Sunday, April 7, 2024

Ice Cream Recipe Review: David Lebovitz's Vanilla Ice Cream, French Vanilla

 “Vanilla Ice Cream,” on page 28 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 uses 6 egg yolks, which is on the high end, but no sweet syrup, nor texture agent such as corn starch or tapioca flour.  It still turned out well.

I tried out a technique I read about at Serious Eats - I added all of the ingredients except for the vanilla extract into the pan, turned on the heat, and whisking regularly (not quite constantly), I brought the mixture to 165F (74C), when it began to thicken.  I removed from the heat, added the vanilla extract, then chilled the custard.  It turned out perfectly, and was far less work than the typical method.

I prefer vanilla beans from Vanilla Bean Kings, but I'm still using up existing stock of vanilla beans (in this case from Penzey's), and I used vanilla crush extract from Sonoma Syrups, which is an excellent extract.

Substitutions and Techniques:

  • Turbinado sugar instead of white sugar (always) as I prefer the flavor.
  • With the exception of the vanilla extract, I put all of the cold ingredients (including the egg yolks) into a pan at once, and whisked regularly until it began to thicken.
  • The recipe directs you to pour the custard through a sieve into the vanilla-infused milk before chilling. I ommitted that step which is only really necessary if you scramble the egg yolks.


  • Same day: The soft-serve stage is silky smooth and the vanilla flavor is great.  I got more overrun than usual (beating more air into the ice cream), so the soft-serve phase was a little less dense than I like.
  • Next day: The flavor and texture are excellent. I definitely prefer the strong vanilla flavor that combining beans and extract provides. The texture is perfectly smooth, and it's not frozen too hard.


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