NO-CHURN ICE CREAM
I know purists will be grimacing in horror at this cheatiest of cheaty ice cream recipes but I stand by it as an outstandingly delicious and dead easy way of whipping up your own ice-cream without a machine or a massive custard-making performance. I have a vague recollection of owning an ice-cream maker once, but using it was such a hoo-ha it’s fallen by the wayside along with the breadmaker (no-one likes a hole in the bottom of their loaf), the slow cooker (hello? What’s wrong with the oven?) and the juicer (more torturous washing up than one person can bear).
This basic method (which I’ve seen everyone from Michela Chiappa to Nigella Lawson use) produces a perfectly smooth base with no icy-grittiness that can be eaten plain, with just a splodge of vanilla or dressed up in any flavour. Rippled with fruit purees, flavoured with chocolate or studded with fudge, it’s so good that people will not believe it’s home made. For a caramel ice-cream base, swap the condensed milk with an equal-sized can of Carnation caramel.
I’ve made two autumnal flavours here: the blackberry and white chocolate is made with hedgerow brambles picked last month while the brandy-raisin and praline has a bonfire-night or even slightly Christmas puddingy feel to it.
For the ice-cream base
500ml double cream
395g can condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
With an electric whisk, beat the cream, condensed milk and vanilla to very soft peaks. Decant equal amounts into two lidded plastic containers and put into the freezer for at least an hour and a half before adding your flavours.
Blackberry and White Chocolate flavour
250g blackberries, washed
2 tbsp caster sugar
100g white chocolate
150ml double cream
1. Put the berries and sugar into a saucepan with 2 tbsp of water and simmer until the fruit is soft and pulpy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly before pressing the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the seeds and hulls. Give it a good squash through to get as much pulp as possible. Set aside to cool fully.
2. Place the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water, making sure the water isn’t touching the bottom of the bowl. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Set aside to cool fully.
Brandy-Raisin and Praline Flavour
Zest of half an orange
100g golden caster sugar
50g golden syrup
20g runny honey
40g pecan halves
40g whole hazelnuts
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
30g unsalted butter
1. Combine the raisins, brandy and orange zest in a bowl and leave to steep until the raisins have absorbed the liquid and are plump.
2. Gently heat the sugar, syrup and honey in a heavy based saucepan, stirring constantly until the sugar is dissolved. Increase the temperature until the caramel reaches a rolling boil, add the nuts and boil until the mixture reaches 150°c on a sugar thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, this is the ‘hard crack’ stage – drop a spoonful of the mixture into a shallow bowl of cold water, if the mixture is at the correct temperature you’ll hear it crackle as it hits the water, it won’t cohere into a ball and will crack and break between your fingers.
3. As soon as it reaches 150°c, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla. The mixture will puff up and become opaque. Immediately pour onto a well-greased baking sheet or silicon cookie sheet. Leave to harden and cool.
4. When cool, break the praline into chunks then pulse in a food processor until you have a chunky gravelly texture.
To add your flavours, remove the ice cream from the freezer, ensuring it’s about half frozen – you want to be able to mix the flavours through it in a semi-solid state. Gently mix the raisins and half the praline gravel through one half of the ice-cream, making sure the bits are well distributed but without turning the ice-cream to liquid. Smooth the top and sprinkle over the remaining praline. Mix the berry coulis through the second tub of ice cream, aiming for a rippled effect. Follow with the chocolate, drizzling it over the surface then rippling it through with a skewer. Smooth the surface then return both flavours to the freezer until fully frozen.