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Roasted Strawberry and Kefir Ice Cream

We're coming to the end of strawberry season over here. But you can still get huge boxes in the shops for the equivalent of pennies.

And they still taste great. The darker the berries, the sweeter the juice.

I have some Kefir in the fridge and had heard you can use it interchangeably with buttermilk in recipes. 

So I'd thought I'd try the Roasted Strawberry and Buttermilk recipe from Jenis Splendid Ice Cream at Home.

Jenis book is great and I love her ice creams but her standard base involves a lot of faffing around with cornstarch and cream cheese that sometimes I can't be bothered with.

The cornstarch and cream cheese are presumably a home cook friendly way of getting some stabilization and extra milk solids in the ice cream.

But you can achieve better results, more easily (which is important, as I'm quite lazy) with a proper ice cream stabilizer blend and skimmed milk powder.

So I used those instead.

The result was much less intense than the Strawberry Ice Cream with Balsamic Vinegar I made a couple of weeks ago.

This is a much subtler, lighter ice cream with the Kefir bringing out a tart perfume in the strawberries.

Lovely...


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Roasted Strawberry and Kefir Ice Cream
A bright, subtly tangy strawberry ice cream
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 15
Passive Time 60
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Ice Cream Base
Roasted Strawberries
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 15
Passive Time 60
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Ice Cream Base
Roasted Strawberries
Instructions
Roasted Strawberries
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Wash and dry the strawberries. Cut out the green stalks and then cut them into thick slices. Mix them with the sugar and roast in a baking dish for around 8 minutes or until they're soft.
  2. Let the strawberries cool slightly. Then puree in a food processor with the lemon juice. Measure out 2/3 of the mixture for the recipe. Keep the other 1/3 for something else!
Ice Cream
  1. Mix all the dry ice cream ingredients (Skimmed Milk Powder, Granulated sugar, Ice Cream Stabilizer) together, thoroughly, in a bowl.
  2. Then add all the wet ingredients (Milk, Cream, Corn Syrup) except the Kefir to the bowl and blend thoroughly with a stick blender. Alternatively, you can do this in a liquidizer.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan and stirring continuously over a medium-low heat, bring it to the the temperature at which the stabilizer will hydrate. This varies from one stabilizer brand to another and will be written on the packet. It should never boil.
  4. When the mixture reaches the correct temperature it will start to thicken. Take it off the heat. Cool in an ice bath.
  5. Then add the strawberry puree and Kefir and blend again. Transfer the mixture to a bowl with a lid and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn until it has the consistency of whipped cream. Then transfer it to a plastic freezer box and freeze for around 1 hour.
  7. After an hour it should be soft enough to serve directly from the freezer but firm enough to melt slowly. If you've left it in the freezer for longer and it's too hard to serve, simply leave it out until it's softened.
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Chai Spice Ice Cream

This is a Frankenstein's Monster type of recipe, bolted together clumsily with bits from two other recipes. It turned out great though!

I wanted to try the light ice cream base from the underbelly blog. But I didn't want a plain old milk flavor.

The easiest way to add a bit a flavor to a recipe without having to re-balance the mixture is through infusion. And I'd been fancying a Chai Tea ice cream for a while. 

So I took the spices (unfortunately I didn't have any actual tea) from the Honey Chai Frozen Yogurt recipe in Dana Cree's "Hello, My name is Ice Cream" and mixed them into underbelly base...

And boom, I had a pretty successful Chai Spice Ice Cream.

There were a few other missing ingredients to be honest. All my individual stabilizers had gone off (!), so I used a generic, pre-mixed ice cream stabilizer. No problems there.

But I'd forgotten about the invert syrup and I didn't have time to make any so I substituted it for Karo Light Corn Syrup.

Structurally I think they're more or less the same but the Karo is much less sweet than invert sugar. And since the underbelly recipe isn't very sweet anyway, I was worried the Karo might tip it over into "flatness".

It was fine though. The spices are are gently warming. And the light base carries them well.

The kids obviously didn't like it. But that just meant there was more for me... 


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Chai Spice Ice Cream
A light ice cream subtly spiced with the flavors of India.
Chai Spice Ice Cream
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 15
Passive Time 60
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Ice Cream Base
Chai Spice Mix
Prep Time 5
Cook Time 15
Passive Time 60
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Ice Cream Base
Chai Spice Mix
Chai Spice Ice Cream
Instructions
  1. Mix all the dry ice cream ingredients (Skimmed Milk Powder, Granulated sugar, Dextrose, Ice Cream Stabilizer) together thoroughly in a bowl.
  2. Then add the wet ingredients (Milk, Cream, Corn Syrup) to the bowl and blend thoroughly with a stick blender. Alternatively, you can do this in a liquidizer.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a saucepan, add the chai spices, and stirring continuously over a medium-low heat, bring it to the the temperature at which the stabilizer will hydrate. This varies from stabilizer to stabilizer and will be written on the packet. It should never boil.
  4. When the mixture reaches the correct temperature it will start to thicken. Take it off the heat. Cool in an ice bath. And then refrigerate in a bowl with a lid for as long as you can stand.
  5. If you leave it overnight in the fridge it will benefit the texture and flavor of the ice cream, giving the spices more time to infuse. But certainly wait until it's down to fridge temperature!
  6. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker and churn until it has the consistency of whipped cream. Then transfer it to a plastic freezer box and freeze for around 1 hour.
  7. After an hour it should be soft enough to serve directly from the freezer but firm enough to melt slowly. If you've left it in the freezer for longer and it's too hard to serve, simply leave it out until it's softened.
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12

The Perfect No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream Base

I love ice cream. But I'm also very lazy. So obviously, a no-cook ice cream base will always be the holy grail for me!

With a no-cook ice cream, you just mix all the cold ingredients together and then pop the mixture straight into your ice cream maker. Easy. And you win so many times...

  • less time and effort preparing the recipe
  • less time and effort spent washing up
  • no time at all wasted waiting for the mixture to cool down!

So, you work less and get to eat ice cream sooner. What's not to love? Well, the problem is that most no-cook ice creams are horrible.

The most common recipe you'll find on the web is a Philadelphia base that goes something like this:

  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¾ cup sugar

Bleugghh. Too fatty and sweet for me. And it gets really icy, really quickly in the freezer.

Most no-cook ice creams are too fatty and too sweet

And this is the problem with most no-cook ice creams. In order to work without cooking, they're often loaded up with fat and sugar. And because they don't use eggs or anything else to stabilize the ice cream, they quickly deteriorate in the freezer.

There's loads of ways round this using fancy sugars and stabilizers. But most people don't have easy access to these ingredients.

What I'm looking for...

I wanted to make a no-cook ice cream that didn't compromise either taste or texture and could be made with ingredients that are easy to find in most supermarkets. So it should:

  1. taste great (of clean dairy cream rather than of over sweetened fat)
  2. not become icy straight away in the freezer
  3. be made from easily available ingredients.

Not easy, it's true. Almost every recipe on the internet (and to be honest, there aren't many that don't use the aforementioned Philadelphia base), uses far more cream than milk and I know that means they're going to be too fatty for me.

However I did find a different Philadelphia base recipe in the book Ices: The Definitive Guide by Liddell and Weir which actually uses more milk than cream:

  • 1.5 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cream
  • ¼ cup of sugar
  • ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk

So I tried this and it was pretty good. Clean and milky with a nice firm body. The condensed milk gave the ice cream a slightly chewy texture and a very subtle cooked flavor that was in fact, quite nice.

Condensed Milk

The liquid sugar in the condensed milk no doubt helped control the ice crystals. However it was still a little bit icy. And it did get more icy, quite quickly in the freezer. And in the end, I decided the condensed milk gave the ice cream slightly too much chew. It was a bit toffee like.

Condensed milk

My condensed milk is 8% fat 55% sugar and 7% proteins 

But this recipe was good starting point. All I had to do was reduce the condensed milk and control the iciness. The thing is, removing some of the condensed milk was actually likely to increase the iciness. I had to replace it with something else.

Skimmed Milk Powder

Enter skimmed milk powder (SMP). It's easily available in the supermarket, it will replace the milk solids from the condensed milk and by soaking up the water in the milk, it should also help control the iciness.

Skimmed milk powder

SMP will add body and control iciness

But by replacing some of the condensed milk with SMP, we're also reducing the sugar level. On one hand, this is great as it allows us to taste more of the dairy flavors. But on the other hand, less sugar means the ice cream will freeze much harder in the freezer.

We could add a tablespoon of vodka to help keep the ice cream softer in our freezers. But I just leave it out a good five minutes before I serve it, to soften up. And this works fine!

Extra Stabilization?

Any ice crystals that melt while left out, will re-freeze as bigger crystals back in the freezer. I wanted to control this by adding extra stabilization. And with luck, this should also improve the general smoothness and creaminess of the ice cream. But what to use?

Eggs are what we'd usually use. And while there are recipes that use raw eggs in un-cooked ice cream, I didn't think it would appeal to many people! The thing is, most other stabilizers require heating to trigger them. For example, cornstarch, tapioca starch, locust bean gum all need to be heated or they won't work.

Xanthan Gum

The only ones I can think of that don't are Guar Gum and Xanthan Gum. While Guar Gum can still be pretty difficult to get hold of, Xanthan Gum is often used by vegans as an egg replacement in baking. So it should be in the health section of most big supermarkets. Or if not, your local health food shop.

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum works at cold temperatures

With Xanthan Gum a little goes a long way. We don't need much and in fact, if you do use too much it can give the ice cream a slightly slimy texture. So be careful! Your measurement need to be exact.

You don't have to use any Xanthan Gum, but it will definitely make this ice cream better. It will be smoother coming out of the ice cream maker and will take longer to go icy once it's stored in your freezer.

Vanilla

I actually prefer this base without any vanilla. But if you want that flavor don't add too much or it will overpower those dairy flavors. And always use either vanilla beans or proper vanilla extract. The vanilla essence stuff is artificial and nasty! 

Anyway, the recipe...


Print Recipe
The Perfect No-Cook Ice Cream Base
This is the perfect no-cook vanilla ice cream for the lazy ice creamer! Just mix everything together and add to your ice cream maker. More milk than cream gives it a nice clean taste. The skimmed milk powder, sweetened condensed milk and Xanthan Gum give it a smooth texture, a firm, slightly chewy body and a creamy mouth-feel. Just like all the best ice cream, but with none of the faff!
Perfect no-cook ice cream base
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Perfect no-cook ice cream base
Instructions
  1. Add the skimmed milk powder, sugar, xanthan gum and salt to a bowl and mix thoroughly. If the xanthan gum is not completely mixed into the sugar before we add the liquids, it won't work properly.
  2. Add the milk, cream and sweetened condensed milk to the bowl. They should all have been thoroughly pre-chilled in the fridge.
  3. If you're using a vanilla bean, cut it open and scrape the beans into the mixture. If you're using vanilla extract, just mix it in.
  4. Blend the mixture for 1 minute. It should start to thicken up to reach the consistency of a thin custard.
  5. Place the mixture in your fridge or freezer. This is an optional step. But the colder you can get it before you put in the ice cream maker, the better the final texture.
  6. Place the container that you're going to store the ice cream in in the freezer to pre-chill. This will reduce melting while you're transferring the ice cream to the freezer.
  7. Prepare your ice cream maker. If you're using a compressor machine, turn it on for 15 minutes to pre-chill before you add the mixture.
  8. If you've left the mixture in the freezer for too long and it's started to freeze slightly, give it another quick blend.
  9. Add the mixture to the ice cream maker and turn it on. The ice cream will be ready after 20 to 30 minutes, when it starts to come away from the sides of the bowl and has the consistency of soft serve or whipped cream.
    Knox Gear ice cream after 30 minutes
  10. Stop the machine and quickly transfer the ice cream to your pre-cooled container. Place a layer of cling film or baking paper over the surface of the ice cream, to discourage ice crystals developing. Then add the lid and place the container in the back of your freezer for 2 to 4 hours to harden up.
  11. Remove the ice cream from the freezer and allow to soften for 5 minutes before serving.
    Softened ice cream
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