Butter Queen Vanilla (vanilla with quality butter)
Vanilla … they say that everyone needs a good vanilla ice cream recipe, and who can argue about that? But why settle for just one recipe? This time, we are going to deviate from the normal custard-route and take a look at a special French variety – not made with cream but with the finest butter a happy French cow can offer!
Vanilla is a fascinating flavour, and I have written about it before. Some of you might perhaps consider the very idea of vanilla ice cream to be too common/plain/ boring for you, but then you probably haven’t had a really good vanilla ice cream yet. Real vanilla can be one of the most marvellous ice cream flavours there is!
Avid readers may already have come across a number of different vanilla recipes here on the site … but there is always time to test a new one, right?
Our new base, or Why use cream when you can use quality butter?
Some time ago, I came across an old French dessert cookbook (by a certain Jean-Claude Vignaud) in a second-hand bookstore. The recipe – where quality butter was used instead of cream – caught my interest, and I decided to give it a go!
It took some efforts, but I even managed to secure a casket of the truly exclusive French butter produced in the small region of Echiré. This highly lauded “Queen of the butters” is not only hailed as great-tasting and generally fantastic, but also contains somewhat more butterfat than normal, and has a higher melting point (if you want to read more about how fabulous Echiré butter is, follow the link).
But what if you don’t have access to the best butter France can offer? Could the ice cream be made also with other good butter? I decided to test, and chose another unsalted French quality-brand (arguably not as famous as Echiré, but still …) I can report that the results were very convincing: one of my young testers exclaimed that it was the best ice cream she had had in her whole life!
In other words – go with the best butter you can find, and it will probably work out nicely anyway!
The buttery twist – How to do it!
In short, the base is essentially a custard one, but made with butter instead of cream.
Mix the dairy (only milk this time, though!) with eggs and sugar, add the vanilla and bring to a simmering heat. Continue until the base has reached a temperature of about 82-84º Celsius (189-183 ºF); the point when the base should have gotten to the so-called nappe stage, and the mix should be pasteurised.
Now, according to the recipe, the base should be given some time to cool down before the butter is added. To be honest, I do not know if this really is necessary. Butter-fanatics, however, might perhaps claim that melting the butter in more elevated temperatures would detract from its glorious flavour qualities …
Right or wrong, I impatiently let the base cool down to about 50º C (122º F) before I added the pieces of my luxurious butter and whisked until they had melted and disbursed.
In order to avoid that the butter molecules would start to lump together again in the base, the recipe ordained that the base only should be cooled down, not chilled, before churning: once the butter has been melted, churning should commence as soon as possible. Churning a less than chilled-base will usually mean that the churning will take a longer time, which typically is a bad thing when making ice cream. However, this time, we will be doing it for a good cause!
Butter queen vanilla – a refined royalty
Did you think that butter would make the ice cream taste “fatter” than usual? Or “buttery”? Well, think again! To my surprise, this very nice vanilla proved to be delicate, elegant and rather light in character. And as expressed by one of my enthusiastic young testers: “the best ice cream I have had in my whole life!”
The Butter Queen Vanilla is a treat not only for us vanilla-lovers but for anyone who likes good ice cream! Did I mention that the texture and consistency also are great, matching the delicate, exquisite character of this royal vanilla? Scoopability was also good, even after a few nights in the freezer.
So – who needs cream? Next time, go for quality butter! A truly royal ice cream experience is waiting to delight your taste buds!
- 8 egg yolks
- 300 gram sugar (about 350 ml sugar)
- 1 vanilla pod or 1-1,5 teaspoons of genuine, good quality vanilla powder
- 1000 ml (about 4⅕ cups) milk
- 150 gram quality butter (preferably from French Echiré, but any good quality butter should do)
- Start by mixing the egg yolks, the sugar, the vanilla and the milk.
- Heat and whisk until the base reaches the the so-called nappe stage.
- Take off from the heat, and whisk until the base is warm but no longer hot (say, when it reaches around 50º C/122º F).
- Add the butter, piece by piece, and whisk until it has all dispersed and the base has cooled down some more.
- Remove the vanilla pod (if using), scrape out the seeds and add to the base.
- Churn immediately in your ice cream machine (or still-freeze, using your refrigerator).