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Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No-churn ice cream gives you all the creamy taste with none of the hassle

Posted: 07/23/2014 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

Last Modified: 07/23/2014 6:49 AM | Updates

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Everyone loves homemade ice cream. But not everyone loves ice cream makers.

So what should you do if you want to make your own summer desserts but you don't want to take on a specialized, space-hogging appliance? It's true that many recipes formulated for automatic ice cream makers offer a kind of afterthought alternative for folks who don't have a machine. This is usually a time-consuming, pain-in-the-neck process that involves a lot of repeated freezing and beating, freezing and beating. And the results can be unpredictable, with ice creams and sorbets often ending up as icy, rock-hard blocks.

The trick is to use recipes that are formulated specifically for the no-churn method. This trend really took off with a recipe for no-churn coffee ice cream from Nigella Lawson, a longtime champion of the tasty and easy. Her no-churn approach spread through Internet food blogs, and there are now loads of terrific variations.

There is a basic template for this form of machine-free deliciousness. To produce no-churn ice cream that is reliably smooth, creamy and soft, you need just a few superstar ingredients, including whipped cream, sweetened condensed milk and usually a touch -- just a touch -- of booze.

As anyone who keeps a bottle of vodka in the freezer can tell you, alcohol is hard to freeze. The addition of a few spoonfuls of liquor will effectively lower the freezing point of your mixture and yield a soft, scoopable ice cream. Don't be tempted to glug in more, though, or the mixture might not set. The sweetened condensed milk -- not evaporated! -- also supplies the sugar necessary for a nice smooth texture.

Traditional ice cream recipes incorporate air during the churning and cooling process. No-churn versions incorporate air by whipping up the cream first. It's true that no-churn versions won't be as airy as some other ice creams. (This is not necessarily a bad thing. Many store-bought ice creams have way too much air, since it's one of cheapest ingredients going.) The texture tends to be dense and creamy.

No-churn ice creams also melt quite quickly and should be served straight from the freezer without tempering. They have a relatively short freezer life and need to be eaten within a week.

While the basic no-churn recipe is very simple, it allows for all sorts of freestyling with different flavours and add-ons. You can throw in white chocolate chips or sprinkles or ripples of lemon curd.

Don't get me wrong. I still love my ice cream maker and my go-to recipes that use a machine. But, wow, it's hard not to love a 10-minute ice cream recipe that gets great results.

 

Caramel-Bourbon No-Churn Ice Cream

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) cold whipping cream

250 ml (1 cup) dulce de leche-flavoured sweetened condensed milk

30 ml (2 tbsp) bourbon

5 ml (1 tsp) pure vanilla extract

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, starting at low and gradually increasing speed to medium-high, whip cream until stiff peaks form. In medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, bourbon and vanilla. Gently but thoroughly fold whipped cream into the milk mixture, being careful not to deflate the cream. Spoon mixture into metal loaf pan or any freezer-safe container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours.

Tester's notes: You can find dulce de leche-flavoured sweetened condensed milk in many supermarkets. It adds a caramelly colour and flavour.

 

Vanilla and Jam No-Churn Ice Cream

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) cold whipping cream

250 ml (1 cup) sweetened condensed milk

10 ml (2 tsp) pure vanilla extract (NOT vanilla flavouring)

125 ml (1/2 cup) good quality jam

In large bowl using an electric mixer, starting at low and gradually increasing speed to medium-high, whip cream until stiff peaks form. In a medium bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk and vanilla. Gently but thoroughly fold whipped cream into the milk mixture, being careful not to deflate the cream. Spoon mixture into metal loaf pan or any freezer-safe container. Add about half of the jam by dropping spoonfuls and then swirling into cream mixture using a knife or skewer. Repeat with other half of jam. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours.

Tester's notes: Make sure to use pure vanilla extract, which is processed using alcohol, and will help keep the freezing point low. You could use any kind of jam here -- peach, blueberry, strawberry-rhubarb.

 

Mocha No-Churn Ice Cream

350 ml (1 1/2 cups) cold whipping cream

250 ml (1 cup) sweetened condensed milk

60 ml (1/4 cup) strong coffee, cooled

15 ml (1 tbsp) cocoa

30 ml (2 tbsp) Kahlua, Tia Maria or Bailey's Irish Cream

In a large bowl using an electric mixer, starting at low and gradually increasing speed to medium-high, whip cream until stiff peaks form. In medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, coffee, cocoa and liqueur until smooth. Gently but thoroughly fold whipped cream into the milk mixture, being careful not to deflate the cream. Spoon mixture into metal loaf pan or any freezer-safe container, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 6 hours.

Tester's notes: You can really use any chocolate- or coffee-based liqueur here, or even rum or bourbon. I ended up using Irish cream because I managed to find a little airplane-sized bottle -- I hate buying a whole whack of liqueur just for one recipe -- and it imparted a mild, creamy taste. You can use instant coffee or espresso to make the coffee, but make sure you dissolve it completely with a little hot water first and let it cool before adding to condensed milk.

alison.gillmor@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 23, 2014 C1

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Updated on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 at 6:49 AM CDT: Replaces photos, changes headlines, adds photo, formats text

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