cream recipes I have tried. For years, I have had the recipe for my great-grandmother’s ice cream custard tucked away, but never tried it. With a little nudge from my mom, I decided I would whip out that recipe and go for it.

However, after looking at the recipe and seeing that it didn’t call for any cream, I decided to tweak a few ingredients to get a higher fat content in hopes of getting that creamy texture that I have been looking for for so many years. I also figured that using high fat content milks would allow for it to not get icy as well.

I didn’t get my hopes up in case it was a total flop. And guess what?! I produced the most luscious vanilla custard I have ever had. It may even rival the two closest custard shops within a 5 mile radius of my home. It has the most amazing and creamy texture. It doesn’t get super hard, and it’s is easily scoopable. But knowing my taste buds and how I like my ice cream, I knew I needed to add some chunks. **The first time I made it I added chopped up oreos, a peanut butter ribbon, and a chocolate ganache. It was INCREDIBLE. Pretty much anything can be added to this vanilla base if you want, or you can enjoy it plain as well and add toppings instead.

When making homemade frozen custard, make it at least 1 day ahead. This gives it plenty of time to cool as you have to heat it over the stovetop to cook the eggs that are in it. Also, if you are using an ice cream maker that requires using a frozen bowl, make sure to freeze that at least a day in advance. I like to keep mine in the deep freezer so I can have it ready whenever I decide to make ice cream.

I have found that ice cream will never get a hard, scoopable texture while mixing in the ice cream maker. It needs at least a few hours in the freezer afterwards to harden. Of course, you can go ahead and eat it straight from the ice cream maker, but don’t blame me when it becomes soupy and melty within minutes of hitting your bowl.

Ingredients

  • 1 qt. heavy cream
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1 TBS vanilla

Directions

  1. Separate eggs and place the yolks into a mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan heat cream, milk, and sugar over medium-high heat on the stove. Do not bring the milk to a boil. As soon as it begins to bubble around the edges remove it from the heat.
  3. Now we are going to temper the eggs so we don’t have scrambled egg ice cream. This is done by constantly whisking the eggs, while slowly adding a little bit of your heated milk mixture. I like to use a ladle to scoop some of the heated milk into the eggs. Don’t stop whisking. Add about half of the milk mixture. Once you have added half of the milk mixture to your eggs, slowly pour in the egg/milk mixture into the saucepan with the remaining milk, remembering to whisk constantly while doing so.
  4. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and heat again over medium heat. If you are using a thermometer, heat until the mixture reaches 170 degrees. If not using a thermometer, make sure not to let it come to a boil, but instead keep an eye on the bubbles around the side of the pot. Also, the custard should leave a thin coating on the back of a spoon when ready.
  5. Strain the custard through a mesh sieve to ensure any lumps are not included. Cover and refrigerate for at least four hours, if not overnight.
  6. When ready to make into ice cream, follow the directions for your ice cream machine. It should be thick and creamy, but it will not get hard in the machine. I like to pour it into a pan or loaf pan and cover with plastic wrap and stick in the freezer for at least 3 hours to reach a harder consistency before serving. This will help it not be soupy and be able to scoop.
  7. **Add in any mix-ins quickly after your are done making it in the ice cream machine. A dump of ingredients and quick stir is all you need.

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