It’s funny how three magical little words can put a smile on someone’s face, no matter how hard their day has been…want ice cream? The cool and creamy treat that can defeat all ills, believe it or not, can be yours without cautionary tales of curdled custard or a clunky counter top churner, with just three simple ingredients.
Of course, as a fan of embellishment myself, I tend to add in a little extra oomph and up the ingredient count, but I reserve the right to call this no-churn ice cream recipe a three ingredient treasure, capable of execution in two when in a bind. “What sorcery is this?” I ask myself every single time I make a batch and I genuinely don’t know if you’ll love or hate me after letting you in on it, but I am full sure you’ll be enamoured with the finished product.
What makes up this heroic trio of ingredients? Is there some impossible to pronounce rarity that will cost you your first born involved? Nope, just three simple, affordable, every day items you may already have at home – double cream, vanilla (extract, bean paste or pods – never ever essence) and a tin of sugary, milky magic.
Condensed milk – the tin in your cupboard that screams delectable possibility is the key, earth shattering ingredient in this recipe. Lovingly nurturing a custard for therapy is a time luxury I can ill afford these days sadly. This simple, easy to acquire ingredient plays the role of custard in our mix – sweet, unctuously thick and entirely free from the threat of scrambled eggs.
In this production, condensed milk is our Meryl Streep and she’s picking up every award going for her portrayal of the sweet but no nonsense heroine who breaks the mould and escapes the banoffee pie fate (to an extent, see below) usually reserved for those from her side of the pantry.
Along with a cautious and tender folding technique, these three ingredients somehow evade the dreaded crystallisation which scuppers many a homemade ice cream attempt and requires no supervision or agitation during the freezing period. The ultimate low maintenance ice cream, this beautiful creation is the dessert equivalent of a supermodel’s “I woke up like this” snap.
Behold, a recipe which yields guaranteed happiness.
– 500ml double cream, cold
– 397g sweetened condensed milk
– 2 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
1. In a small bowl, stir together the condensed milk and vanilla.
2. In a stand mixer or large bowl with a hand held electric mixer, or plain old whisk if you feel like an arm workout, whip your cream to semi-stiff peaks – not on the verge of butter but firmly holding a peak on the whisk.
3. With great care and a gentle touch, softly fold the condensed milk into the whipped cream, retaining as much volume as possible.
4. Place in a lined loaf tin or even leave it in a ziplock bag and pop in to the freezer for 6-8 hours or ideally overnight. Forget about it. Or think about it every hour on the hour until it is in a bowl before you. You know, Be chill about it.
5. Once your ice-cream base is frozen, you can swirl through mix-ins like the suggestions below.
I have happily scooped the base recipe, unadorned, into cones, on to brownies, and in to my mouth straight as well as transforming (sounds arduous but bear with me) it into desserts far more impressive than the sum of their parts.
Pop this summer cinch recipe in your back pocket, whip up a plain batch and then allow the possibilities, unending ideas and flavour combinations to take hold.
– Pop it in an 8 inch round cake tin, top with dulce de leche and toasted almonds and slap whatever fancy moniker you like on it – semifreddo, frozen almond torte – either way your friends will be awed.
– Birds of a feather flock together, so my three (if you leave out the chocolate chips) ingredient Peanut Butter Cookie Recipe makes the ideal bookends for a scoop of no churn ice cream, just replace the peanut butter icing with ice cream et voila, one of the greatest handheld inventions of the 21st century – iPhone 7 eat your heart out.
– Freeze your ice cream in a lined square 8×8 baking tin, then cut into rectangular bars and coat with chocolate! Add a layer or peanut butter before coating to make your own snickers style ice cream bars. Lord have mercy.
Bourbon and Maple Pecan:
– Toast 100g of pecans in medium hot dry pan until the aroma fills the air, shaking regularly to avoid burning and after a minute or so add in two teaspoons of maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt, swirling to coat the nuts. Remove from the pan and set aside to cool fully.
– Whip your cream to stiff peaks as above and add in two tablespoons of bourbon to the condensed milk and vanilla mix.
N.B: Don’t be tempted to add any more (advice I never envisaged giving) as alcohol will hinder the freezing process.
– Fold your boozy condensed milk into the whipped cream and remember, gently does it.
– Freeze as above and thank me later.
– As above, but add a 2 tsp cinnamon to the condensed milk base.
– Once frozen, scoop into a bowl and mix in 120g Lotus biscuits bashed into chunks.
– Swirl through half a jar of Biscoff spread and spread the mix back into the lined loaf tin or bag.
– Place back in the freezer for as long as you an bear to wait.
– Ascend to heaven upon tasting.
Salted Chocolate and Hazelnut:
– Melt 100g dark chocolate and mix into the condensed milk.
– Allow to cool fully before folding into the whipped cream and freeze as above.
– Toast your hazelnuts in a dry pan over medium high heat until toasty and sprinkle over sea salt flakes before allowing to cool.
– Fold your chopped hazelnuts into the finished ice cream and pop back into the freezer to firm back up.
– Into the finished base recipe, mix chopped strawberries and meringue pieces, place back in the freezer to firm up and enjoy summer in a bowl.
Dulce de Leche
– Double up on cans of condensed milk and pour one into an ovenproof Pyrex dish, cover with tinfoil and place in a large roasting pan before pouring in enough boiling water to reach halfway up the dish – aka a bain marie.
– Place in the oven at 160c for two hours, stirring two to three times.
– When the time is up, your condensed milk will have become thick and caramelised, in other words, dulce de leche! If it looks curdled, whisk vigorously until smooth, and allow to cool completely.
– Alternatively, buy a can of condensed milk caramel.
– Swirl your cooled dulce de leche into the finished base ice-cream and mix in 120g crushed chocolate digestive biscuits, 2 ripe bananas, chopped and a handful of crispy banana chips.
– Place back in the freezer until firm.
Growing up with the name Darina, I was constantly asked if I could cook like my namesake. With that as the ultimate motivator, I realised baked goods make excellent bribes and an obsession was born! I am the only person to have contested both Masterchef and the Great Irish Bake off, fuelling my desire to focus on food in a serious way. Working with TheTaste allows me to satisfy this craving and marries my food fascination with my love of writing, ranting and cooking. You can catch me in the act on TV3’s Six O’Clock Show Kitchen.