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An absurdly simple dessert that tasted good - instant ice cream (for lack of a better name)

Last night, with some unexpected company for supper, I was caught holding the bag for anything remotely dessert-ish. We'd finished our delicious artichokes and shrimp salad but I was stumped for a finale when I excused myself from the table to rummage around the kitchen. Whatever it was going to be, I knew I'd be whispering "FHB" in my husband's ear.

There are always cookies in the freezer because I put them there hoping to forget about them. Ha! I know exactly where to look (behind the wheatberries and whole wheat flour -- I know my husband will never find them there!) I'd been thinking about making some quick ice cream - the machine's innards are always in the freezer - but realized it would take too long.

There were fresh pineapple spears in the fridge. In the freezer, I found a bag of frozen raspberries ...... I dumped them into the FP, added sugar to taste and began pulsing. Adding about 1/2 C of milk , OMG! I had almost instant ice cream! It was delicious.

Maybe everyone else in the civilized world already knew this secret but I was blown away by it. Simple, fast and delicious - who could ask for more from a 9th inning, 2 outs Save!

Today, I made a run to the store and stashed bags of frozen strawberries, raspberries, peaches and blueberries in case of future emergencies. I noticed the weights vary from 12 to 16 oz and cannot imagine this makes one whit of difference to the final product. Add enough sugar to sweeten the fruit and enough milk to make an ice cream-like mass. Whether it's 1/2 C of milk or not wouldn't be important. What's important is knowing I'm only about 3 minutes away from ALWAYS having a dessert at the ready. I just had to share this.

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  1. you basically made a thick smoothie...

    3 Replies
    1. re: goodhealthgourmet


      For a minute there Sherri got me really excited with the title of her post ...

      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

        Yep, but it works, put it in a fancy wine glass, a couple of cool cookies and presto!!

        My trick that I just posted on another thread I always have some frozen fruit, just as a go to, raspberries, strawberries, peaches, etc. Just in case and always 1 pt of vanilla ice cream.

        You can take ice cream, melt in micro for 1 minute, add chopped fruit nuts, chocolate chips, crunched up cookies, anything and then put in freezer for 30 minutes. Amazing quick special desert. Again serve over some store bought cake or cookies or just in a wine class and a few cookies and topping and the fresh fruits or cookies make it wonderful and so easy.

        I love the fresh fruit in lots of stuff, Frozen fruit, brown sugar some rum and heated in the micro and served over store bought angel food cake is quick simple, healthy and great for a 2 minute desert when nothing else.

        The pear slushy is also great which someone mentioned, I like to add some mint and topped with some mint chocolate on top.

        1. re: kchurchill5

          Here's a tip in reverse. When pressed for time, a quick "creme anglaise" can be made by merely melting the best vanilla ice cream you can find to the not quite soupy stage. It will relax to a perfect consistance as you plate it.

          Use as you would the classic on a cold or room temp dessert/cake/fruit thingy.

          Time saved: 20-30 min plus refrigeration

          Never tried it warm so let me know.


      2. What a great trick! Something similar is to keep a couple cans of fruit in the freezer. I saw it on TV once, and worried that the cans might explode when I opened them, but they didn't. It makes a sorbet-slushy kind of thing. The directions were to use only fruit in heavy syrup, but i'm wondering why? Thickening power? The one advantage is that you could have fruits not normally in the freezer, like pears and pineapple (although you managed to deal with your fresh). I might have to try some fruit in natural juices just to see how it comes out.

        Thanks for sharing!

        5 Replies
        1. re: nemo

          high sugar content prevents it from freezing into a solid block.
          a really refreshing and super easy treat for the summer is a pear slushy made with canned pears in LIGHT syrup, crushed ice and blitzed in the blender.

          1. re: soniabegonia

            So are you implying that a lower sugar content would tend to freeze harder? I guess you need to get it out of the can, but I'd prefer to use light syrup or natural juices. Maybe I'll just try your trick with ice!

            1. re: nemo

              Absolutely -- the more sugar in the solution, the slushier it will remain when you freeze the can. If you want to use light or natural syrup, pour it out into a flat tray lined with saran wrap, or make very shallow ice cubes with it. Break up the frozen sheet before blending - if small enough, the ice cubes will be okay. Another method would be to dump the can and syrup/juice into a freezable container, then stir in a little alcohol of some sort, which will also keep it from freezing solid.

              1. re: nemo

                Yes, the lower the sugar content, the harder it will freeze. Water with zero sugar content freezes solid. Think of frozen orange juice concentrate which never freezes rock hard, at least in a normal freezer. Whereas, if you freeze plain OJ, it will be much harder due to lower sugar content. I don't know the chemistry behind it; just observation over the years. But I know it to be true!

                If you were to freeze plain strength juice in a can, getting it out could be a challenge (but maybe you could dip it in hot water to loosen it...) But a bigger concern would be that it would turn into a solid block and you'd ruin your blender and that's why the directions were so. But experiment with it! I doubt it would explode on you but the can might become bloated as the liquid freezes and expands. We used to freeze canned soda for long car trips so it would stay cold but then you could never set it down because the bottom was wobbly!

                1. re: soniabegonia

                  I guess the fun thing about this was that you just had a can in the freezer. And I haven't bought canned fruit in so long, I don't know if it has HFCS. Probably. Thanks for both your comments, greygarious and soniabegonia. I might as well just use fresh fruit and make a granita!

          2. Sounds great, and relatively healthy for a dessert! And another fun way to use my (fairly-newly-acquired) food processor- thanks for sharing :)

                1. re: janetms383

                  FHB = Family Hold Back, as in there's not enough to go around so please take a very small helping to leave more for the guests.

                    1. re: Sherri

                      Wow, hadn't heard that outside my grandmother's family...

                  1. Even easier, keep a can of sweetened condensed milk in the fridge or freezer and use that instead of milk and sugar. I have not done this but since you can boil an unopened can to make dulce de leche I would think you could also freeze one.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: greygarious

                      Would you please elaborate on boiling an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk. I have not heard of it.

                      1. re: Joebob

                        This is the most recent thread, with some links within it (there are more if you search): http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/606767

                        1. re: Joebob

                          It's a way of making dulce de leche (carmellized milk) but I'm pretty sure one has to poke a hole in the can first....

                        2. re: greygarious

                          Freezing sweetened condensed milk worked well. It doesn't get hard so it's easy to spoon out. I made a small amount of ice cream using a couple of soup spoons' worth, frozen blueberries, and the dregs of a jar of blueberry preserves. I'd have added milk or cream if I'd had any on hand. This is going to be SOP from now on! I live alone and don't eat ice cream often - buying small packages is not cost-effective but larger containers get crystals and turn gummy, even if I repack in small Rubbermaid containers. I prefer fruit flavors, and always wished stores carried pear or apricot ice cream - now I can make a cup whenever I choose. Thanks, Sherri!

                        3. Frozen bananas run through Champion Juicer makes a frozen desert indistinguishable from ice cream. Let bananas ripen until they have freckles. Then peel and place in bag to freeze. Top with cherry concentrate.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: phantomdoc

                            Was going to mention this but I see phantomdoc said it last year. Our favorite Champion juicer combo is frozen bananas, peaches, and strawberries. Best thing ever.

                          2. I have been making "ice cream" like this for years based on a Weight Watchers recipe. There are many variations. The key is using frozen fruit.

                            In the WW version you put the frozen fruit in the food processor, add a packet of non-sugar sweetener, a couple tablespoons of non-fat dry milk powder, then some ice cold water for consistency. This is a great low-cal, decadent tasting treat.

                            Another variation - frozen fruit, powdered sugar, heavy cream. High cal, but it makes ice cream when you need it.

                            1. I just rec'd a 12 cup FP and we have had dessert like this twice in the last week - we love it.

                              My question is... does anyone know if you can do a chocolate or vanilla 'ice cream' like dessert in the FP without freezing it first? I want the same instant gratification - and some days you just don't want fruit.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: sharon325

                                ice, evaporated milk, chocolate syrup or vanilla extract, and a few frozen banana chunks (you won't really taste the banana but it adds body/texture).

                              2. This uses the same principle (and it was an accident as well): 1 cup frozen mango, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup milk, cardamom. Add sweetener if you like. Just like ice cream.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: jeni1002

                                  this greek yogurt variation sounds wonderful. I always buy it for something and then have some left and this would be a great use. this prompted another thought -- maybe mangos are easier to cut if you freeze them first, or partially freeze them, and then cut. what do you think?

                                  1. re: karykat

                                    Good question - I am not sure. I typically use the frozen mango from Trader Joe's for this particular concoction, and my DH typically handles the fresh mango mess. But I will ask him to chime in.

                                  1. This is a good place for a tip about food processors: empty the bowl, then put the lid back on and whir for a second. Centrifugal force cleans off the blade, so you then can just clean off the sides of the bowl with a rubber scraper; no need to risk a cut while trying to get the puree off the blade. (Merci, Jacques Pepin!)

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. Frozen bananas and apple juice in the blender makes an instant non dairy healthy milkshake. Add other fruits for different flavors. The banana makes it all creamy.

                                      1. I thought this was going to be a post about Plastic Bag Ice Cream which I just read about recently...


                                        No ice cream machine necessary.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: soypower

                                          That's a pretty cool Mr. Science approach.

                                        2. Frozen bananas are good, too. Fruit is sweet enough there's no real need for sugar or milk.

                                          FHB? In my grandmother's family this abbreviation meant "family hold back" and PMK meant "plenty more in kitchen".

                                          1. I use a 16oz. bag of frozen blueberries, a 1/3 cup of Splenda, a 1/4 cup of dry, non fat milk, a pinch of salt and 16oz. of half & half.
                                            I dump everything in the food processor and process on hi speed for about 3-5 minutes. Unbelievably good!

                                            1. On "Daisy Cooks" there was an ethnic variation on eggnog which called for blending one can each of evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, and cream of coconut, and a little vanilla extract (no egg, optional rum/nutmeg). I'd think this would make a good "instant ice cream"

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: greygarious

                                                man oh man, that is some rich concoction. i'd try it! ;-). i like daisy cooks!

                                              2. i discovered this as i started to make a smoothie one summer with frozen banana and strawberry yogurt. made a really yummy softserve yogurt type thing. so good. i wonder if it would be worth it to try freezing yogurt into cubes.

                                                1. Ever since I welcomed a thermomix (Thermie!) into my kitchen icecream and sorbet is now only ever 2 minutes away. So much happiness in so little time.