Loki's Favorite French Vanilla Ice Cream

Cold mutes flavor. Quality shines.

My husband is the official “cat whisperer” of the family. Our cats, current and past, have been cosseted to a degree that many would claim to be obsessive. However, yesterday I found myself in full Cat Lady mode when I remarked that our Vienna Mocha ice cream container was almost empty. As I pondered the choices for the next flavor to make I exclaimed, “Loki’s favorite!”. To translate, that’s French Vanilla for you non-cat people. Although he’ll eat a little nibble (more if we let him), of almost any flavor, FV is by far his favorite.

I turned to my frozen treats guru yet again, David Lebovitz, and used his Vanilla Ice Cream recipe. He uses both vanilla bean and vanilla extract, which I appreciate as this saturates the cream with rich vanilla. They have different flavors. As I’ve said before regarding ice cream, use the best quality ingredients you can since cold mutes flavor, and quality shines.

I use Costco Pure Vanilla Extract. The Kitchn says: “While the aroma and flavor aren’t nearly as nuanced as the Neilsen-Massey, the Costco Pure Vanilla Extract has a rich caramel and floral aroma.” For the bean, a lovely Penzey’s Madagascar “regarded as the world’s best”. To read about the four types of vanilla beans, Food & Wine has you covered. And for the discriminating, Spoon University explains the difference between vanilla and French Vanilla.

Even though this pod steeped for an hour in the warm milk mixture, then was cooked in the custard, and stored in the fridge overnight, it still had life left. A good bean. A quick rinse and it went into an airtight container with granulated sugar for use in some cookie baking at a later date.


Makes 1 1/2 quarts


2 cup heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

6 egg yolks, lightly whisked

Pinch of salt

1 cup sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise


Heat the milk, sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat. Don’t allow it to boil, just bring to a nice simmer.

Scrape the seeds of the vanilla pod into the pan, then add the pod.

Stir, cover, remove from heat.

Steep for an hour.

Pour eggs into a medium mixing bowl.

Set up a large bowl in an ice bath. Set a fine mesh strainer over the top of the bowl.

Reheat the milk mixture on medium. Pour a little over the yolks to temper them.

Add the eggs back into the saucepan, stirring constantly.

Simmer until it reaches 170º-175º.

Pour cream through the mesh strainer.

Pour the custard through the mesh strainer into the cream.

Stir thoroughly and add the vanilla pod into the mixture.

Add the vanilla extract.

Keep stirring to cool the mixture down for 5-10 minutes.

You can leave it in the bowl, or put it in a large plastic container. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Remove the mix from the fridge

Fish out the vanilla pod, rinse gently, place in an airtight container with granulated sugar for future deliciousness.

Churn the cold custard according to your ice cream maker’s specifications.

Place in airtight plastic containers.

Freeze for at least 4 hours before serving, overnight is best.

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