I know what you're thinking. Moonshine? Isn't that disgusting? Not quite. I have been meaning to make no-churn vanilla ice cream for a while now. Since the big move, we have found it hard to find large basic tubs of ice cream. America makes you want everything in plus sizes. Supermarkets within walking distance in our area are more like the glorified 7-Eleven stores, selling varieties in small tubs with all kinds of premium flavours priced with a convenience tax. Somedays you just want a big massive 2 litre tub of the good stuff! Vanilla ice cream is one of those super versatile staples to stick in the freezer. Because, root beer float. Aaaaaand brownies.
It doesn't quite do it when you use a premium gimmick flavour like Matcha Salted Truffle Mango Parfait. Sometimes there's just too much nonsense.
I did make a no-churn vanilla ice cream back in Miami last year, with a basic 3 ingredient recipe - using sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream and vanilla beans. Yet the texture came out super icy, super frozen and difficult to scoop. Even though I followed the recipe to the T and used a machine to whip the cream till stiff peaks form.
And then I noticed all of Nigella Lawson's ice cream recipes had alcohol in them. Turns out, alcohol is the science behind the right texture! All along, I thought my favourite food goddess was just being adorably naughty, spiking all her desserts. I mean, I would.
Science tells us that alcohol, particularly spirits like bourbon and such liqueur lowers the freezing point when added to the mixture, which is the magic bean to these no-churn ice cream!
But therein lies another new problem. Spirits aren't exactly cheap in Hong Kong. Damn it. I rummaged through my stash to see if I had any of those small bottles I had bought as souvenirs that one time we were at duty free in Costa Rica... And suddenly it hit me. I have a jar of moonshine sitting in my fridge that I had forgotten about! I have been saving it for my best friend when he comes to Hong Kong so he could try some moonshine I got last year on a road trip to Orlando. And I remember very distinctly, this particular moonshine had very strong sweet notes of buttercream cake. It would be perfect, right?
I'm not sure if anyone's ever used moonshine in an ice cream before. But it certainly sounds bad ass. I'm sure I'm not the first. And so, 6 hours later, we had a really rich, fluffy, creamy vanilla ice cream texture that had none of the alcoholic taste. Scooping it was so effortless. The ice cream was soft but held it's shape like a charm. Sheer witchcraft! And I didn't even use heavy cream. All I could find was whipping cream, which, turns out, works too! The recipe worked so well. In fact, the ice cream stayed in shape on the plate without melting as quickly (as most ice cream would) right next to the warm brownie on the plate, that I made while waiting for the ice cream to set in the freezer... It's been a day of baking bliss...
Such a super easy recipe. I'm never buying vanilla ice cream again.
The only catch with making this, is that you definitely need a mixer. At least an electric hand held mixer that will beat the cream into the proper stiff peak form. You can try using a hand beater and do it the manual way but it will be painful and takes forever. Not the best way to build arm muscles. We happen to have a kitchen aid, which was one of the best investments ever. I got while it was on sale at Walmart last November, literally a week before we due for the big move! Totally worth the shipping.
So, here's the super simple recipe,
Creamy No-Churn Vanilla Ice CreamINGREDIENTS
- 14 oz / 397 g Sweetened Condensed Milk
- 18 oz / 500 g Heavy or Whipping Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Liqueur/Spirits (Bourbon/Vodka/Moonshine)
- 2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
- In a mixer bowl, whip heavy cream on high speed, till stiff peaks form..
- In a seperate bowl, add sweetened condensed milk, liqueur and vanilla extra. Mix well.
- Gently fold whipped cream, using a spatula, into the condensed milk, liqueur and vanilla extract mixture, till combined. You can also use the flat beater attachment that comes with your mixer to fold the mixture on low to medium speed. Do not whip or beat to combine as this will flatten out the air in the whipped cream.
- Pour combined mixture into a freezer safe loaf tin. The tin I used is roughly 9.5 (L) x 3.0 (H) x 5.5 (D) in inches. This recipe fills it comfortably.
Takes , Serves 6 or more.
*Any liqueur that has a neutral taste will work for a vanilla based ice cream.
Final thoughts: This is a great starter base for home made ice cream. I'm told that once you master this, you can try different flavours with the appropriate liqueur to go along, including adding nuts, chocolate chip and anything else fancy.
Asian Australian food adventures in and out of the kitchen. Around the world. Like an oyster searching for it's pearl.