The best ice cream is simply frozen custard. Egg yolks and cream make a very smooth, rich ice cream.
You can make ice cream without egg yolks and cream but then it wouldn’t be a sin; it would be frozen milk.
Here’s a tip: make just enough custardy ice cream to serve fresh—not to freeze for future serving (though you can). You will find that the tastiest ice cream has just come out of the ice cream maker (either hand crank or electric will work equally well) and not sat in a freezer at 0°F–like store-bought ice cream.
Just so you know, custard ice cream is called French ice cream. When you forgo the eggs you are making what is called Philadelphia-style ice cream which requires no cooking—that’s another story.
This recipe uses blackberries, but you could also use mulberries or raspberries (you do not need to heat raspberries as directed below). And you can use this recipe for other fruit ice creams: strawberry, plum, pear, peach, or nectarine. Remove the skin from plums, pears, peaches, and nectarines then purée the fruit before heating with sugar and a bit of water until soft in Step 1 below.
This recipe makes 5 cups of ice cream.
- 2 cups blackberries (reserve 1 cup more to add fresh fruit to the finished ice cream)
- ¾ cup of sugar
- 1 cup heavy or whipping cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 cup milk
Ice Cream Making Directions
1. Wash the blackberries and allow them to dry.
2. Place 2 cups of blackberries in a medium skillet and sprinkle over the berries ¼ cup of sugar. Turn the heat to medium and cook stirring with a wooden spatula. Cook until the fruit is tender. Cooking releases the full flavor of the berries. (Or you can combine the berries and sugar in a 2-quart microwave-safe casserole and cook at full power for 6 to 8 minutes.)
3. Taste for flavor; add more sugar or freshly squeezed lemon juice by the ½ teaspoon to balance the flavor as you like.
4. Refrigerate the berries for 1 hour or longer. Then drain before adding them to the custard (below Step 10).
5. Using a whisk or an electric mixer, cream the egg yolks with the remaining ½ cup sugar in a mixing bowl. Mix until thick and light. Set the mixture aside.
6. Combine the milk and cream mixture in a heavy-bottomed pot and cook over medium heat, uncovered, for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
7. With a whisk or using an electric mixer running on low speed, slowly add the heated milk and cream mixture to the egg mixture in the mixing bowl, stirring until smooth. Once smooth, return this custard mixture to the heavy-bottomed pot.
8. Whisking once a minute, cook until the custard is thick and coats the back of a spoon, about 2 minutes. Do not overcook it.
9. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature. Then refrigerate it, loosely covered, until chilled, a minimum of 3 hours.
10. Stir the reserved chilled berries into the custard, and freeze in an ice maker according to manufacturer’s directions or add some of the reserved berries as a topping at serving.
Serve the ice cream right away or you can chill it for a few to harden further. You can keep this ice cream on hand for a week, but the texture will suffer.
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