Carolina Kitchen

You scream, I scream, “You really CAN make ice cream ... without a churn”

sardis@thestate.comAugust 21, 2013 

I had never made custard-less, churn-less ice cream but now, I was on a mission.

When it rains, it pours. And it was raining last Friday (on my day off), so I curled up on the couch and decided to spend the afternoon watching cooking shows.

A repeat of Nigella Lawson’s “Nigella Feasts” was showing on Cooking Channel. One of the themed-by-color episodes ... the finished dishes in this particular show turned out to be some shade of pink.

OK, this could be interesting ... Beet soup, something else and then, what made me sit up and really listen, rhubarb ice cream.

Not because of the rhubarb or the color pink, but because Nigella was making homemade ice cream WITHOUT an egg custard AND WITHOUT a churn!

What a revelation!

I had never made custard-less, churn-less ice cream but now, armed with the power of Nigella, I was on a mission.

I MUST make a version of her recipe (not rhubarb, please), and I must make it NOW!

I looked up the recipe online and decided that I would make simple vanilla and chocolate versions (mainly because I have lots of ground chocolate and some vanilla beans in the pantry).

If the simple, yet popular, vanilla and chocolate tasted OK and there wasn’t such a textural difference between churned and non-churned/custard and non-custard ice cream, then I would branch out...

With the recipe saved on my iPhone, I hurried off in the rain to the grocery store.

The recipe that I sourced is Nigella’s One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream. Her recipe says it will yield one pint of ice cream.

This is the ingredient list for her recipe: 1 1/4 cups (300ml) heavy cream, 2/3 cup (175g) sweetened condensed milk, 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder and 2 tablespoons espresso liqueur.

Now imagine me standing in the aisle of the grocery store and doing the math in my head as to the most cost effective way to purchase the cream and condensed milk.

Heavy cream (whipping cream) is sold in whole and half pints. Cans of sweetened condensed milk contain 14 ounces.

I gave up after about ten minutes and said to heck with it...any way I work this, it seems that I will have some leftover ingredients so... I will purchase one pint and one half-pint of heavy cream and one can of s.w. milk and experiment.

At home in the kitchen, in a very large bowl I whisk the 1 1/2 pints of cream together with the whole can of s.w. milk until soft peaks form. This will be what I call the “base” recipe. I’ll be using vanilla beans and ground chocolate rather than espresso powder and liqueur.

I place half of the base in a 4-cup plastic container and add the seeds that I have scraped out of half of a vanilla bean and then stir to incorporate the vanilla seeds.

In the remaining half of the base, I add 3 tablespoons of Ghiradelli ground chocolate (not cocoa powder) and 2 tablespoons of Godiva chocolate liqueur. After whisking in the chocolate, this mixture goes into a separate 4-cup plastic container and both containers are placed in the freezer overnight.

The moment of truth: Tasting. Will this turn out like “real” ice cream or more along the lines of a soft-serve?

My father is an easy guinea pig recruit. So are my coworkers.

Dad’s up first. My ice cream has a bit silkier texture than store-bought or custard ice cream and has frozen stiff rather than remaining soft. Pop really likes the vanilla and, after finishing his bowl, starts suggesting other flavors (dice up a fresh peach, maybe saute some chopped pecans in butter). I’m thinking of maybe adding a handful of chopped cherries and a couple of tablespoons of kirsch to the basic recipe next time.

At work, after the photo shoot, everyone is invited to sample and, by the looks of the empty containers, my first experiment is a success.

Hmm ... I have a couple of lemons at home that need zesting and I think there’s some basil in the garden ...

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