Have you ever noticed how some ice cream will turn into a runny mess within seconds on a warm day? Others will maintain their shape for what seems like forever! When making homemade ice cream, a major reason for this is the use of a magical ingredient, egg yolk.
What role does the egg yolk play in ice cream?
Stabiliser – By adding yolks you extend the shelf life of your ice cream in the freezer as it inhibits thawing.
Emulsifier – The lecithin in egg yolk creates a really rich, creamy textured ice cream.
Flavour – They add a rich, custard like taste; another depth of flavour that can work very well with some flavours such as a rich dark chocolate variant.
Colour – Yolks add a yellow colour to your desserts which may or may not be to your liking.
Are eggs necessary to make ice cream?
Absolutely not. I’ve published a nice ice cream recipe that doesn’t use egg yolks. It’s a really versatile ice cream that allows you to add a wide range of flavours without compromising the end taste. Egg yolks have a distinct flavour that really doesn’t go well with every addin, such as some types of fruit.
However, if you enjoy the richness of ice cream, a great way to achieve this is by using egg yolks.
How many eggs should I use to make ice cream?
If you decide to create your own ice cream without following a recipe, you’ll be faced with the decision of how many egg yolks to use. There isn’t really any magic formula for helping you decide. It will often come down to personal preference. In general, use between 2-8 eggs in your recipe. Less (or no) yolks are perfect if you intend eating the ice cream within a day or two of making it. That’s usually the case for me.
Using less yolks allows the other ingredients to shine through. On the other hand, if you like your ice cream to last in the freezer, and you’re a big fan of rich, creamy textured ice cream then use up to 8 eggs. It’s best to experiment to find what works best for you.