Faux Riche Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

February 20, 2012 § 3 Comments

There are few things on this planet that are as intoxicating as the aroma of a freshly sliced vanilla bean. When I received these vanilla beans from my CSA I wanted to bite right into them. However anyone who has ever tasted a raw, unsweetened vanilla bean knows that that isn’t the greatest idea. My next thought was I’d have to make my favorite summer staple: a low-fat, no-cook brown sugar vanilla bean ice cream that I developed this past year when we were gifted an ice cream maker.  If you’re eager to get to the recipe, you can scroll to the bottom of this post.

To remove seeds from the vanilla bean, slice the bean lengthwise then use the dull side of the knife to slowly, carefully scrape the seeds out.
Most homemade ice cream recipes call for heavy cream, eggs, and heat. You make a custard that you cool and then make that into America’s favorite frozen treat. I cheat and skip the heavy cream and the heat, because when the urge to make ice cream hits, I want it fast and I want it healthy enough to share with my 2 year-old. It also makes a great topping for warm baked goods, like Belle Foley’s Chocolate Cake.

This “ice cream” is light, very tasty, and for whatever reason always seems colder than regular ice cream. Because of the low(er) fat content, the texture is more like an ice milk than full-fat, hard-packed ice cream. Despite being on the light side, it packs a rich flavor, hence the name “faux riche.” It melts rather quickly due to the lack of emulsifiers, too. But because you control the ingredients and make it fresh (and if you should choose to do so, completely organic) it is without a doubt healthier than Ben & Jerry’s or whatever your typical poison may be.

Faux Riche Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

3 1/2 cups half and half (nearly 1 quart)
1 cup dark brown sugar
seeds from 1 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Read the directions for your ice cream maker. Mine says to freeze the tub you spin the cream in for 24 hours. I leave the tub in the freezer all the time so I can make ice cream whenever I feel like it (rarely during the winter, probably weekly during the summer months).

Whisk ingredients together in a large bowl until sugar is dissolved. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, and up to 12 hours.

Follow directions for your ice cream maker to get it going. It is also possible to make ice cream without an ice cream maker, but I’ve never tried to with this low(er) fat recipe. I get my maker going before I take the cream mixture out of the fridge.

Just before you poor the mixture into the maker, give it a quick whisk to make sure nothing is settled at the bottom. Pour mixture into the maker, using a ladle to help it along if you’d like.

Spin for 15-20 minutes. Ice cream will be the consistency of soft-serve when it is done being mixed. Do not overmix! You can eat the ice cream at this stage, but it will melt pretty quickly.

Scoop into an air-tight container, using a rubber spatula to scrape the sides. Freeze for 5 minutes uncovered, then cover and freeze for at least one hour before scooping, or for 12 hours if you want “hard” ice cream.


Happy nibbling,



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