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Is it necessary to cook eggs or make a custard when making homemade ice cream?

I recently bought an ice cream maker and have been enjoying experimenting with it. I have seen recipes that direct you to make a custard and then cool it prior to putting it into the ice cream maker, and others just blend everything together in a blender and pour it right into the ice cream maker. I’m not concerned about eating raw eggs, so will it work to take a recipe that has a cooked base and not cook it?

asked by ktr about 2 months ago

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7 answers 472 views
jonakocht
added about 2 months ago

I've never seen a recipe for ice cream that had raw eggs in it, do you mean an eggless ice cream base? Cooking the eggs (& sugar, etc) does more than just kill bacteria, but creates a thicker, richer base that better sets up and forms smaller ice crystals (better texture). I'd be very sceptical about a custard base that wasn't cooked beforehand. Both for safety and texture/flavour reasons.

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Smaug
added about 2 months ago

My crummy ice cream maker (well it was on sale and I had a gift certificate) came with some raw egg (and egg substitute) recipes - I haven't tried any of them but the proportions seem similar to custard type recipes (the basic vanilla is 4 oz. egg sub., 1c sugar, 1c half and half or milk, 2c heavy cream, 1 1/2tsp. vanilla). There are also, of course, a lot of egg free ice cream recipes.

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ktr
ktr
added about 2 months ago

Those proportions look similar to the recipe I'm looking at that calls for cooking the eggs, so I'm thinking I'll just give it a try. Worst case scenario, it doesn't work. I'll try it out one of these nights when I have time and report back.

Smaug
added about 2 months ago

Well, worst case would be salmonella, but we'll assume you have enough sense to smell your eggs. If you stick with your ice cream maker you'll probably find yourself doing a lot of just trying things- there are a lot of different approaches and not much consensus on what exactly you're going for- it can be fun, but you may end up eating a lot of not-really-ideal ice cream; at least I didn't find many recipes I didn't want to change the second time around.

ktr
ktr
added about 2 months ago

Haha, you are right about the salmonella. We have lots of farm fresh eggs and eat them raw in mayo and salad dressings routinely so I'm pretty comfortable with not cooking them.

Liz B
added about 2 months ago

There are plenty of ice creams that have no custard at all - that's just one variation. The best ice cream I ever made was strawberry - which consisted of strawberries, sugar and heavy cream. It froze beautifully and the taste was not to be believed.

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pierino
pierino

pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.

added about 2 months ago

If you are making gelato I would indeed leave the eggs out. You still have to warm the milk to dissolve the sugar.
It makes sense to add eggs to ice cream. But you have to temper the eggs by slowly working in the hot liquids into the beaten egg yolks gradually and whisking constantly, otherwise you will have scrambled eggs in your ice cream.