No-Churn Ice Cream | the custard version​

September 6, 2019 | © 2019 - 2021 Biterkin

No-Churn Ice Cream ala Biterkin
No-Churn Ice Cream ala Biterkin
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If you can grab some cream, sugar and eggs from the grocer’s store, you are one step away from making this amazing no-churn ice cream at home. 

You do not need sweetened condensed milk or hard-to-find ingredients. You do not need to have special skills in mixing and folding. And no fancy equipment either. Only a mixer is required, hand-held being just fine. 

This no-churn ice cream recipe, apart from being easy and using the simplest of ingredients, will save you hours of searching and testing and it is all you need to dive into making ice cream at home. And not just any kind of ice cream. This one 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. It is also my favourite one for ice cream pops, as it is easy to use in moulds.

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 of having come across it in this vast world wide web are rare. 

 

The Biterkin tricks to a perfect No-Churn Ice Cream:

When making custard-based ice creams at home, it is advisable to use an instant-read thermometer to check if the custard has reached the right temperature, which is around 80ºC/176ºF. This is the temperature at which the custard is thickened and the eggs are safe to eat. While it is always good to have a thermometer, it is only natural that you may not have one at home.

For this reason I have developed a very simple method, which uses the laws of physics to guarantee that the ice cream mixture is cooked to the right temperature. It is also the least labour-intensive one, as it does not require you to stand over the stovetop stirring until the custard is thickened. Instead, you only need to bring the dairy and sugar to a full boil and then pour the mixture into the cold egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. It works every time, because by combining the right amount of boiling dairy with the right amount of fridge-cold egg yolks you have a perfectly cooked custard.

For this method to work, you have to make sure that:

  1. the ingredients are properly measured; it is important that the ratio of “cold egg yolks to boiling dairy” is right
  2. the egg yolks are cold from the fridge (4ºC/39ºF), and
  3. you bring the dairy to a full boil (100ºC/212ºF) and immediately pour it over the egg yolks, while whisking vigorously. 

This trick was born out of necessity. I live in Greece, where vanilla extract is either too expensive or too difficult to find. But I have found that by using a good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado, I can get away without using any vanilla at all when baking or making ice cream. 

In order for this to work, the raw cane sugar you use should be of good quality. In my experience, the best Demerara sugar comes from the island of Mauritius. To evaluate the quality of the sugar, you only have to sniff it; it should smell divine.  

What makes the raw cane sugar aromatic is its natural content in molasses, which gives an earthy, slightly caramelised aroma to raw cane sugars. This aroma is enough to cover the egginess in custard-made ice creams and give it this creamy desirable flavour which you could only achieve by adding vanilla extract. Of course, if vanilla extract is easier for you to find, then by all means you can use this instead.

The ingredients:

This is what you will need:

to show the ingredients

Every single ingredient plays a vital role in the recipe. Ice creams are all about balance, both in terms of ingredients, as well as their quantities. Do not play around changing the proportions of the ingredients or trying to use low-fat versions of dairy and sweeteners, such as stevia/other decreased-calorie sugars. Look out for these:

The recipe at a glance:
No-Churn Ice Cream | the custard version
Ingredients:

For best results, use a scale and measure the ingredients directly into the utensils, when you need them.

Avoid weighing in one utensil and transferring to another, as this causes a small, but important loss of quantity, especially in liquids.

Use heavy cream suitable for whipping, with 35-36% fat percentage.

Do not use lower fat versions, or else the custard may not whip.

Do not use any kind of non-dairy cream. 

If you live in the UK where heavy cream is not available, you can combine double cream and milk to create heavy cream.

For 500 gr heavy cream you will need:

  • 350 gr double cream (with 50% fat)
  • 150 gr/ml regular milk (3.5% fat)

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a large bowl, then pour in the milk, a little at a time, whisking smoothly after each addition until just incorporated. Do not over-whisk, or else it will turn into whipped cream; stop when the cream is smooth and preferably with a pourable consistency.

Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 500 gr heavy cream needed.

You can use regular sugar (granulated sugar) or a raw cane sugar such as turbinado or demerara. If using a good quality demerara, with a lively aroma, you can omit the vanilla extract, if you like.

Do not use sugar substitutes, such as table sweeteners or stevia. Also, do not use confectioner’s sugar, it is not suitable for this recipe. 

The number of the eggs given in the ingredients are only indicative, the actual quantity may vary. The only recommended and best practice is to weigh the egg yolks. 

The weight of the egg yolks (and their temperature-fridge cold) is important, so that they will cook properly when you pour in the boiling cream in step 1. If the amount of egg yolks is less; or if they are not cold from the fridge, they may cook and curdle when you pour in the boiling cream. 

However, if upon breaking and weighing the egg yolks you are just some grams (up to 10gr; 0.5oz is ok) away from reaching the desired weight, but at the same time you do not want to break one more egg, you can replace it with the same amount (in weight) of the leftover egg whites or any other fluid like extra milk or cream. This way you will retain the balance of the “boiling milk:cold eggs” ratio, without compromising the results.

Prefer “Pure Vanilla Extract” over “Vanilla Essence”, if available.

Vanilla is used to to cover any possible taste of egg but without giving the ice cream an intense vanilla flavour.

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Using a saucepan with a long handle in step 1 is useful for easily pouring  the boiling cream with one hand, while whisking the eggs vigorously with the other.

Bonus tip: if the bowl with the eggs is lightweight, put a towel under it, to keep it in place while whisking.

Instructions
Step 1: Prepare the custard

Prepare the egg yolks: put the cold egg yolks (100 gr; 3.5 oz)  in a large bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Put them in the fridge to keep them cold, keeping the whisk in the bowl. Do not do this ahead of time, as the egg yolks dry quickly.

Boil the cream and sugarplace the heavy cream (500 gr; 17.6 oz; 2 cups & 2 Tbs.) and the sugar (130 gr; 4.6 oz; 1/2 cup & 2 Tbs.) in a medium saucepan. 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. 

Pour the boiling cream in the egg yolks: when the cream comes to a full boil (large bubbles cover the surface), remove it 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.

Stir: with a rubber spatula, stir well and thoroughly for one minute, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. 

You have to stir the custard with a rubber spatula while it is still hot, thoroughly scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, where residues of egg yolk lie. Those residues, which you cannot see, are there and they should be incorporated into the rest of the mixture, while it is still hot. Stirring also makes the custard thicken.

Step 2: Chill the ice cream mixture

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes and cold water in a large bowl and carefully nest the bowl with the custard in it, taking care that no water slips into it. Leave it to cool down for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When it has cooled down, add the vanilla extract (1 Tbs – if using) and stir well.

Strain and chill thoroughlybefore you whip it, the custard should be thoroughly cold. To chill it, use one of the two methods below (click on methods to read more):

Personally, I prefer the slow method, as during the refrigeration process the ice cream mixture matures and the flavours improve. However, most people do not notice this flavour improvement, therefore feel free to follow the method which is more convenient to you.
Another thing to consider in choosing the fast method is whether you have enough ice to fully submerge the ice cream bag.

Step 3: Whip the custard

Pour the chilled custard into the bowl of a stand or hand-held mixer. 

Whip the custard: with the whisk attachment on, start whipping at low speed and gradually increase the speed to high. Beat until soft peaks form and it is dollopable: this is when the waves that the whisk leaves on the surface of the cream stay there, instead of disappearing in the cream.
Step 4: Freeze until firm

Transfer the whipped custard into a freezable container. Cover well and put it in the freezer until completely firm and set, preferably overnight. 

If using as a filling in a mould, ice cream sandwich or a torte, use it directly after whipping. Freeze for 24 hours before cutting/unmoulding. 

The setting time for this no-churn ice cream depends on your freezer. It is most likely that it will take 6-8 hours, but it is recommended to let it fully set overnight; you can tell if the ice cream has properly set, if you insert a knife into and it is hard to go all the way to the bottom*. When it is set, you can soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, by putting it in the refrigerator for one hour, which will finally give the best texture and mouthfeel to this ice cream. 

* if the ice cream is not ready yet, when you insert a knife, it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down. In this case, you have to let it set for longer.

Storage and serving

Storage: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells.

Scooping: before serving, soften it to a perfectly scoopable consistency, by putting it in the refrigerator for 1 hour (or 30 minutes if it is freshly made).

Use a rubber spatula: 

A flexible rubber spatula is useful for:

-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when cooking dairy on the stovetop

-scraping residues which would be otherwise left behind in bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, I strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one.

Use a saucepan with a long handle:

Using a saucepan with a long handle in step 1 is useful for easily pouring  the boiling cream with one hand, while whisking the eggs vigorously with the other.

Bonus tip: if the bowl with the eggs is lightweight, put a towel under it, to keep it in place while whisking.

2 Responses

  1. Hello,
    I have a question in step 4 u say leave the surface to set for 1 hour or 2 on the counter or in the freezer?

    1. In the freezer. You are so right, I updated the recipe because it was not clear. Thank you so much!

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