Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Homemade Ice Cream without an Ice Cream Maker?

Doing the August Daring Bakers' Challenge here in East Tennessee with most of my kitchen gadgets packed away forced me to work a little harder.  Making ice cream without any sort of ice cream maker was new to me and was surprisingly successful.  If you don't have an ice cream maker you might like to give this a try.  The result was every bit as creamy and smooth as any ice cream I ever made in my appliance.  I may never unpack it again!

I used David Lebovitz's Basic Vanilla, which follows, for inclusion in my Baked Alaska.  Feel free to use it or any custard-based ice cream recipe.

Vanilla Ice Cream
About 1 quart (1l)
Adapted from The Perfect Scoop (Ten Speed Press)
For a richer custard, you can add up to 3 more egg yolks. For a less-rich custard, substitute half-and-half for the heavy cream, realizing that the final texture won’t be as rich or as smooth as if using cream.
1 cup (250ml) whole milk
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1. Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the milk with a paring knife, then add the bean pod to the milk. Cover, remove from heat, and infuse for one hour.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart (2l) bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight. You can also chill your custard in an ice bath, which will move things along more quickly.
6. Pour your cooled custard into a stainless steel bowl or something equally durable and stick it in the freezer.
7. Here's the important part - every 30 minutes VIGOROUSLY whisk your custard.  That's right - VIGOROUSLY!  It's hard to make yourself do this because you won't want to break up the freezing ice cream, especially since you (or your kids) probably have your bowl and spoon ready!  Do it anyway.  This is what makes the ice cream smooth and creamy.  All those ice crystals need to be broken apart.  Set your timer and whisk your custard every 30 minutes or 45 minutes for the first three or four hours.  Make your kids do this part and it's even easier!
8.  After 3 or 4 hours your ice cream will be at the soft serve stage and can be eaten.  If you don't want to eat it yet, at this point you can stop whisking it and let it freeze hard.
Delicious and oh so easy!
Don't forget to rinse your pieces of vanilla bean and stick them in a cup or two of sugar to make delicious vanilla sugar!


  1. Nice blog! I made your tomato soup today and couldn't stop sneaking tastes. Thanks.

  2. Great post Mary. I've been wondering how to do this since I don't have an appliance. I thought about buying one but they all seem so small and I hate to waste the money on another gadget I won't use! ;D

  3. @cathy - thanks! I'm glad you liked it!
    @Jennifer - give this a try. Not sure I'll need to break out my ice cream maker again!

  4. i am so trying this! thanks

  5. Home-made Ice cream without ice cream maker that thing is unbelievable. Best thing is easy to made andno more cost. I like the ideas. I'll try to make this ice cream at home. Thanks for the recipe.

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  6. Looks amazing! Do you know how I would be able to swirl hot caramel into it? Like I want to be able to see actual swirls, not just have caramel flavored ice cream. Any insight would be appreciated!

  7. Hey there! I am making an ice cream recipe right now with pineapple and spices and don't have an ice cream maker... I am so happy to have found your post!!! :) Thanks for the great tip! Now joining your blog and looking forward to your posts! Hop onto my blog and join too... that yummy ice cream recipe will be up soon! ;)
    S.O.S. Mom


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