HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Home-made ice cream for those without special machines

  • m

I do not own an ice-cream maker, and so look envious at those who make their own wonderful ice cream with neat flavours. However, we were recently invited over for ice cream, and we were taught a very nice method for making ice cream.

Our friend uses a food processor. He takes mixes of frozen fruits, and processes them until they are tiny little pieces. Then he adds heavy cream and a little bit of sugar, and processes this mixture until he gets a slightly chunky fruity ice cream.

I was highly dubious when he gave me the bowl, but within 5 minutes, I had scarfed the whole thing. It was delicious! It had small chunks of frozen fruit, but the rest of the ice cream was quite creamy and rich. And it was not overly sweet.

Have others used this technique?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I have not used this technique, but I will! This sounds like a better alternative than the ice cream maker for the clinically lazy (i.e. me), esp. if you're going to be eating the ice cream right away. I bet if you were to freeze it from there, the consistency might be a little harder than if it'd had more air churned into it.

    Wonder if it'd work with frozen bacon bits.... ;)

    1 Reply
    1. re: cimui

      Bacon bits! I was wondering how we could adjust this to make different flavours! Chocolate and bacon, some experimentation may be in order...

    2. I was wondering what I should do with the remainder of my alphonso mangoes...now I know! I just put my mangoes in the freezer so hopefully I can try this technique tonight. Thanks!

      2 Replies
      1. re: pinkprimp

        My friend said that if you use softer fruit, it is a good idea to add some fruit with a bit more solid pulp, like frozen melon and pineapple and stuff like that, he says it give a bit more body to the ice cream.

        1. re: moh

          Too bad I didn't see this until I tried it. Even though it was a little softer than expected, it was still a verrrry delicious treat!

        1. Heard of it, never tried, never thought it would really work. Interesting?

          1. Both my husband and I had Donvier ice cream makers when we were younger, and I may have to get another one soon (freeze inside, attach paddle, lid, handle, and ingredients; ice cream in 10 minutes or so). $10/ebay for the old style, $60 for the sleeker, new non-80's version on Amazon. No electricity needed (aside from freezer space).

            No equipment? Get some liquid nitrogen. Put ingredients in bowl, pour liquid nitrogen slowly on top while stirring with a wooden spoon. 3 minutes, tops. :)

            2 Replies
            1. re: Caralien

              The huge advantage to moh's method is that you don't have to mess around with slowly cooking the cream / egg / sugar mixture on the stove until it's thick enough to "coat the back of your spoon", a stage I still find hard to distinguish from the it-coats-the-back-of-your-spoon-but-it's-still-not-thick-enough stage, despite having made ice cream at least 20 times. You also don't have to cool any warm liquids or keep the inside of your ice cream maker in the freezer, etc, etc, etc....

              I own an ice cream maker, but this sound too good not to try! Also seems like a good method for making ice cream for diabetic friends, since any sugar substitute used doesn't have to be cooked.

              1. re: cimui

                I don't own a food processor, but agree that if one had that machine (or a great blender), it would make things simpler. There are methods I've read about which include freezing a blended mix, scraping it from the pan (aeration), packing, and refreezing, sometimes repeating the process for a smoother texture.

                When I used to make ice cream 20+ years ago, I never used a custard base (during the fat-free/sugar-free heydey of the 80's) and concentrated on skim-milk & yogurt bases thickened with seasonal fruits, which were more or less frozen smoothies.

            2. This is called ... a "frozen smoothie"

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                lol. that's what i was thinking. it's not ice cream, fer sure, although i'm sure it's delish.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  I can see why people call these a frozen smoothie. But I was surprised by how ice-creamy this concoction appeared to be. If you hadn't told me it wasn't regular ice cream, I would have not known the difference. I think that was why I was so impressed! I was initially very dubious.

                  Now that you call tit a frozen smoothie, I guess I can see the difference.

                2. Alright, so I made this, tonight... twice. Yeah, we liked it!

                  The first batch was fantastic. I used a high proportion of frozen fruit (strawberries and peaches), only a tiny bit of sugar, and only enough heavy cream to achieve a creamy texture. This stuff was great. It's a little more soft servy than ice creamy, but it tasted wonderful. We stuck it back in the freezer for a while, and the stuff we scraped off the side of the bowl had a pretty decent ice cream consistency.

                  The second batch (with frozen blueberries that I needed to use) I screwed up, I think because I added too much sugar and/or too much cream. It came out overly soft. It's in the freezer, now, so it remains to be seen how it firms up...

                  Overall, 1.75 thumbs up (with .25 deducted for my own, imperfect execution). I like the flavor and simplicity. I need to figure out how to tweak it for a more ice cream-like consistency.

                  Thank you, again, for the thoughtful tip, Moh!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: cimui

                    Cimui, I recall my friend saying that soft pulpy fruit like blueberries result in a softer product, and that he often added denser fruit to make the consistency right, something like peaches.

                    For us poor suckers without ice cream machines, this is a great option! (hubbie says we don't have room for an ice cream maker...)

                    1. re: moh

                      One can use 2 coffee cans also:
                      1. Put small coffee can into large coffee can
                      2. Fill large coffee can with crushed ice and salt (around the small can)
                      3. Add (cooled) ingredients to small can; seal.
                      4. Seal large can
                      5. Roll on a picnic table or any floor back and forth for about 20 minutes
                      6. Open and eat

                      I asked my neice what colour ice cream she wanted, and she replied "purple". I took some fresh blueberries, pureed those with milk and sugar, then added them to the ice cream can (her little brother held his interest in the rolling process more than she).

                  2. Made a batch tonight. Very good, though I would suggest sweetening with either honey or a simple syrup. The sugar was a little grainy. Also, a little vanilla is a nice touch!

                    1. I made this tonight with frozen strawberries and it was fantastic! And so easy. Thanks for sharing this technique!

                      1. I blend fruit with low fat vanilla ice cream, eat some of it as a smoothie, and freeze the rest for later.

                        I have also blended peanut butter with Cool Whip and frozen it. Don't knock it till you try it, and don't use more than 2 or 3 Tbsp peanut butter to a whole container of THAWED Cool Whip, THEN FREEZE. Also peppermint extract, chocolate chips, and green food coloring (optional) mixed in Cool Whip makes mint chocolate chip "ice cream." The Cool Whip has to be refrigerator thawed in order to mix well, then freeze the concoction for ice cream.

                        1. I used to put frozen bananas through my Champion juicer, sometimes with other frozen fruit. Great healthy substitute for dairy-based frozen dessert.

                          My sister made frozen pumpkin dessert with her Champion, added a little maple syrup.