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Icy Ice Cream?

I just made french vanilla ice cream in a Donvier. While the flavor was good, the ice cream was icy. Could it be technique, recipe or just the Donvier? Any suggestions? Thanks! I made this french vanilla:

French Vanilla Ice Cream
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups light cream
2 cups milk
2 tsp vanilla

Beat eggs and milk together in a large sauce-pan. Add sugar. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until thickened. Mixture should smoothly coat the spoon. Cool, then add cream and vanilla. Refrigerate overnight.

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  1. By icy do you mean there are large ice crystals in the ice cream?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Elizzie

      Icy like it didn't have a creamy consistency. It's as if you took ice cream out of the freezer, let it melt some and then put it back in.

    2. I had that happen once when I overcooked the custard--it got too thick as it cooled and when I went to put it in the ice cream maker (I have the Kitchen Aid attachment) it didn't "churn" as well as the thinner batch I'd made previously.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Elizzie

        How thick? That might be it. It did get much thicker as it cooled, though it was still pourable. Thicker than ice cream would be if I left it out and let it melt. But, adding the cream thinned it out considerably, to the consistency of melted ice cream.

      2. It got as thick as...well, pudding. It tasted great, but there were definitely ice crystals throughout. The next time I made it I didn't let it get as thick nor did I let it chill overnight, I just chilled it for 3 hours--that time there were no ice crystals.
        I just got my ice cream maker at Christmas but I've already made 10 batches of ice cream...

        1 Reply
        1. re: Elizzie

          I'll do it again, and cook it less next time. Thanks for your help! I was ready to get rid of the Donvier when it was user error.:-)

        2. Let me know how it turns out--I'm really having fun exploring the whole world of ice cream making.

          1. I think there are a couple of reasons why you can icy ice cream. One, is whether the custard was done properly. Sounds like yours was pretty good, actually. Be careful not to over cook it or it will get eggy. But, undercooking also has problems. If you undercook it, that means it doesn't build up whatever majoc it needs (scientific term) to allow for a creamy ice cream. I HIGHLY recommend a thermometer for this if you have one. You are shooting for your custard to get up to, but not above 175. If you get up there slowly, you'll be fine. Strain it through a fine mesh strainer and it will work out well.

            There are a few other things too that can contribute to iciness. One, you can try using heavy cream instead of light. That will help the creaminess of it.

            Underchurning can also lead to some iciness. Of course, overchurning has it's own problems too, but if you don't churn enough, then you can get icy, rock hard ice cream.

            As has been mentioned a few times on these boards, guar or xanthum gum can be added in very small amounts to boost the creaminess to. Essentially, they inhibit the growth of ice crystals. I sprinkle in less than 1/4 tsp at the beginning of making a custard. It's awesome.

            Finally, if the freezer bowl wasn't really cold enough, then it can mean it doesn't have enough freezing power to actually churn while freezing the cream. That too can lead to too much crystalization.

            Good luck and keep on trying.

            2 Replies
            1. re: adamclyde

              you know, another thing about technique. I know others don't do this and still find good results, but I think there is something to it.... you may want to try this next time and see if it helps.

              First, reserve about 1/4 cup of the sugar and whisk it together with the eggs. I usually use only yolks, but the same applies... whisk it until the sugar dissolves and you get a really creamy, slightly thickened mixture. (called ribboning, because you do it until you see trails from the whisk in the mixture that look like ribbons).

              Meanwhile, heat the cream, milk and remaining sugar until it reaches 185 (scalding, not boiling). Take it off the heat and start to temper the eggs (while whisking the egg mixture, drizzle in some of the hot milk/cream, spoonful by spoonfull. This heats the egg mixture up without getting it too hot and cooking the eggs. Once you've whisked in about 1/4 cup or so of the hot cream into the eggs, go ahead and put the whole egg mixture back into the pot with the cream, whisking constantly. Turn the heat back on quite low, and heat it, stirring very frequently, until 175. Then strain it into a bowl and chill it.

              Why go through that hoopla? Well, I think there are a couple of reasons. First, it ensures the custard is cooked properly. Second, heating the milk to 185 ensures those enzymes or proteins or whatever they are are broken down, which will help reduce ice crystallization.

              Third, well, it's the classic way to make a creme anglais and I figure the french were doing that way because they knew what they were talking about. Or maybe just out of habit. Either way, it works well for me.

              1. re: adamclyde

                Great hints--thanks so much. Maybe the cream was an issue, too, now that I think about it. I have 2%milk, half and half and heavy cream so used a mix of 2% and half and half for the whole milk and a mix of the half and half w/ heavy for the light cream. Next time, I'll go w/ all heavy. Great idea w/ doing it more like a creme anglais. I have a thermometer, will have to do it more precise. Thanks again!

            2. adamclyde, good point about the perils of undercooking the custard and underchurning.