Hot weather calls for sweet, frozen treats – and these three innovative recipes make the dream of easy homemade ice cream a reality.
Now that a heatwave is officially upon us, eating outside is virtually mandatory. But as much as we love all the glorious food on offer at summer barbecues and spread out on picnic blankets in the park, there’s nothing that quite matches the nostalgic thrill of ice cream on a lazy afternoon.
Irresistible though the frozen dessert is, there’s a reason why most of us buy tubs of raspberry ripple from the supermarket, or a good old-fashioned 99 from the ice cream van. Most homemade ice cream recipes call for an ice cream machine – and if you don’t have one of those casually knocking around at home, you’re not alone.
But there are recipes out there that allow you to make ice cream and sorbet at home without a machine. And happily, we’ve got some to share below.
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Looking for a quick, classic ice cream fix? Chow and Alex Mezger’s no-churn vanilla base can be whipped up in a matter of minutes, and is easily customisable with different fruits and spices as the seasons change. The Mezgers have suggested different flavours that go well together, but once you’ve got the base down, you can riff on the recipe however you like.
Jessica Elliot Dennison’s salted coconut sorbet, meanwhile, requires just five ingredients and a little patience to create a delicious and elegant frozen dish. And if you do have an ice cream machine (or fancy investing in one), Angela Clutton’s balsamic-ripple ice cream makes a beautifully grown-up accompaniment to summer berries.
While there’s always be a place in our hearts for the shop-bought stuff, we’re ready to give homemade ice cream a try. Join us, won’t you?
Chow and Alex Mezger’s one ice cream, four seasons recipe
Chow and Alex say: “This no-churn vanilla base can be made in moments. The secret star of the show is the thick, sweet condensed milk. It doesn’t freeze hard, which makes for easy scooping. Once you know how to make your vanilla base, the possibilities never end. Here we’ve suggested four ideas to get you going – one for each season. The idea is to reach for fresh ingredients when they’re at their very best.”
Makes 750ml (1 1/3 pints)
For the vanilla ice-cream base
- ½ x 397g can condensed milk
- 600ml (20fl oz) double cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For spring: rhubarb
- 300g (10½oz) pink rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2.5cm (1in) lengths
- 60g (2¼oz) golden caster sugar
For summer: elderflower
- 3 tablespoons elderflower cordial
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For autumn: turmeric
- 35g (1¼oz) fresh turmeric, peeled and finely grated
For winter: blood orange
- 100ml (3½fl oz) blood orange juice (you will need about 3 oranges)
For the ice-cream base, pour the condensed milk, double cream and vanilla into a large bowl and beat with an electric whisk for 3–4 minutes, or until the mixture becomes thick and stiff. This is the moment to stir in any additions (for the rhubarb compôte, see below).
Spoon the ice-cream base into an airtight, freezerproof container and freeze for at least 4 hours, or preferably overnight, until firm. Remove from the freezer and allow the ice cream to soften for 5–10 minutes before scooping.
For the rhubarb compôte, put the rhubarb and sugar in a small saucepan over a medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer. Turn down the heat and cook for about 12 minutes until the rhubarb is soft and cooked. Allow the compôte to cool completely then stir three-quarters into the ice cream and spoon the remaining compôte over the top of the ice cream mixture before freezing.
From Judes: Ice Cream & Desserts by Chow and Alex Mezger (£26.99, Kyle Books), out now
Jessica Elliot Dennison’s salted coconut sorbet with peanuts recipe
Jessica says: “This has got to be one of my favourite puddings in the summer, yet it’s almost embarrassingly simple to make. The inspiration is a hybrid of food memories from my travels; the coconut ice cream I’d eat in Bangkok while sat on a tiny plastic stool. There, they serve scoops of it in a small, young coconut, the tender flesh scooped out and scattered over the top. Then, of course, memories of late-night trips to Gelato Messina in Surry Hills, Sydney, where I’d grab their salted coconut ice cream swirled with fresh mango.”
Takes 5 minutes, plus freezing time
- 1 x 400ml tin of coconut milk (ideally full-fat)
- 230g (2/3 cup) runny honey
- 1 tablespoon sea salt flakes
- handful of roasted peanuts or handful of black sesame seeds (optional)
- 1 lime
- Runny honey: caster (superfine) sugar, soft brown sugar
- Peanuts: roasted almonds, toasted desiccated (dried shredded) coconut, pecans
First, blend the coconut milk, honey and salt until combined. Churn in an ice-cream maker, then freeze until you’re ready to eat. If you don’t have an ice-cream maker, put the mixture in a tupperware tub then, using a fork, break up any ice crystals that form every 30 minutes for 3–4 hours until you have a nice sorbet texture.
To assemble, scoop the sorbet into small bowls or glasses. Roughly crush the peanuts then scatter over. Zest over the lime, then cut into wedges for everyone to squeeze over the juice themselves.
From Tin Can Magic by Jessica Elliot Dennison (£15, Hardie Grant), out now
Angela Clutton’s balsamic-ripple ice cream recipe
Angela says: “This sweet balsamic-reduction sauce that is rippled into the ice cream towards the end of its churning is incredibly useful to know about. You could also use it as a sauce for drizzling over ice creams and sorbets (from vanilla or rum and raisin, to fruits such as strawberry, fig or cherry that will marry well with the balsamic). It is also very good as a sauce over roasted fruits, pancakes, brownies and other chocolate desserts.”
Note: if you have a dense balsamic to start with, you don’t need to make a reduction, just use as-is. Tip the bottle – if it coats the sides then use without reducing.
For the balsamic sauce
- 75ml balsamic vinegar
- 25g caster sugar or 50ml dense balsamic vinegar
For the vanilla ice cream
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g caster sugar
- 300ml whole milk
- 150ml double cream
- 1 vanilla pod
To make the balsamic reduction: put the balsamic and sugar into a small saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil then let it bubble for 3–5 minutes until the vinegar has reduced to the consistency of a syrup. Set aside to cool before using. It will keep in the fridge for a few days.
For the ice cream, beat together the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl until thoroughly mixed and becoming lighter in texture.
Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan. Use a knife to split the vanilla pod down its length, then scrape out the seeds and add those to the milk and cream. Put the pod in too and heat until almost – but (crucially) not quite – boiling. Whisk the hot milk mixture into the sugared eggs, little by very little to avoid scrambling the eggs.
Pour it all back into the saucepan and stir over a low heat to make a custard that is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Then take it off the heat and pour the whole lot – pod and all – into a bowl or large jug. Cover and chill for at least 6 hours.
Once the ice cream mixture is chilled, remove the vanilla pod then churn the mixture according to the instructions of your ice cream machine. Add the balsamic sauce (or your dense balsamic) when nearly fully churned to achieve a rippled effect. Freeze until ready to serve.
To churn by hand, remove the vanilla pod, then pour the ice cream mixture into a deep baking dish or mixing bowl and freeze for 45 minutes. Give it a vigorous mix with a spatula or whisk and return to the freezer. Repeat at 30-minute intervals until frozen. Add the balsamic sauce (or your dense balsamic) at the last hand-mix.
From The Vinegar Cupboard by Angela Clutton (£26, Bloomsbury), out now
Photography: © Matt Russell; Polly Webster
Christobel Hastings is a London-based journalist covering pop culture, feminism, LGBTQ and lore.