Why I tried this recipe
Okay this recipe does not actually involve any baking. But since Singapore only experiences 2 weather conditions – rain or sunshine, I’m game to have some ice cream in either ways. Ice cream provides the perfect respite from the heat on sunny days. While on rainy days, all I want to do is just snuggle somewhere cosy and eat something comforting like ice cream.
Hence, I thought of trying to make ice cream in my home kitchen. Who knows, it could possibly match up or surpass the store bought brands.
I learnt about BraveTart (aka Stella Parks) while searching for recipes online. After reading her award winning book, ‘BraveTart: Iconic American Desserts’ and her articles posted on SeriousEats, I was amazed by the depth of knowledge she displayed through her words. She is serious about her dessert recipes and definitely deserved all the praises for her book. Hence, I was excited to try one of her recipes to see if I could truly make some vanilla ice cream without an ice cream machine.
Experiences from trying this No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
I did not want to make a big batch of ice cream since I do not eat it too often. Hence, I scaled Stella’s recipe down proportionally to use only 1 egg instead of the 3 called for in the original recipe.
As such, I ended up using:
60g heavy cream
15g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla essence
Whenever I see a recipe just stating just ‘sugar’ in its ingredient list, I always swap it with half the amount of fine sugar by weight. I usually find this level of sweetness just right for me and it has worked for me most of the time.
The steps for this no churn vanilla ice cream sounded doable: whip the cream to stiff peaks. Heat the egg, sugar, salt over a water bath. Whip the egg mixture until thick. Fold in the whipped cream to the egg mixture. Fold in the vanilla. Freeze the ice cream and enjoy it later.
Stella stated that the eggs should be cooked to 71°C (160°F) before being whipped. This helps ensure the eggs are fully cooked and also encourages it to volumise when whipped. As such, I would strongly encourage using a thermometer. It would be extremely difficult to tell when the precise temperature is reached just by sight.
Oh and one more thing, DO NOT SCALE DOWN THE RECIPE.
Doing so may leave you in danger of encountering 2 potential pitfalls along the way.
- Whipping such a small amount of heavy cream with a machine leaves it at very high risk of over whipping.
- It would be difficult to whip such a small quantity of egg since the electric mixer may be unable to reach the corners of the bowl.
Those were the 2 biggest problems I faced when I scaled down the recipe.
Overall thoughts about BraveTart's No Churn Vanilla Ice cream
My ice cream did not turn out well. It tasted like a frozen eggy custard which was not necessarily a bad thing. However, I usually associate vanilla ice cream with having a plain taste and thus be the perfect blank canvas for add-ons. My vanilla ice cream did not taste plain in any way.
Also, it turned out icy and hard. After reading some sources, I deduced that it would be likely because my cream was whipped incorrectly. It was not airy enough and was excessively liquidy. The excess liquid contributed to the development of ice crystals in the mixture during the freezing process.
If you are interested to read more about some about troubleshooting home made ice creams, you may refer to the following links from finecooking.com and dreamscoops.com.
As such, I would rate BraveTart’s No Churn Vanilla Ice cream recipe as follows:
(1 being the poor, and 5 being the best)
Overall, this recipe is not for the novice cook. I would strongly encourage you to have the appropriate equipment ready before embarking on this recipe. Meanwhile, I’ll be sticking to the store bought ice cream to satisfy my ice cream cravings for now.
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BraveTart's No-Churn Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe
- Digital thermometer
- Stand mixer
- 170 g heavy cream 3/4 cup
- 3 large eggs
- 100 g sugar 1/2 cup
- 1/4 tsp coarse salt
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds stiff peaks; the time will vary depending on the power of a given mixer, so keep a close eye on the process. Transfer to a large, non-reactive container (this will be used to hold the ice cream later on), then cover and refrigerate until needed. Rinse the bowl and whisk, then wipe dry before re-using in step 2.
- Fill a large pot with a few inches of water; bring to a boil, then lower heat to maintain a simmer, and a steady supply of steam. Place eggs, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer, and stir with a flexible spatula to combine. Set bowl over the steaming pot, using a crumpled strip of foil formed into a ring to act as a booster seat so that the bowl does not touch the bottom of the pot. Cook, stirring and scraping constantly, until warmed to 160°F (71°C), about 5 minutes. This should not take significantly longer; major delays simply indicate insufficient heat/lack of steam.
- Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, and add the vanilla extract. Whip on high speed until the mixture is foamy, more than quadrupled in size, and thick enough to briefly mound up like soft-serve ice cream when dropped from the whisk, between 5 to 8 minutes depending on the horsepower of the mixer.
- Fold in the prepared whipped cream, working gently to incorporate it as thoroughly as possible without deflating or overmixing the base. Scrape into the now-chilled container, cover, and freeze until firm enough to scoop—approximately 0°F. The time required will vary depending on the size and material of the container, but expect 6 to 8 hours. Once cold, scoop like ice cream and serve in chilled dishes.