Monday, March 25, 2024

Ice Cream Recipe Review: David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia Style

“Vanilla Ice Cream, Philadelphia Style” on page 29 of The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz.

  • The online recipe can be found here
  • My other vanilla ice cream reviews can be found here.

This ice cream recipe doesn't have a sweet syrup, nor a texture agent, so I'm guessing it will freeze harder, and be less smooth.  It also doesn't have eggs, so it doesn't thicken prior to churning, which made it VERY easy and fast to get it into the churn.

I mostly followed the recipe as written, though I put all of the dairy in the saucepan (instead of reserving some), and brought the mixture to a full simmer.

The recipe calls for both a vanilla bean and vanilla extract, so the vanilla flavor is nice and strong.  When I develop my own recipe, I'm planning to use both.

 I prefer vanilla beans from Vanilla Bean Kings which are by far my favorites, but I needed to use up old stock, and so used a vanilla bean from Penzey's (which was perfectly fine). I also used Nielsen-Massey Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract which merely OK (it's better than most regular grocery-store brands, but I've since found much better extracts) so I'm trying to use it up too.

The flavor out of the churn was very good, but it was less complex than I'd like and definitely less rich (I really do prefer egg-based custards for vanilla ice cream), and I think Jeni's vanilla recipe is a better egg-free vanilla).  I think the lack of cooking (other recipes call for boiling the dairy, sometimes for as long as 4 minutes) means less caramelization of the milk sugars or something.

Substitutions and Techniques:

  • Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar (always) as I prefer the flavor.
  • I put all of the dairy (instead of just 1 cup of the cream) in the saucepan. I also brought it to a full simmer (instead of removing it from the heat as soon as the sugar is dissolved).


  • Same day: The soft-serve stage is smooth and the vanilla flavor is great, but the flavor is thinner somehow, and less rich even than other eggless custards.  I wonder if the lack of cooking caused this?
  • Next day: I definitely prefer the strong vanilla flavor that this recipe provides. However, the texture is definitely not as smooth as other recipes I've tried, both with or without eggs. It's even slightly icy.  Thus far, this is my least favorite philly-style vanilla.


  • I turned the ice cream into chocolate-chip raspberry ripple ice cream by stirring homemade chocolate chips (do NOT use plain old chocolate chips - they will be hard, waxy, and flavorless because they are not intended for ice cream) into the ice cream, and then when I packed the freshly churned ice cream before putting it into the freezer, I alternated layers of raspberry ripple (Jeni's recipe) with the chocolate-chip ice cream. 

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