Basic Custard Base for Ice Cream

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| Servings: 1 to 1 ½ quarts

This basic custard base is my adaption of the blank slate custard ice cream as proposed by Dana Cree the author of “Hello, My Name is Ice Cream: The Art and Science of the Scoop“. Her book, which I strongly recommend, provides a lot of the science and reasoning as to why this base is so creaming and non-icy. You use this ice cream base any time you are flavoring your ice cream with deep, rich flavors like vanilla beans, whole spices, black teas, dark sugars, caramels, licorice and brown liquors.


  • Cream (30%) 300g | 1 ½ cups
  • Milk (40%) 400g | 2 cups – alternatively (my recommendation) use 3 tablespoons of powdered milk mixed into the sugar and only 300g | 1 ½ cups of milk
  • Glucose syrup (5%) 50g | ¼ cup
  • Sugar (15%) 150g | ¾ cup
  • Egg yolks (10%) 100g | about 5 large yolks
  • Cornstarch 10g | 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon, mixed with 20g | 2 tablespoons of cold milk (This is my texture agent of choice)


  1. Prepare an ice bath. Fill a large bowl two-thirds of the way with very icy ice water and place it in the refrigerator.
  2. Boil the dairy and sugars. Put the cream, milk, glucose, and sugar (with the powdered milk if you are using my alternative) in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, and place it over medium-high heat. Cook, whisking occasionally to discourage the milk from scorching, until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Whisk into the simmering dairy the cornstarch mixture and then cook for 1 minute.  Then remove the pot from heat.
  3. Temper the yolks and cook the custard. In a medium bowl, whisk the yolks. Add ½ cup of the hot dairy mixture to the yolks while whisking so the hot milk doesn’t scramble the yolks. Pour the tempered yolks back into the pot of hot milk while whisking. Place the pot over medium-low heat and cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pot constantly with a rubber spatula to avoid curdling.
  4. Chill. When you notice the custard thickening, or the temperature reaches 180°F on a kitchen thermometer, immediately pour the custard into a shallow metal or glass bowl. Nest the hot bowl into the ice bath, stirring occasionally until it cools down.
  5. Strain. When the custard is cool to the touch (50°F or below) strain it through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any bits of egg yolk. (This step is optional, but will help ensure the smoothest ice cream possible. )
  6. Cure. Transfer the cooled base to the refrigerator to cure for 4 hours, or preferably overnight. (This step is also optional, but the texture will be much improved with it.)
  7. Churn. Place the base into the bow] of an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. The ice cream is ready when it thickens into the texture of soft-serve ice cream and holds its shape, typically 20 to 30 minutes.
  8. Harden. To freeze your custard ice cream in the American hard-pack style, immediately transfer it to a container with an airtight lid. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface of the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming, cover, and store it in your freezer until it hardens completely, between 4 and 12 hours. Or, feel free to enjoy your ice cream immediately; the texture will be similar to soft-serve.


I have one further recommendation if you truly want to have creamy ice cream and that is to use some cream cheese as a further texturing agent. If you do, please following the following changes.

Changes to Ingredients

Replace 5% (50g | ¼ cup) of the milk with an equal amount of soft cream cheese.

Cut and temper the cream cheese. The the cream cheese into 1 inch pieces and place in a large bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and allow it to come to room temperature.

Mix in the cream cheese. When the base is cool to the touch after Chill – step 4 (50°F or below), whisk in the softened cream cheese. Transfer to a blender and blend on medium-high speed for 1 minute, until very smooth. Then continue with the Strain – step 5 using a rubber spatula to push any unincorporated lumps of cream cheese through the strainer, then scrape the bottom side of the strainer to collect any cream cheese that has accumulated there, whisking it back into the base. Then continue with the Cure – step 6.