After my recent column about gelato published, a reader asked whether frozen treats can be made without an ice cream maker. Those recipes are somewhat complex for many people, time consuming and require a machine. The question becomes, “Do I want or need another bulky kitchen gadget taking up space for the few times it might be used?”
I thought about the bread maker that I used a few times, then put in the garage and finally gave to a friend who always wanted one. Perhaps after a few uses, they, too, had to find a “home” for it. I do have an ice cream maker and the excitement of using it wore out after a short while. It has not been moved to the garage, yet.
A few years ago, I found out about the no-churn way to make ice cream without all of the fuss and no special equipment needed. It has become my go-to method, quick and easy with only a freezer, whisk, electric mixer or blender, a can opener, a bowl and a freezable container, such as a loaf pan, required. I’m sure you have these in your kitchen. And don’t forget, you will need a sweet tooth plus some culinary imagination for flavors, unless you want to stick to the basics such as vanilla and chocolate.
There are many cookbooks devoted to making ice cream using a machine, but not many for the no-churn method. Before summer passes, pick up “No-Churn Ice Cream: Over 100 Simply Delicious No-Machine Frozen Treats,” by Leslie Bilderback (2015, St. Martin’s Griffin, $22.99). You’ll find a mouth-watering collection of shortcuts and classic culinary techniques that will help you achieve delicious, artisanal results. She covers the gamut of frozen treats: classics such as vanilla, strawberry and coffee; warm-weather ice creams such as key lime and peach; cold-weather ice creams such as rum raisin and peppermint stick crunch; gelatos, sorbets, sherbets and granitas. To top it off, there are ideas and recipes for toppings, swirl-ins and sauces. I found the fruit sauce cooking chart and the recipe variation section helpful. I learned that the no-churn ice cream method is based on the classic French dessert called parfait. The author writes, “Unlike American layered parfait your grandma made with Jell-O and Cool Whip, the French version is vanilla custard lightened with whipped cream, and frozen in a loaf pan. Once frozen, the French parfait is sliced, like a frozen sweet pate.”
She explains that, using the no-churn method, “The air normally incorporated by a churning ice cream machine is added instead in the form of whipped cream. Second, the custard which is a classic pastry preparation that takes time to master, is replaced by sweetened condensed milk.”
Now, let’s get making no-churn ice cream with these recipes to start. For the recipe for sweet potato-marshmallow swirl ice cream, visit https://bit.ly/2YABAzp. I’m saving this one to make during the holiday sesaon.
The headnote says, “This flavor is an oldie but a goodie. In cake form it is known as Black Forest (Schwarzwalder Kirschtorte), because the Black Forest (Schwarzwalder) region of Bavaria is known for its wild cherries. But of course, in the world of ice cream, we have two guys from Vermont and the Grateful Dead to thank.”
Combine cherries with the kirschwasser, sugar, and lemon and toss to combine. Set aside for at least 60 minutes to macerate (overnight is better).
In a ceramic or glass bowl, melt the chocolate in the microwave for 10-20 second increments, stirring in between, until it is completely melted. Slowly stir in the sweetened condensed milk, milk, cocoa powder, salt, and the strained juices from the macerating cherries.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until it reaches soft peak. Fold the cream gently into the chocolate base, then transfer half the mixture to a shallow freezable container. Sprinkle on half of the cherries, cover remaining ice cream mixture, and finish by sprinkling on the remaining cherries. The ice cream will swirl itself when you scoop it. Cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper pressed directly on the surface of the ice cream, and place it in the freezer for 6 hours. Scoop and serve with a dollop of whipped cream, chocolate curls or shavings, fresh cherries, or a splash of kirschwasser. Makes about 1 quart.
The headnote says, “The sweet, tart, hot combination of pineapple and pepper is the epitome of zesty. Black pepper is perfectly delicious here, but if you have pink peppercorns, use them. They are not only a little more complex, but also have a pretty color. Of course, if you are spice-shy, omit the pepper altogether and make do with deliciously plain pineapple ice cream.”
Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the pineapple and molasses and cook, stirring frequently until the natural liquids begin to exude. Reduce the heat, stir in the peppercorns, and continue to cook until the pineapple has softened and caramelized. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a bit. Puree the cooked pineapple in a blender until smooth, then pass through a fine mesh strainer to remove excess fiber. In a large bowl, combine the cooled pineapple puree, sweetened condensed milk, milk, lime juice, and salt. In another bowl, whip the heavy cream until it reaches soft peak. Fold the cream gently into the pineapple base, then transfer the mixture to a shallow freezable container. Cover with plastic wrap or waxed paper pressed directly on the surface of the ice cream, and place it in the freezer for 6 hours. Scoop and serve with whipped cream, fresh tropical fruit salsa, caramel sauce, caramel rum glaze, walnut lace cookies or coconut macaroons. Makes about 1 quart.
The headnote says, “This makes a fantastic palate cleanser, or you can spike up the spice and serve it as an alternative to gazpacho.”
Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, and cilantro in the bowl of a food processor or bar blender and process until smooth, adding cold water slowly, as needed, to facilitate the blending. Add the lime zest and juice, sugar, and salt, then adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a shallow freezable container. Cover loosely with plastic or waxed paper and place in the freezer. Stir every 30 minutes until it starts to hold its shape. In about 4 hours it will have attained a scoop- able consistency.
Scoop into chilled glasses or bowls. As a palate cleanser, serve with a sprig of cilantro. As an appetizer, use it to top a fresh cucumber, radish, and onion salad.
Variation: Gazpacho Sorbet: This is the same basic idea, but much more flavorful, because it is not intended to cleanse the palate, but to excite it. Omit the sugar from the above recipe and add to the blender a full cup of fresh cilantro, 2 chopped scallions, 1 roasted Anaheim or Poblano chile, and 1/4teaspoon of ground cumin. Makes about 1 quart.
Consiglio’s Demonstration Cooking Class: Aug. 15, 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included), https://bit.ly/2Nd0xAg Menu: Homemade pizza with burrata and prosciutto, baby lettuces with feta, strawberries and almonds, pan-seared sea scallops with lemon caper pasta, Nutella cream puff pastry.
Consiglio’s Murder Mystery Dinner: “Deadlier Games” Aug. 16, 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.), Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, reservations at 203-865-4489, https://bit.ly/2O3TQzQ, $65 includes dinner and show (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). An interactive comedy show that goes on throughout the evening during a 3-course meal. Cast mingles table to table, dropping clues for a mystery only you can solve. Wear your most outrageous hat
45th annual Milford Oyster Festival Aug. 17, 10 a.m.- 6 p.m, downtown Milford; 30,000 oysters from Briarpatch Shellfish Co., food for purchase, craft beer and wine, children’s entertainment, schooner cruises and live music by headliners For entertainment and event schedule, visit milfordoysterfestival.com.
Milford Craft Beer Tour, Aug. 17, $15 includes shuttle transportation between venues, one free 8-ounce pour each at Tribus and Milford Point and 25 percent off the tab at SBC. Three sessions to choose from on each of the dates; tickets must be pre-purchased online at https://bit.ly/2xFvjY7.
New Haven Cocktail Week Aug. 18-24. Kickoff Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. with a special Spirits Ball at the newly opened High George rooftop bar at The Blake Hotel. Tickets $50 in advance; $60 at the door; https://bit.ly/2StAWCi. For participating restaurants and bars and schedule of the week’s events including seminars, themed parties, and passports visit newhavencocktailweek.com.