Ice cream! No churn, egg free and gelatin free.
I love summers because I have an excuse to dunk my head into a tub of ice cream. You’ll be surprised how many pints I can finish myself. All those calories conveniently rest on my waist throughout the season, and longer. After all it’s ICE CREAM.
Ice creams with a smooth mouth feel, rich body and milky sweetness is what I prefer . I absolutely dislike ice creams that tastes sugary. My first American ice cream experience was in NYC, a vanilla waffle cup bought from an ice cream truck. It was cloyingly sweet and headed right to the bin. You know what I mean. Since then I stick to trusted brands I’ve tried before.
Summer also brings a lot of fresh fruits. This summer we decided to go fruit picking. We went to Brentwood, CA the farming hub of south bay. I prefer organic fruits over conventionally grown ones. An effort to consume pesticide-free and harmful chemical-free fruits, especially local produce. This is my way of contributing to the local community I live. We visited Enos Family Farms, an organic and GMO free farm. Apricots and strawberries were available for picking that month. We picked both.
We were given a pail each to collect the picked fruits. Oh yes! you need to buy all that you pick. We picked 6 lb and used it all. I was thrilled to pick real fruits opposed to picking packed fruits from a super market stand. Upon touch these felt firm, but was ripe and ready to eat after the 2 hrs drive from the farm to our home. Some of it went into the making of this ice cream. Some were eaten fresh. Rest were canned and preserved as preserve and jam.
I tend to lean towards the custard based ice cream made using French and Italian method which gives a smooth finish. Last year I was hooked to my Kitchen Aid ice cream maker. So never attempted a no churn recipe. Ever since I came across this recipe in Nigellissima , I’ve been meaning to try a ‘No Churn’ ice cream recipe and here it is.
In fact, this way of whipping up an ice cream is called Philadelphia method named after the dairy-rich city in the US. The base for this method uses heavy whipping cream, milk, sugar and flavoring. A demerit of this method is the outcome may be like frozen mousse, lacking body. Well, I gave texture to the ice cream using chunks of fresh fruit compensating for the lack of eggs. After I made several flavors using this base, I packed my ice cream maker and put in the storage. It takes less than half an hour to make a pint and 4-6 hours of freezing time. I fell in love with this method, because I could save freezer space too. If made properly, it’s a breeze to churn out this recipe.
Not long ago I couldn’t think past lavender in my body butter and shower foam. The house I lived in Dublin, Ireland had a backyard with flowering plants. I didn’t have time to take care of it, but nature did a wonderful job. Beautiful hydrangea plants, cherry blossom tree, magnolia plant and wild lavender plant was a sight to view from my bedroom. I collected those lavender stems, dried and used for potpourri. I also made a small pillow and kept it near my bed. When I saw culinary lavender in the Farmer’s market near my place, I bought it without blinking an eye. Incorporated the fragrant lavender and fleshy apricots to make this ice cream. Apricots give texture and lavender gives a sweet fragrance. Now, let’s head to the recipe.
Yields scant one quart
- 1 1/4 cups organic heavy whipping cream * I used horizon organic whipping cream. Feel free to use non-dairy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk * I used Eagle sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup organic apricots, unpeeled and roughly chopped *If using dried apricots, rehydrate with water
- 2 tbsp organic sugar, divided
- 1 tbsp organic culinary lavender buds
- 1/4 cup water * filtered water retains purple color of lavender buds. I used filtered tap water. Anyway color does not lend anything to the flavor profile.
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (not essence) or 1 tsp vodka *optional
- Chill the whisk attachment and the bowl. Heavy cream has to be cold and must be removed from the refrigerator only before whipping to get good volume.
- Make lavender syrup – In a small pan, simmer the water with a tablespoon of sugar. Stir till the sugar dissolves. Add lavender buds and simmer for 5 mins. Remove from heat and let the syrup steep. When completely cool it’s ready. I prefer the lavender buds in my ice cream. If you wish, strain to remove solids and use the syrup.
- Make apricot compote – Combine chopped apricot chunks and sugar in a small pan. On medium heat, simmer for 5-7 mins. Let the fruit chunks break down and form a glazed syrup. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- In a bowl mix sweetened condensed milk, lavender syrup, apricot compote and vanilla extract or vodka.
- Now using the whisk attachment and the cold bowl, whip the heavy cream till soft peaks form. Stop whipping when you notice pronounced ripples. Further whipping will result in fresh butter.
- Gently fold in the condensed milk mixture with the whipped cream using a spatula. Try not to deflate whipped air that gives volume to the ice cream. Finally give a firm stir with the whisk.
- Transfer mixture to a flat container. Press down a layer of cling film or wax paper over the surface without leaving gaps. Close lid tightly to seal and freeze at least for 4-6 hrs. Overnight freezing is best.
- This is a soft serve ice cream. Hence, can be served right from the freezer. Scoop out and serve in a ramekin, ice cream cone, waffle cup or just eat from the scoop. Remember to return the container to the freezer right after dishing out the required portion.
For ice cream maker – Mix all the ingredients and follow as instructed in the ice cream maker manual. Churning time – 16 mins
- Use a flat/ shallow (2 inch deep) container to store the ice cream. This promotes even freezing and consistency. Deep containers may give hard outer layer and a softer inner layer. Flat ones save freezer space too.
- To prevent formation of ice crystals always press down the cling film or wax paper over the surface after scooping out the needed quantity. Do not leaves gaps that pave way to retain moisture. Close the lid tight to seal. If kept open, ice cream takes odors from the freezer and changes flavor.
- Store the ice cream container in the coolest compartment of the freezer with enough air circulation. Do not store in the freezer door where the temperature fluctuates due to opening the door. Else you may have half thawed and half frozen ice cream. Also remember a home freezer is not the same as a commercial freezer.
- Keep the freezer setting at the coldest for faster freezing.
- Longer residence time will induce ice crystals. Try to consume home made preservative free ice creams within a fortnight. Longer storage results in poor flavor and consistency.
Tips to reduce ice crystals
- Sugar is an important ingredient in ice creams. It does not freeze. Sucrose reduces ice crystal growth. Use the dose of sugar mentioned in the recipe. You can replace part sweetened condensed milk with liquid sweeteners like honey or maple syrup. But it will give a distinct flavor which may not match the flavor of other ingredients.
- Fat is as important as sugar. Replacing full fat milk completely will produce grainy icy texture. You may use part half and half to get satisfactory results. Keep the butter fat percentage high in the mixture for a smooth texture.
- Alcohol does not freeze. Adding a small amount (2 tbsp to 1 Qt ice cream mix) of alcohol can prevent glacier of an ice cream. Use judiciously though.
- Incorporate air, but slowly. I understand it’s a free ingredient, but whipping the cream at high speed will introduce large air bubbles. This induces formation of larger coarse ice crystals.
- About 2% of LM (Low methoxyl – requires calcium ion) pectin or HM (High methoxyl – requires sugar) pectin added to the total weight of the ice cream mix prevents ice crystal formation. Do not exceed the mentioned percentage as it will give gummy ice cream – Source
- Xanthan gum is a hydrocolloid that binds liquids to form gels and prevents weeping from emulsions. It also acts as a thickener in egg free goodies to replace the yolks. 1/4 tsp per quart liquid in the recipe. Some folks are allergic to gums. Use with care – Source and Source
- The other stabilizers and emulsifiers that help get smooth texture is guar gum and carob bean which is a component of cream cheese. Hence, using a part cream cheese gives a creamy texture and smooth mouth feel – Source
- If you’re okay using gelatin, then add 1 tsp (softened with water) to 1 quart of mix to get a creamy texture. But it’s not suitable for vegetarians and vegans, or flexitarians like me – Source
- CMC (carboxy methyl cellulose) is also used as stabilizer to add body, control melt down and protect against heat shock to the ice cream – Source
The purpose of making ice creams at home is to keep it preservative free. The above mentioned tips will help if you fail making a good ice cream following the recipe instructions. These also help you understand the science involved in making a smooth ice cream. I’ve made delish ice creams devoid of these additives. If I can, you can too. Enjoy a scoop with a smile on your face 🙂