Ice Cream Base (French Custard Base)

Here’s to Bosio and Jacob Fussel! These two gentlemen have done a lot for the cause of ice cream in America. An Italian, Bosio, opened the first ice cream parlor in Philadelphia in 1800. Jacob Fussel, a milk dealer from here in Baltimore, was the first wholesale ice cream manufacturer in the United States. To celebrate their history, make some of your own ice cream. Be creative and add your own ingredients to this base. This recipe will make about 1 pint.


  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 egg yolks


  • Ice cream machine
  • Whisk
  • 2 Medium bowls
  • Strainer
  • Heavy-bottomed saucepan


  1. Whisk egg yolks in bowl until pale in color. Set aside.
  2. Place heavy cream, milk, and sugar in saucepan and place on medium heat.
  3. Cook while stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot. Remove from heat.
  4. While continually whisking, add some of the hot cream mixture from the saucepan to the egg yolks in bowl until the mixture is smooth (this is known as tempering).
  5. Place saucepan over medium heat.
  6. While whisking cream mixture in saucepan, slowly add yolks to saucepan.
  7. Continue to stir and cook until mixture thickens slightly and coats back of spoon, about 6 minutes. Do not let mixture boil or it will curdle.
  8. Strain mixture into clean bowl and let cool.
  9. Process according to ice cream machine manufacturer’s settings.

What you should know

For French Vanilla: cut and scrape seeds from 1 fresh vanilla bean to cream, milk, and sugar before heating. If using extract, add 1 Tbsp to base after straining.

For Chai Tea: add 2 Tbsp chai black tea to cream, milk, and sugar before heating.

Re: Ice Cream Base (French Custard Base)