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Ice cream comes in two basic styles: Custard (or French custard-style) and Philadelphia (also called “New York” or “American“).

Unlike custards, Philadelphia-style ice cream contains no egg yolks and does not require cooking. It’s based purely on cream and sugar, and is very delicate-tasting, with few ingredients

Custard Ice Cream

Custard ice cream is, as the name suggests, made from a custard base. Egg yolks or whole eggs are whisked together with hot milk or cream and sugar, and cooked gently until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Egg yolks are natural emulsifiers, and the resulting custard makes an ice cream that is remarkably smooth and rich. Chill the custard for at least one hour before freezing.

Adding Flavour

 Starting from a simple base of cream, milk, eggs, and sugar, and then mix in ripe summer fruits, chocolate, and toasted nuts to create your own flavor combos. Other good choices? Vanilla beans, lavender, green tea, fresh peppermint, and candied ginger.

  • To get the most flavor from a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise with a sharp knife and scrape the seeds into the milk.
  • After the bean has steeped, remove the pod and rinse in cold water and pat dry.
  • “Used” vanilla beans are still powerfully aromatic, and can be stored in a canister of plain granulated sugar to make vanilla sugar.
  • Infuse herbs and spices into the mixture as you heat the milk.
  • Extracts, liqueurs, and flavoring oils (citrus, peppermint, cinnamon) should be added after the custard has cooled slightly.
  • Add perfectly ripe fruits and berries to your ice cream base: sprinkle fruit with sugar and crush it with a potato masher before mixing it in. This adds much more flavor than plain chunks of fruit stirred into the mix.
  • To add nuts, chocolate, crumbled cookies, or whole berries, let the ice cream reach the consistency of soft-serve, and then stir in the garnishes; pack in airtight containers and freeze until firm.

Ripening and Storing

When the mixture has thickened and is hard to stir, remove it from the ice cream maker and transfer it to a freezer container. If you can resist the urge to devour it while it’s still in this “soft-serve” stage, let it harden in the coldest part of your freezer for several hours or overnight. Your patience will be rewarded.

Tip: To keep your ice cream from becoming super-hard in the freezer, make sure both the ice cream maker and the mixture are kept ice cold as you’re making the ice cream.

Store leftover ice cream in an airtight container with a layer of plastic wrap pressed onto the surface to prevent it from absorbing odors.

Homemade Milk Ice Cream


 1 pint (usually a half recipe) of ice cream mix, well chilled
Easy Ice Cream Mix Options:

  •  Ice cream base with Eggs and Cream
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk Ice Cream Base


Very large mixing bowl or stockpot
Small 1-quart bowl
Chopped ice
3/4 cup rock salt or kosher salt
Electric hand mixer OR whisk

 How to make

1. Fill the large bowl about halfway with ice. Stir in 3/4 cup rock salt.

2. Nestle the smaller bowl in the ice. Try to get almost completely buried in the ice. Fill the smaller bowl halfway with ice cream mix (use at most 1 pint of mix).

3. Use the hand mixer to beat the mix for 10 minutes. You may find it helpful to half cover the bowl with a towel, to help prevent spattering. The mix should get very cold to the touch, although it will probably not start transforming into actual ice cream. (Note: If you don’t have a hand mixer, then you can use a whisk, but you will need to whisk for at least 15 minutes. Great upper arm workout!)

After you have aerated and chilled the mix for about 10 minutes, cover with a towel and place the entire set of nested bowls — large and small — in the freezer. Freeze for 45 minutes.

4. Remove the bowls from the freezer. Draw a spoon across the top of the ice cream mix. It’s probably the consistency of loose pudding, especially on top.

5. Mix again with the hand mixer for 5 minutes. At this point the mixture should be the texture of soft-serve ice cream.

6. Remove the small bowl from the large bowl, and cover the top with plastic wrap touching the surface of the ice cream. Freeze for an additional two hours, or overnight, before serving.

• Remember, as always with homemade ice cream: The more fat in the ice cream, the creamier it will be, regardless of churning method. A custard ice cream with all cream and egg yolks will turn out less icy than a milk-based mix. I actually used a milk-based mix here (2 cups milk, 1 cup cream) and while this is more to my taste, it definitely turned out a little icier than a more fatty mix would have.
• On ice: I used about 6 standard-sized ice cube trays (72 ice cubes, smashed up a bit in a bag beforehand) to fill my big bowl.