Homemade ice creams with no appliance required

Like making jams and jellies, pickling and other forms of preserving, making ice cream has both a nostalgic connotation and affinity for the eat-local/artisan-food movement.

As Jan Roberts-Dominguez pointed out in this week’s A Fresh Approach column, home cooks have been using ice-cream makers since the early 1900s. But we can only imagine that those cooks weren’t churning up flavors like strawberry-candied jalapeno, pink grapefruit-tarragon, sweet corn, chevre and even prosciutto — all popular with boutique producers in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to recent food stories.

Here in the Rogue Valley, we’ve been tasting gourmet — some outrageous — ice-cream flavors since Scott Harding’s Artik Creamery came on the scene about two years ago. While Harding dabbles in white pepper and tomato-basil ice creams, some of his most popular flavors are Meyer lemon, kaffir lime and honey-mint with dark-chocolate flakes.

Artik has been conspicuously absent, however, from farmers markets this year. Foodies can infer that bigger plans are in the works for Artik, previously produced at Talent’s Rent-A-Kitchen and featured in A la Carte.

But as Jan explained, ice cream is well within most home cooks’ abilities. And not all hope is lost if you lack an ice-cream machine. These methods gathered by McClatchy News Service may not yield the smoothest-textured ice cream, but they may spark your interest enough to invest in an actual appliance or expend the effort to power a crank-handled bucket.

The first requires just resealable, plastic freezer bags for equipment. Thoroughly mix 1 cup heavy cream, 1⁄2 cup whole milk, 1⁄3 cup sugar and 3⁄4 teaspoon vanilla or other type of flavoring (add bits of crumbled chocolate or other goodies to ramp up flavor). Pour the mixture into a medium-sized, zip-close bag. Seal the bag, squeezing out excess air, which disrupts the freezing process. If desired, double-bag the mixture.

Fill a larger, zip-close bag with 21⁄2 pounds of ice and 11⁄2 pounds of rock salt. Place bag with the ice-cream mixture inside the ice bag and zip up the ice bag carefully. Throw the ice bag back and forth, up and down, behind your back — whatever it takes to keep it mixing. In 15 minutes or so, you’ve got a bag o’ ice cream.

The second method is accomplished with a tightly-sealing jar that can hold up in the freezer. In such a jar (perhaps the Ball brand), combine 1 cup milk, 2 tablespoons sugar and 1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Shake to blend. Place jar in freezer for about 31⁄2 hours, shaking it every 30 minutes until the mix is sufficiently ice cream-like.

Or if you want to go even bigger, here are some more recipes courtesy of McClatchy. The first fudges the need for an ice-cream machine with a blender or food processor.

Pineapple Ice Cream

1 (12-ounce) can frozen pineapple-juice concentrate

2 cups heavy cream

1⁄2 cup granulated sugar

In a medium bowl, combine all the ingredients with 1⁄2 cup water and stir until sugar is dissolved. Let stand for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir again to make sure sugar is completely dissolved. Scrape mixture into a shallow pan, cover and freeze.

Break frozen mixture into small chunks with a fork, then process in a food processor or blender until smooth. If some frozen chunks are stubborn, continue processing; extra processing makes ice cream smoother and creamier.

Serve immediately as a slushy spoon drink, or scrape into a container and refreeze until firm enough to scoop, at least 3 hours. If ice cream freezes solid, let it soften in refrigerator for 15 minutes or longer, or carefully soften in microwave on defrost setting a few seconds at a time. For best flavor and texture, serve within 3 days.

Makes about 1 quart.

MCT photo

Roasted-Strawberry and Buttermilk Ice Cream

1 pint strawberries, hulled and sliced 1⁄2 inch thick

1 cup granulated sugar, divided

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 1⁄2 cups whole milk, divided

2 tablespoons cornstarch

2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened

1⁄8 teaspoon fine sea salt

1 1⁄4 cups heavy cream

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1⁄4 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375 F. Combine the strawberries and 1⁄3 cup of the sugar in an 8-by-8-inch glass or ceramic baking dish, stirring gently to mix well. Roast in preheated oven for 8 minutes or until just soft. Let cool slightly.

In a food processor or blender, puree berries with the lemon juice. Measure 1⁄2 cup puree and set aside; refrigerate rest for another use. (You’ll have more than enough for another batch of ice cream; recipe makes this amount because berries must fill baking dish, or they will dry out or scorch while roasting.)

In a bowl, mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. With a wooden spoon, stir together the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.

In a 4-quart saucepan, combine the cream and corn syrup with remaining milk and sugar. Bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat, then boil for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and gradually whisk in cornstarch slurry.

Return pan to medium-high heat; bring to a boil and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Gradually mix hot milk mixture into cream cheese until smooth. Add reserved berry puree and the buttermilk; blend well.

Pour mixture into a 1-gallon, zip-close freezer bag; submerge sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice if necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.

Pour mixture into canister of an ice-cream machine and churn until thick and creamy. Pack ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in coldest part of freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.

Makes 4 servings.

— Recipe adapted by McClatchy News Service from “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home,” by Jeni Britton Bauer (Artisan, 2011).

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    Sarah Lemon

    Sarah Lemon covers the Rogue Valley’s food scene with an enthusiasm that rivals her love of cooking. Her blog mixes culinary musings and milestones with tips and recipes you won’t find in the Mail Tribune’s weekly A la Carte section. When ... Read Full
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