Smooth, creamy, luscious home made ice cream. The holy grail of desserts, to me at least.
A few years ago, I got so frustrated with seeing tempting ice cream recipes in my favourite food magazines. The creamy desserts always sounded so inviting but inevitablly the final instruction would be to ‘freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s directions’.
Each time I read those words my heart would sink a little more. Until one day I decided to fork out a large amount of cash for an appliance that could barely fit in my tiny kitchen. But an ice cream machine I wanted, and an ice cream machine I would have. And a proper one, with an internal compressor so I could happily make batch after batch of cool creamy goodness.
To be fair, my ice cream machine and I have had some good times together. But since embracing minimalism, I’ve been searching for a good ice cream recipe that doesn’t need a one-trick-pony piece of equipment. Basically I’ve been looking for a good reason to get rid of my beginning-to-rust ice cream machine.
And the brilliant news is that I’ve unlocked the secrets to making ice cream at home with just a simple whisk and your home freezer. And not only does it not need special equipment, it also isn’t based on an egg custard like most ice cream recipes. So the prep work is even more simple still.
Secret 1. Use Lots of Sugar
Traditional ice cream making uses mechanical means to prevent large ice crystals forming. First the mixture is continually stirred or churned to break up ice crystals as they form. Secondly, better quality ice cream manufacturers freeze the custard base as quickly as possible, to further promote only fine ice crystals.
But as I’ve discovered, the real secret is to make conditions difficult for the ice crystals to form at all. And the simplest way to do that is add lots of sugar. This decreases the freezing point of the overall mixture so that even when it gets to the temperature inside your freezer, big ice crystals just aren’t able to form. Instead the mixture remains creamy and smooth and pretty much everything you’d want in an iced dessert.
Secret 2. Incorporate Air
This second secret isn’t critical for achieving creaminess over icyiness. But if you’ve ever wondered why your home made ice cream feels heavy compared to commercial brands, it’s all about the air. Since ice cream is sold by volume and air is much cheaper than every other ingredient, ice cream manufacturers tend to whip their ice cream to incorporate as much air as possible.
Before you start getting upset about this, I actually prefer my ice cream to be lighter and fluffier. It feels more moussy in your mouth AND air is much kinder to the waistline. Win-win!
Creamy Lemon Ice Cream
Makes about 2 cups
Feel free to play around with the citrus, lime would be lovely, if a little more expensive. This recipe has quite a lemony tang, if you’d prefer your lemon to be a little more subtle, you could easily reduce the juice down to 1/4 cup.
If you’re in a hurry, a metal container will conduct the cold much more quickly and get you there in half the time. Shallow containers with lots of surface area will also freeze more rapidly than deeper ones.
1/3 cup lemon juice
250g (9oz) icing (powdered or confectioners) sugar
300mL (1+1/4 cups) whipping cream, approx 35% milk fat
:: Combine lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl.
:: Using a whisk, whip cream until soft peaks just start to form and the cream has thickened slightly.
:: Whisk the lemon mixture in with the cream and whisk until the texture is back to the soft peaks.
:: Place in a freezer-proof container and freeze for at least six hours or until lovely and ice-creamy.