Recipe: French Custard Ice Cream

french custard ice cream recipe

When my husband bought me an ice cream maker several years ago, we were both a lot thinner. But we also felt like slaves to store-bought ice cream. Do we like store-bought ice cream? Yes. Do we still eat store-bought ice cream? Yes.

However, it was a turning point in our lives when my husband bought some chocolate Haagan-Daz one day and found it to be unpalatable. Was it a carton past its prime? Nope. I’d spoiled him with my homemade Bittersweet Chocolate Ice Cream. (It’s really that yummy.) Here’s a basic recipe for a custard-based homemade ice cream. (You can see detailed photos here.)

French Custard Ice Cream Recipe

2 cups milk (whole or 2% work best)
2/3-3/4 cup white sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
5-8 egg yolks
2 cups very cold heavy cream
Vanilla to taste
Pinch of salt (optional — add at the end)

Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan (3 quart is a good size) until steam rises off the top and bubble form along the edge of the pan, but don’t let it boil.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until thick, homogeneous, and light yellow. The sugar will start to dissolve. You can also use a hand mixer for this. It will fall back on itself in ribbons when it’s been whisked enough.

Slowly pour a little of the hot milk into the eggs and sugar. Whisk. Pour the rest of the milk very slowly into the eggs and sugar while continuously whisking.

Pour back into the pan. Cook over low to medium heat until the custard registers 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer and is thickened.

Use a fine mesh sieve to strain custard into a clean bowl. Add the cold cream and stir in vanilla extract.

Refrigerate until very cold. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

Yields: approximately 1 1/2 quarts.

From there, the sky’s the limit.

You can add fresh fruit purees or juice. Add different extracts, such as almond. Add chocolate. Anything your little heart desires.

By the way, if you need an ice cream maker, these Cuisinart Ice Cream Makers can be found here for a great price and with customer reviews — along with other brands. But, might I suggest a Cuisinart? I adore mine. The Krups has gotten good reviews from America’s Test Kitchen. Kitchen Aid even makes a bowl attachment for their mixers. Like most ice cream makers these days, you just have to freeze the bowl. No more rock salt and ice.

P.S. — No churn, berry ripple cheesecake ice cream.


Credits: Photo and recipe by Lindsey Rose Johnson.

22 thoughts on “Recipe: French Custard Ice Cream”

  1. I just have the cheap-o ice cream freezer(s), but homemade ice cream is a family tradition around my house. Unfortunately not as much as it was around my childhood home. I lived on a small farm so we would save the best cream off the week’s milk and we had homemade ice cream almost every Sunday night. That would give you a heart attack in this day and age, but oh those were the days!

    Once again–the guest mom posts are fabulous!

  2. I just went through the tutorial on Just Recipes. It’s so good!! I had to steal a couple more (gorgeous) photos to add to this post. . .

    Happy Birthday!! And thanks for staying up all night so Design Mom Readers could have such a wonderful post to read.

  3. Happy Birthday to Lindsey!!! What a great post for your birthday, I can attest that Lindsey’s ice cream is out of this world, good. Actually everything Lindsey makes is out of this world good! Hope you have a great day. Loved the tutorial, thank you thank you!

  4. mmmmm. that sounds so good. I think an ice cream maker is like cable tv or a walk-in closet. I don’t NEED one, but now i can’t ever go back to normal sized closets.

  5. Happy Birthday Linds!!! What a great post! I am going right to the tutotial. I love when you do that!

    This is a fun post for me because when I was little my Granpa used to make us homemade icecream for all the family picnics and things. It was NOT low fat, but it was really, really delish! This brings back lots of fun memories. :)

  6. Happy Birthday Lindsey!!

    Fred is ONE lucky husband!

    I have a nice ice cream maker, but of course it hasn’t been used to its full potential yet. Your ice cream is HEAVENLY! One day I’ll make it again … for a very special occasion. Your posts are captivating!

  7. lindsey… promise I’m not stalking you! happy birthday! also, I explored your just recipes site and I LOVE it. thank you for sharing! (the cake decorating 101 rules)

  8. Me too, I love the Just Recipies site…

    A friend of mine gave us a cheap-o ice cream maker she had gotten for her wedding and never used. We used it so much it broke!! We love doing ice cream… I can’t wait to try your recipies. Last summer we discovered the Truffles from Costco that taste AMAZING in home made ice cream….

    You are the women! GREAT post and Happy Birthday…

  9. yum yum yum! Summer is just around the corner, and this has definitely put me in the mood. There is nothing better than home made ice cream… it just has this certain quality. It sounds like I’m going to have to check out the recipe blog… nothing but rave reviews. Yeah! I love recipes. The trick is actually getting around to trying them out.

  10. I have NEVER made my own ice cream. I’m totally tempted to hunt for a super price on a maker now! First cupcakes, now ice cream…linds you are encouraging my sweet tooth way too much!

  11. Homemade ice cream is tradition in my family-I remember my great grandpa making it, then my grandpa, and now my dad. Last year for Father’s Day, my parent got Grandpa one of those makers you pictured. It was the BEST gift ever-for him and us. Every week when we visit, he’s made something new. The great thing about the Cuisinart is that you can add all sorts of stuff, even near the end of the freezing time. More fruit, less fruit, more chocolate, more peanut butter . . . you get the idea! Heaven!

  12. Wow! Thanks for all the great comments and birthday wishes!

    Liz S.–you really do NEED one. And since I read your blog, I know you cook. Everyone needs one of those.

    Jane–I’m going to post the recipe for the chocolate ice cream as soon as I can.

  13. Making ice cream at home is a great way to get the whole family involved!

    While the higher-end “set it and forget it” type makers are great, there are others that let everyone have a hand in making the ice cream.

    Take the Play & Freeze ice cream ball for example. You can still use your fantastic recipes and then your kids can do the work — shaking and rolling the ball to freeze the ice cream.

    In the end everyone wins!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top