No-Churn Ice Cream | the Custard Version

No-Churn Ice Cream | the Custard Version
No-Churn Ice Cream ala Biterkin
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When it comes to eating, one has to choose wisely. And the more choices available, the more difficult picking one is. Say, you want to make ice cream. You google “ice cream recipes” and you dive into the vast sea of possibilities. Eggs, no eggs, ice cream maker, no-churn ice cream and so on. If you have an ice cream maker, you already own the most awesome kitchen appliance. But if you only have a hand-held mixer, let me show you the way. It will save you hours of searching and testing. And the best part is that there is not a streak of non-sense and yucky ingredients, like, say, that thing called sweetened-condensed-milk. Yikes.

Think about it. You are at home, you have all the power, watts included, in your hands, to make an amazing, no-churn ice cream from scratch. And you are so lucky as to be able to grab a bottle of heavy cream, half a dozen eggs and some sugar. You can bring in some flavour with spirits; for alcohol keeps your ice cream soft in the freezer -or leave it out completely, you will be shown how. And this is all you need to dive into ice cream making at home.

And not just any kind of ice cream. This is one that is extremely versatile. You may scoop it out at any time your soul feels like it, you may top your favourite blueberry pie with it, or even use it as a filling for ice cream torte.

One. Perfect. Choice. And now that you have found it, go on and save this recipe somewhere. Because this ice cream making technique is unique and your chances to have come across it in this vast World Wide Web are rare. Do not let it slip through your hands.

Why this recipe works:
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Regularly, the magic of making ice cream happens while it is being churned in an ice cream maker. During this time, the custard is gradually frozen and at the same time agitated; air is incorporated in the ice cream and fluffs it up. This gives the best ice cream possible, with a velvety texture and a creamy consistency, without the use of any additives

Without an ice cream maker, there are two choices. The one is to use sweetened condensed milk, which is not an option if you are into fresh, flavourful ingredients. The other is to create two foams, one consisting of eggs and the other of cream, fold them into each other- and then freeze to keep the air in. (If you feel confident with folding, you may check this revolutionary recipe which does not involve boiling syrup)

And then there is this custardy no-churn ice cream version, which has a high fat percentage and for a good reason: 30% fat means that you will whip the custard with a mixer, just like you would whip fresh cream. What need to do, is make the custard, chill, then whip it until it doubles in volume, before freezing. No additional egg foams, no folding, no stand mixer. Simple and straightforward, with the least involvement possible.

Alcohol keeps it soft for a long time, as alchool has a low freezing temperature. It also prevents the formation of ice crystals.

No-Churn Ice Cream | the Custard Version

This recipe works thanks to its fat percentage. Do not attempt to use “light” versions of cream.

It has a rich taste and stable body, which means that apart from scooping and eating plain, it is ideal for topping desserts or using as a filling in ice cream tortes.

You do not have to worry about eating raw eggs in this recipe. By pouring the right amount of the boiling cream into the right amount of chilled eggs while whisking vigorously you bring the total mixture to a perfect 79º C (174º F).

Special equipment:

hand held mixer (yes, you can use a stand mixer, too)

  1. Make the custard base. Chill in the fridge for 12 hours.
  2. Whip the custard.
  3. Put in the freezer for 6-8 hours to set.


Yields 1 L ice cream

  • 100 gr egg yolks, cold from the fridge ( about 5-6 Large eggs, 3.5 ounces )
  • 500 gr heavy cream 35% fat ( 17.6 ounces. ; 2 cups & 2 Tbs. )
  • 130 gr demerara sugar ( or regular white sugar, see footnotes ) ( about 4.6 ounces; 2/3 cup )
  • 30 gr alcohol of choice with 40% alcohol by volume * ( about 1 ounce; 2 Tbs. & 1 tsp. )
  • pinch of salt

*a good choice is an orange-flavoured, triple sec liquor. Another lovely option is brandy. Note that the taste of the alcohol is more subtle when the ice cream is frozen. Alcohol is essential, as it prevents ice crystals from forming into the ice cream and keeps it soft. If you do not want to use it, add 1 Tbs. vanilla extract to taste and consume the ice cream within 24 hours, or else it will freeze hard.

Step 1 – Prepare the Custard Base

Put the egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Put them back in the fridge, keeping the whisk in the bowl.

In a medium saucepan, put the heavy creamsugar and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula, until the sugar dissolves.

Increase the heat to high and remove the egg yolks from the fridge. When the cream comes to a full boil, let it boil for 10 seconds. Remove from the heat, and immediately start pouring it in a steady stream into the egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other.

While the mixture is warm, use the spatula to thoroughly scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, where residues of egg yolk lie.

Step 2 – Cool the Custard Base

The mixture is hot and you have to stir it often with a spatula, to prevent a film from forming on the surface.

When it is no longer hot, pour it through a mesh strainer into a sealable container.

Cover with the lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight to cool, or read the instructions below for shortcutting the process.

______  In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:  ______

If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and whip the ice cream immediately, you can put the custard in a sealable bag, place it in a large container, fully cover it with ice and let it chill for a few hours ( it may take up to 3 hours to properly cool ).

The downside of this method is that you will need lots of ice. And you will definitely need a thermometer to check if the temperature has reached the desired 4º C ( about 39º F ).

Also note that the flavour of the ice cream is better if the custard is left to chill in the refrigerator overnight. However, to most peoples’ palate this flavour improvement goes unnoticed. So go on and choose the cooling method you prefer.

Step 3 – Whip the Custard Base

Remove the custard from the fridge. It has to be thoroughly cold, or else it will not whip.

Pour it into the bowl of a stand or hand-held mixer. With the whisk attachment on, start whipping at low speed and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until soft peaks form and it is two times its volume. It should hold its shape when lifted with a spoon.

With the mixer running add the alcohol, a little at a time. The custard will become looser, but should not lose volume. Keep beating for a full minute.

Step 4 – Freeze

If you want to scoop it, transfer it to a freezable container. Cover with cling film and let it set. Setting will most likely take 6-8 hours.

If you want to use to fill a mould or an ice cream torte, use directly after whipping. Depending on the mould, check for firmness before attempting to unmold. Also note that you may have to wait as long as 24 hours and the ice cream is soft, so you have to be careful not to lose its shape when you unmold it, especially if you have a silicone mould.

How to store the No-Churn Ice Cream

This ice cream will stay soft enough to be eaten directly out of the freezer.

For long-term storage, cover with cling film touching the surface of the ice cream and then with aluminium foil for extra protection.

It is at its best for one week in the freezer. After this, its texture starts to deteriorate. Discard after one month.

Ingredients notes:

Demerara sugar  is a variety of raw cane sugar and gives depth of flavour. You may use any kind of raw cane sugar you like, as long as it is light brown in colour.

Regular white sugar works well too, although it doesn’t help in building flavour.

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