This recipe is more of a reminder than a unique way to make custard. A number of people recently remarked to me: “I sure do miss ice cream! If I could just have ice cream once in a while, I’d be able to follow this diet better!” Well, let’s go one step better: Let’s make custard!
I have yet to find a commercially produced ice cream or custard that I thought was truly healthy. Even the “no sugar added” ice cream brands are usually sweetened with sorbitol and maltitol that can still cause rises in blood sugar (as well as small LDL particles that lead to heart disease), not to mention gas and diarrhea–not the best choice after a romantic dinner!
Here’s a way to make your own thick, rich custard without sugar, sorbitol, maltitol, and without having to endure gas and diarrhea. Of course, if you have a dairy sensitivity in some form, or if you are among the people whose weight loss is stalled or prevented by dairy products (due to the insulinotrophic action of the whey fraction of protein in dairy products), then this recipe may not be a good idea, or should be reserved for rare occasions. (In future, I will post a recipe for a delicious non-dairy custard made with coconut milk for the dairy-sensitive; my wife is incredibly dairy intolerant, so we’ve been having to do this for some time in my house.)
You will need an ice cream maker. I purchased an electric one (Deni) from Target for $23 and it works wonderfully. The vanilla custard I made last evening at the request of the 14-year old was a snap.
There are a number of methods to generate the egg yolk-rich custard. I am a fan of simplicity, so I chose the process of making the custard from egg yolks over the stove (that I picked up from Maria Emmerich), followed by blending in the sweetener and the other ingredients. This approach may require a couple of tries to get the temperature and time just right. Even if not perfect, however, the end-product should still be quite edible and delicious!
The basic recipe can be altered in an unlimited number of ways, e.g., add 1 cup mixed fresh or frozen berries, 1 cup wild blueberries, dark chocolate chunks with or without peppermint extract, bing cherries, walnut fragments, etc. Using an inulin-based sweetener, such as the Trader Joe’s stevia, or Swerve, helps generate a custard that is smoother and defrosts to a softer texture when taken out of the refrigerator. Alternatively, a teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum can be used, but I’ve found this still allows the ice cream to acquire the hard consistency of ice when frozen.
Makes 6 servings
4 egg yolks (large or jumbo eggs)
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) heavy whipping cream, preferably organic
Sweetener equivalent to 1 cup sugar (I used the stevia + inulin mixture from Trader Joes, 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash ground nutmeg
Place eggs yolks in small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat. With electric or hand mixer, beat for several minutes until creamy while heating. Keep heat low enough that yolks do not scramble or coagulate but are warm to touch.
Blend in cream, stevia, and salt and blend until well-mixed.
Pour entire mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions. (My device required 25 minutes to convert to thick custard texture.)