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lactose free frozen desserts?

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has anyone had any experience making frozen desserts in ice cream machines using Lactaid or other lactose-free milk substitutes?

i'm hoping to make "ice cream" for a lactose-intolerant family member, but all of the recipes that i have come across involve heavy cream, for which i have not been able to find a lactose-free substitute.

is it possible to make a creamy dessert using only milk (and lactose-free milk, at that)?

any ideas/advice/recipes would be much appreciated.


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  1. I've made pies with lactaid milk... with some success... but haven't tried ice cream. I would love to know how it comes out if you try it.

    1. For what it's worth, I think ice cream recipes containing only heavy cream come out very strange. Half and half would be a better bet, if Lactaid makes that.

      Is the person sensitive to evaporated milk? A few people on this board, myself included, have had great luck using that instead of any fresh milk.

      I also make banana ice cream using bananas and sweetened condensed milk. Again, it depends how sensetive your relative is.

      As a general tip, I'd go ahead and try the Lactaid whole milk or half and half products, but pick a recipe that's low on dairy to begin with. Good luck, and do report back if you try it!

      1. Just remember that heavy cream has far less lactose per unit of volume than milk. Heavy cream has about half the grams of sugar of an equivalent volume of milk. Because it is the fat that is skimmed off the milk, as it were.

        Lactose intolerance tends to be much higher, then, with milk as compared with the richest cream.

        1. b
          babette feasts

          What about a yogurt sorbet using goat or sheep's milk yogurt?

          1. One doesn't hear the term "ice milk" much anymore, apparently the FDA changed labelling regs and allowed it to be called "low fat ice cream" which of course sounds much better to most people, so the manufacturers switched to it almost overnight. But if if you Google it, you'll come up with a number of recipes. Also milk sherbets, as opposed to sorbets which never have dairy in them, might be a good term to search on. I've never used Lactaid for a frozen dessert, but it generally behaves like milk in cooking, so I don't see why it wouldn't work.

            1. Thanks for all the replies. The "ice cream" turned out quite well; yummy and a lovely light consistency. I don't enjoy Lactaid on its own, because it tastes too sweet to me, but I thought it worked quite well in this dessert. Most importantly, the lactose-intolerant, ice-cream-loving birthday boy approved!

              We used a Cuisinart ice-cream maker and the following recipe, adapted from an epicurious recipe that called for lowfat milk and no cream.

              Mint Chocolate Chip "Ice Cream"

              1/2 cup sugar
              1 tablespoon cornstarch
              2 1/3 cups whole milk (I used Lactaid)
              2 large egg yolks, beaten lightly
              Pinch of salt
              1 tablespoon peppermint extract
              1 ounce fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped (I used Scharffen Berger)

              In a saucepan whisk together sugar and cornstarch and whisk in milk. Bring mixture to a boil over moderate heat, stirring frequently, and boil, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Remove pan from heat.

              In a small bowl stir about one fourth milk mixture into yolks and pour into remaining milk mixture, whisking constantly. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until slightly thickened and a thermometer registers 160°F. (Do not boil mixture or it will curdle.) Add salt, then stir in mint extract and transfer mixture to a bowl. Chill mixture about 1 hour, or until cool.

              Freeze cooled milk mixture in an ice-cream maker and with motor running add chopped chocolate during last few minutes of freezing time.

              Makes 3 1/2 cups "ice cream"...for substantially less money than the premade lactose-free ice cream in the supermarket!

              1. I've been experimenting with this for a several months. it is great. I've had trouble with fresh fruit curddling the milk. so I blend the fruit (blue berries are great) and then I nuke them for a minute. I add them to the chilled custard, and there isn't a curddling problem anymore.
                a great simple chololate ice cream is 2 cups of whole lactaid, 1 valrone 72% chocolate bar and 2 egg yokes cooked like custard. it's almost health food.
                I've also tried adding some half and half and crushing some lataid pills in it. I think 1'2 a cup and 2 or 3 pills. but I'd like to hear what you others come up with.