Published July 1, 1993.
The very best ice cream is made with egg yolks, but, for optimum flavor, cut back on the cream and sugar.
The ingredients for making vanilla ice cream could not be simpler--cream, milk, sugar, vanilla, and sometimes eggs. The results, however, vary greatly depending on each ingredient and the techniques used.
We wanted to make the very best homemade vanilla ice cream, and so we made dozens of batches, varying each individual ingredient, until we arrived at the best.
Early in the testing process it became apparent that "French vanilla," made with a custard base relying on egg yolks, far surpasses "Philadelphia-style" vanilla, made without eggs. In texture as well as flavor, the French version simply had far more of the richness and creaminess that we look for in ice cream. Although five or six eggs delivered an excellent texture, we found that the egg flavor became too pronounced. Four egg yolks gave the ice cream the appropriate silkiness. As for cream, we liked an equal amount of heavy cream and whole milk. Besides adding sweetness, we found sugar gives ice cream a smoother, softer, more "scoopable" end product. This is because the sugar both reduces the number and size of ice crystals and lowers the freezing temperature of the mixture so that you can beat the mixture longer, incorporating more air into the ice cream, before it freezes. We also macerated the strawberries with vodka, whose anti-freezing properties kept the ice cream base from freezing solid.list of recipes