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Aug 3, 2005 05:32 PM

Getting ice cream right- eggs, milk and cream

  • c

I'm headed to the farmer's market for peaches this weekend and its time for ice cream. I've been struggling a bit with the recipes, though. What is the best ratio of milk to cream to eggs to yolks for a super rich and super creamy ice cream? The recipes I've been using call for a custard, which is fine, but the problem has been a product that seems a little too gummy and not quite as smooth as I would like.

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  1. I wish there was an easy pat answer to this, but true ice cream perfection takes a bit of tinkering. There are many variables to getting it "right", especially when what's creamy and perfect for one person is too rich or eggy for another.

    That said, I'm finding that I generally like the following ratios:

    one part whole milk
    one part heavy cream
    ie, half and half

    one egg yolk per cup of half and half
    scant 1/4 c. sugar per cup of half and half

    When you throw in fruit, that changes everything though. Find a recipe specifically for peach ice cream. I made a Philly-style (eggless, uncooked) peach ice cream that I enjoyed but didn't knock my socks off since I like cooked custard bases better. Good luck and please report back to add to our collective research on ice cream!

    1 Reply
    1. re: Carb Lover

      PS. If you want it nice and rich, then you should use at least 5 yolks per quart of custard.

    2. b
      babette feasts

      Here's a recipe from my files:

      2 c. cream
      1 c. milk
      7 egg yolks
      1 c. sugar
      pinch salt
      vanilla extract or bean

      1. Not exactly sure what you mean by "gummy," but I tend to like rich and smooth and creamy. So just to completely confuse you, here is Lindsey Shere's recipe from Chez Panisse:

        Peach Ice Cream

        1 1/2 C heavy cream
        1/2 C + 1/4 C sugar
        3 egg yolks
        1 lb very ripe, good-flavored peaches
        vanilla extract to taste

        Warm the cream and 1/2 C sugar until sugar dissolves, stirring to combine. Whisk the yolks and temper in some of the hot cream. Return the mixture to the pan and cook to custard (anglaise) . Strain immediately and chill.

        When you're ready to freeze the ice cream, blanch, peel and pit peaches and slice thinly into a bowl. Toss with remaining 1/4 C sugar and let stand an hour or so until sugar is absorbed. Crush peaches, but don't puree. Avoid large chunks of peach, which will freeze hard and ruin the texture, but you do want little pieces instead of a puree. There should be about 1 1/2 C of peaches and their juices. Mix this with custard and add vanilla extract to taste. Freeze in ice cream maker. This makes about a quart.

        1. if you want a more scientific basis of understanding of how the ingredients relate to each other, the link below provides that.

          you might also want to do a side-by-side test of custard and non-custard based ice cream, since they're very different.

          gelato recipes tend to use only milk (no cream) but lots of egg yolks as an emulsifier. one basic ratio for sweet cream gelato (prepared custard-style) is:

          1 quart whole milk
          1 cup sugar
          10 egg yolks

          however the ratios change when you move away from a sweet cream / vanilla base.


          1 Reply
          1. re: cornflower

            Thanks for the link; it was very helpful. FYI: I recently read in a gelato recipe book that whole milk in Europe has more fat than US whole milk (at least a 1% difference), so if using US milk, it can be better to add a little heavy cream. Wow, 10 egg yolks is alot, but I'm sure it's decadent!