French Vanilla Ice Cream is a different color than Vanilla Ice Cream, and that's due to the process rather than the vanilla bean varieties, named for where they’re grown, like Madagascar, Tahiti, and Mexico. French Vanilla refers not to a vanilla variety but to the classic French way of making ice cream using an egg-custard base. The eggs give French Vanilla ice cream a smoother consistency and subtle yellow color. I definitely think that French vanilla ice cream is richer.
Regular vanilla ice cream made with just milk and cream, without eggs is called Philadelphia-style vanilla ice-cream. Having grown up in Philadelphia, this was news to me.
The French Connection: Actually French Vanilla ice cream dates back to colonial times. Both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington used ice cream recipes that include egg yolks. Jefferson's family's ice cream recipe which calls for six egg yolks per quart of cream may have originated with his French butler.
Jefferson's recipe for French Vanilla Ice Cream: Handwritten recipe on the right from the Library of Congress collection. Recipe from www.monticello.org
Thomas Jefferson's Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
2 Bottles of Good Cream
6 Yolks of eggs
1/2 pound sugar
Mix the yolks and sugar put the cream on a fire in a casserole, first putting in a stick of vanilla.
When near boiling, take it off and pour it gently into the mixture of eggs and sugar. Stir it well.
Put it on the fire again, stirring it thoroughly with a spoon to prevent it from sticking to the casserole.
When near boiling, take it off and strain it through a towel. Put it in the Sabottiere [the inner canister in an ice bucket], then set it in ice an hour before it is to be served.
Put into the ice a handful of salt, put salt on the coverlid of the Sabotiere, and cover the whole [thing] with ice.
Leave it still half a quarter of an hour. Then turn the Sabottiere in the ice [for] 10 minutes.
Open it ... with a spatula [and remove] the ice from the inner sides of the Sabotiere.
Shut it and replace it in the ice. Open it from time to time to detach the ice from the sides.
When well taken, stir it well with the spatula.
Put it in moulds, justling it well down on the knee. Then put the mould into the same bucket of ice. Leave it there to the moment of serving it.
To withdraw it, immerse the mould in warm water, turning it well [until] it will come out and turn it into a plate.
Visiting Mt. Rushmore? The Memorial Team Ice Cream shop serves up the original recipe.
Which is your favorite? Vanilla Ice Cream or French Vanilla Ice Cream