Three Speeds of Ice Cream

French Vanilla Ice Cream

When I posted the tart cherry crepe recipe last week, I mentioned the luscious homemade ice cream that accompanied it. But real French-style ice cream, like what I had at The Washington Hotel, is a two-day process.

Since we all have different time tolerances, I present you with three vanilla ice cream recipes — one for every level of patience.

For the gourmet who plans ahead, the recipe below is courtesy of Leah Caplan, owner / chef at The Washington Hotel in Wisconsin. It’s a full-blown, proper, richer-than-Bill-Gates, custard-based French ice cream. The texture is pure silk and you won’t taste anything more decadent. If you can’t get fresh lemon balm, skip the infusion, but real cream, fresh eggs and a vanilla bean are essential.

For those who scream for ice cream and want it sooner than the day after tomorrow, I’ve posted a Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream on my blog. Slightly less creamy, this version takes much less time since it has no eggs. You still need to chill the cream base and churn, but if you have a hankering at lunch, you can enjoy fresh ice cream for dessert after dinner. To be decadent, I’m jazzing it up with a pecan brittle recipe that comes courtesy of Cheryl Sternman Rule, a food writer and recipe developer who could give up her day job to photograph food.

For those in a real rush, Cheryl has created a super-fast macadamia brittle ice cream. No ice cream maker required. How easy is that?

So pick an ice cream, any ice cream, grab a spoon and enjoy the frozen dessert of your choice.

Washington Hotel Lemon Balm Ice Cream
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cup heavy cream (35%)
  • 1 oz. corn syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 7 oz. sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 9 oz. fresh lemon balm leaves
  • 10 oz egg yolks
  1. Combine milk, cream, corn syrup, salt and half the sugar in a saucepan.
  2. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scape the seeds into the pan.
  3. Put the pod and lemon balm leaves into the milk mixture and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. As soon as the mixture boils, remove from heat. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.
  5. Gently strain the milk mixture through a coarse sieve to remove the pod and leaves.
  6. Reheat the strained mixture until it simmers.
  7. Blend yolks with the remaining sugar. Add 1/3 of the hot milk mixture gradually, whipping constantly.
  8. Mix the warmed egg yolks into the hot milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is 180F and coats the back of the spoon. This is important to kill any bacteria.
  9. Transfer to an ice bath and cool to 40F. Cover and refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.
  10. Make in ice cream maker according to manufacturer instructions.