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Friday, September 16, 2005

Sugar High Friday: Vanilla Crème Fraîche Ice Cream


This is my first time at this party, Sugar High Friday: Cooking up custard. There are so many memes these days, I would have to be really diligent to do them all. Even though diligence is a virtue I have in rather short supply, I had to do this one, and not the least because Elise kindly gave me a jar of homemade Apple Butter when we met. You see where I'm going here: give me things and I will be nice to you. Ha.

Well, not really. I adore custard, and I happen to have a recipe that I worked out all on my ownsome. So why not show off? I'm not just a pair of pretty shoes, you know?

I have a recipe for crème fraîche ice cream. Ice cream, as you probably know, is basically frozen custard, comprising mainly of eggs, cream, and sugar. This particular one came about because I was frustrated by overly sweet vanilla ice cream that I saw everywhere. I love crème fraîche, and thought that replacing some of the cream with tangy crème fraîche would help make things a little less sweet. I began experimenting with different recipes, and ended up with this one that I thought worked the best. It's my basic vanilla ice cream recipe now. I love it, try it and let me know what you think.

And you know what, if you didn't have an ice cream maker, you could make this custard and serve it in a pitcher to accompany your crumbles, tarts, or pies. That's plate licking good too.

Pim's Vanilla Crème Fraîche Ice Cream

100 cl. (about 33 oz.) whole milk (or cream, as you wish)
1 vanilla pod
10 egg yolks (room temperature)
180 g. sugar
350 g. crème fraîche (12 oz.)
a pinch of salt

1. Heat up the milk with the vanilla pod, sliced lengthwise and the seeds scraped into the milk. Let the milk come to a gentle boil. Then turn the heat off and let the vanilla infused for about 10-15 minutes. You can skip this wait if you are in a rush.

2. Whip up the yolks with the sugar.

3. Pour the warm milk into the yolk/sugar mixture, taking care to temper the yolk mixture first with a little bit of the warm milk before you pour the whole thing. This is especially important if you didn't have time to wait for the milk to infuse with the vanilla and cool off a bit first before adding to the egg.

4. Add the crème fraîche and a pinch of salt and whip everything together with a whisk until well mixed.

5. Pour the mixture back into a pot, and heat gently, stirring vigorously and continuously, until the custard mixture coat the back of the spoon or, if you have a candy thermometer it should register between 170-190 F, or 75-95 C. If you let the custard heat up to about 200F or 100C, the egg will curdle. Any lower than 160F or 70C the resulting ice cream would not have a good texture. But, unless you are just as obsessive compulsive as I am, the old coating the back of the spoon trick would do just fine—as in, when you drag the tip of a finger across the back of a wooden spoon, you should clearly see the trail of your finger on the back of said spoon, which means that the mixture is thick enough that the trail remains in place. That's when your custard is ready.

6. Pour the custard into another bowl immediately. You can strain it if you'd like, or if you're lazy just fish out the large pieces of vanilla pod. It will help if you put the bowl of custard on top of another larger bowl filled with ice and water to cool off the cream mixture and prevent it from overcooking from the residual heat.

7. Let the cream mixture cool of for a half hour or so in the fridge before putting it in the ice cream maker.


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