Recipe: Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

I got a bee in my bonnet about having some creme fraiche ice cream to go with all the good fruit and pies we’ve been having, and that’s not something they have in the freezer aisle at the store. So I got out my eggs, cream, milk, sugar and, yes, creme fraiche and got to work.

Luckily, I had just received a lovely copy of Ciao Bella’s Book of Gelatos and Sorbets, so I had a recipe I was pretty sure was going to be delicious. The bonus is that it was also very, very easy. I got out my ingredients for the ice cream base:

Pretty darn local, too. Hudson Valley milk and eggs.

Start with egg yolks:

And add 2/3 cup sugar:

Whisk until it’s light and creamy:

Prepare an ice bath for when you’re done:

Put your milk and cream in a pot (whoops, no photo) and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 170.

Once it’s there, pour a little bit of hot milk/cream into the egg mixture to temper it. Mix that in and then very slowly add the rest of the milk/cream:

Put this back into the saucepan and heat until it’s 185.

You want it to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon:

Once it gets to be 185 — don’t let it boil! — strain it through a sieve into the bowl in the ice water:

Stir to chill this quickly, then put it in the fridge for at least four hours to get very, very cold:

Now you can add your creme fraiche. Whisk it first:

Then whisk the base and the creme fraiche together.

Put it in your ice cream maker and churn:

Then put in an airtight container and freeze! Serve with any kind of fruit, pies, crumbles, cobblers or slumps. Delishy!

Creme Fraiche Gelato

You can use this plain base recipe to make many gelato flavors, including fruit, herb or other.

Plain base

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar

Prepare an ice bath by placing a large glass bowl inside a larger stainless or glass bowl filled with ice water. Get out your strainer.

In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combine the milk and cream. Place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170 F.

Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof  bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185. Do not bring to a boil.

Pour the mixture through the sieve into a bowl in an ice bath. Let cool to room temperature, stirring and whisking occasionally. Once completely cool, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or overnight.

For creme fraiche:
1 3/4 cups creme fraiche
(or make your own by combining 1 1/2 cups heavy cream and 1/4 cup buttermilk. Cover loosely and set aside at room temperature overnight, or until thickened to the consistency of thick cream, slightly thinner than sour cream. Stir the mixture, then cover loosely again and refrigerate until cold, at least 2 hours or overnight)

To make creme fraiche gelato, combine the creme fraiche with the base. Pour the mixture into a container of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.

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