By August, summer is in full swing. People are in holiday mode even if they are only ‘staycationing’ and al fresco dining reaches an apex.
While in winter, custard and cream might suffice, no summer feast is complete without ice cream complementing the pudding course.
And ice cream really is one of life’s great joys, especially if it’s homemade. No disrespect to Ben, Jerry or any of the Hagen Daaz crew, but making your own ice cream is totally thrilling. And you don’t even need a machine to help you.
It’s not enough to mix it all up, pop it in a tuppaware, slide it into the freezer and hope for the best. Ice cream tastes loveliest when it is full of tiny ice crystals – the smaller the better. If you don’t get a good churn on what tends to happen is your ice cream is not as smooth as you might like, instead studded with icy shards and crystals and flecks.
That said, there are a number of no-churn recipes out there – here’s a classic example – but a can of condensed milk is the key ingredient. There’s nothing wrong with this sort of ice cream – it’s utterly delicious and requires the bare minimum in terms of effort but purists might not be sold.
So, for those up to the challenge, we recommend so-called ‘freeze and stir’ methods.
This vanilla recipe is the simplest:
275ml of cold whole milk
100g of granulated sugar
475ml of double cream
1 tbsp of vanilla extract
Half a tsp of salt
Mix the ingredients well in a mixing bowl, before pouring the lot into baking dish or tin which has been in the freezer long enough to be extremely cold. Place in the freezer for some 45 minutes or until it starts to freeze around the edges.
When this happens, stir well with a hand-held mixer, making sure all of the ice is broken up, before replacing in the freezer. You will need to do this every half an hour or so until the whole lot is frozen.
The result is going to be all you’ll need when it comes to an accompaniment to puddings – or as the main event. Cakes, cones and coulis – just add a dollop or two of this ice cream for maximum taste.
However, you can add a whole new dimension to your ice cream game by adding flavours to your vanilla base:
- For chocolate lovers: Couple of spoons of cocoa and 100g of cooled melted chocolate
- For nutters: Four heaped tablespoons of peanut butter
- For cheesecake fanatics: Six chunkily crushed up plain digestives and 200g of cream cheese
One last thing. We can’t lie – machines will make it easier, no doubt, as they will do all the churning for you. If you are mad keen on the machine – we think this beauty is a top pick. It’s not too expensive, looks stylish and sleek – and there’s a long warranty just in case.