Unless you’re buying from a specialist, ice cream is generally available in a very limited number of flavours when buying to eat at home (and the good flavours are often eye-wateringly expensive). While ice cream makers do have their merits, this no-churn ice cream recipe calls for just a few ingredients and is ready in a matter of hours, with minimal effort.
When an ice cream machine churns ice cream, it speeds up the process of freezing, giving ice crystals less time to form; breaks up the few ice crystals that do form; and incorporates air into the mixture, which heavily contributes to the resulting ice cream’s desirable texture. While no-churn ice cream isn’t necessarily as soft and aerated, a few tips and ingredients can be utilised to make ice cream at home without any fancy equipment, ready to eat after four hours in the freezer.
While no-churn ice cream doesn’t incorporate air into the mixture while freezing, whipped cream is a key component. As the cream is whipped and its volume increases, the mixture becomes lighter as the same principle is applied. Condensed milk is another essential. The high sugar content lowers the freezing point, which in turn prevents the ice cream from becoming too hard. Moreover, condensed milk contains around 60 percent less liquid than milk, so the thick texture prevents too many ice crystals from forming, ultimately making the final result soft and easy to scoop.
As well as being quick to make, the mixture is also adaptable to countless flavours, requiring minimal equipment, and no cooking for a basic recipe. I’m particularly fond of this blueberry cheesecake ice cream recipe, which comprises blueberries, crumbled digestive biscuits, and cream cheese. The blueberries are quickly cooked to soften in a pan with the biscuits, then folded into the whipped cream, condensed milk and cream cheese mixture. The cheesecake ice cream mixture is then left in the fridge and forgotten about for at least four hours.
- 9×5” loaf pan
- 60 g unsalted butter
- 150 g digestive biscuits
- 200 g blueberries
- 10 g sugar
- 1 lemon
- 450 ml double cream
- 1 tin condensed milk (397g) chilled preferable, but not essential
- ½ tsp cornflour
- 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
- Pinch salt
- 200 g full fat cream cheese softened at room temp
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
- Place the biscuits inside a sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin until some are fine crumbs and some pieces are still 1 or 2 cm big (alternatively use a food processor or pestle and mortar).
- Mix the biscuit crumbs with melted butter and a pinch of salt, then set aside.
- In the same saucepan, with the biscuits and butter removed, add blueberries, sugar and the juice of half a lemon. (Before juicing, zest the lemon into a bowl big enough to whip the cream.)
- Cook the blueberries until they break down and release their juices. This will take around 7 minutes. Mix cornflour with a few tablespoons of cold water and pour into blueberry mixture. Cook for one minute more to thicken.
- Allow the blueberry mixture to cool in the fridge. Pouring onto a flat chilled surface (such as a chilled plate or baking tray) speeds up the process.
- In the large bowl with the lemon zest, whip the double cream until thickened but not stiff peaks.
- Mix the cream cheese inside it’s container a little to loosen, then add to the cream along with the vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form.
- Add the condensed milk and keep whipping until soft peaks form.
- Gently ripple the cooled blueberries and biscuit crumbs into the ice cream, reserving some crumbs to scatter on top. Then pour into a 9×5” loaf pan or similar sized container and sprinkle with some more of the biscuit crumbs.
- Freeze for a minimum of 4 hours.