Pastry cream ice cream

Apricot – cassis ice cream

I’m absurdly excited about this! I feel like it’s a major culinary breakthrough! I’m sure that either people have been doing it for centuries, or there’s some reason they haven’t that I’ll discover eventually, but for now I have a new medium to explore. As I’m sure you’ll recall, on the last episode of As The Ordinary Turns, we made apricot cassis pastry cream to accompany a cake. Well, there was quite a bit left over, and the mad scientists of The Ordinary developed quite a fiendish gleam in their eye. They headed into the kitchens with their bowl of pastry cream, ready to hit it with their freeze ray!! I love ice cream, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It’s my favorite. My first and longest lasting job (to this day!) was as a soda jerk. I recall, back in those days, I noticed something interesting about the various brands of ice cream we carried at the ice cream parlor. Some turned nice and creamy and smooth as they melted, some melted into a weird sticky jelly-like substance. Since those days, I’ve made my own ice cream, many a time, and I’ve always had trouble making it thick and creamy. It always melts into something like milk. Well, here was a conundrum. How to thicken it without adding guar gum or carageenan or whatever else commercial companies add? A few months ago, when I discovered pastry cream, and developed a little admiring crush on the creamy substance, I began to ponder the possibility of freezing it. When you make ice cream, you generally start with a custard, and then you add unwhipped heavy cream. (At least that’s how I’ve always made it.) What is pastry cream but a thicker, more substantial custard? Why shouldn’t it freeze nicely? And why not lightly whip the cream before you add it, for an even creamier texture? So that’s what we did. It worked!! It’s thick and creamy. You can actually scoop it with an ice cream scoop, and it stays in a little ball!! I’ve never been able to do that with home made ice cream!! I use an old donvier ice cream maker, but I wonder how this would work on a more fancy one. I’ll have to try it some day and find out – there are so many different flavors to try!!

**update** We tried this again last night, but we didn’t whip the cream before we stirred it in (Malcolm’s suggestion). It might have turned out even creamier. If you whip the cream it’s like a frozen mousse, which is nice, but if you don’t, it might feel more like authentic ice cream. Nice both ways!

Here’s Ice Cream Man by Jonathan Richman.


1 1/2 cups milk
1/3 & 1/3 cups sugar
2 t vanilla
2 eggs
1 T flour
pinch salt

1 cup heavy cream

Warm the milk, 1/3 cup of the sugar and the vanilla over medium heat in a medium-sized saucepan. Combine the eggs, flour, salt and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a bowl, and whisk till light and frothy. Once the milk has tiny bubbles all around the rim, pour half of it in a thin stream into the eggs, whisking furiously the whole time. Then return everything to the pan, still whisking furiously. Keep cooking and whisking 5 – 10 minutes, till it gets nice and thick. You know it’s done when you tilt the pan and the mixture comes away cleanly from the bottom in patches.

Take it off the heat and pour it into a bowl.

Once it’s chilled, Whip one cup heavy cream until soft but thickened, and fold it into the custard.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.


13 thoughts on “Pastry cream ice cream

  1. do you think this will work with a pastry cream made with starch? (the starch mixture is boiled to cook the starch, then strained. because you’re boiling eggs). I’d love to try this with THAT recipe- to see if it works!

    I’m……very excited about the possibilities here.

    • I have to admit that I treated myself to a cuisinart electric ice cream maker for my birthday!! So I don’t always use the pastry cream method any more. But I still think it’s the best method to make a thick, creamy custard with no fear of curdling it, and that makes good ice cream!

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