Looking for delicious ice cream recipes you can make at home? Alice Hart has tried them all.
'Ice cream has long been a favorite of mine; I blame my mother, who used to pretend to work for the International Ice Cream Inspectorate whenever she visited an ice-cream parlor. She was so convincing that the staff would invariably start doling out tasters before the veneer cracked and the giggles gave her away.
'At about the same time, I inherited a fabulous ice-cream maker, sadly long-since deceased, that would churn the perfect dessert in around 20 minutes. If you have anything more than a passing interest, a machine of your own will be a superb investment. Apart from anything else, it's such a fabulous way to make use of seasonal fruit gluts.
'If not, stick to semifreddos, granitas and ice lollies, none of which need any help while they freeze.'
Below, we've listed our very favorite ice cream recipes – the perfect desserts for summer lunch recipes.
Toasted marzipan and peach semifreddo
Toasting marzipan brings out a rich flavor that works wonders with peaches.
Fills a large loaf tin
- 150g marzipan, chopped into 1cm cubes
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 200g golden caster sugar
- 500ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 ripe and fragrant peaches or nectarines
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Spread the marzipan cubes out on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and cook for 10 minutes, gently stirring halfway through, until golden brown. Set aside for 20 minutes to cool completely, then crumble into pieces.
2. Place the eggs, egg yolk and caster sugar in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the base isn't touching the water. Whisk for around 6 minutes, using a hand-held electric mixer, until thick and pale. Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes, whisking every now and then. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks and fold through the egg mixture, along with the vanilla extract, diced peaches or nectarines and toasted marzipan.
3. Spoon into a large loaf tin lined with baking paper or cling film. Wrap in cling film and freeze for at least 6 hours before turning out and slicing or scooping straight from the tin. This is excellent served in waffle cones with toasted flaked almonds scattered over the top.
Gooseberry and elderflower frozen yogurt
Elderflower and gooseberry make great partners and this refreshing iced yogurt shows them both off well. The addition of a little vodka or gin gives a smoother texture.
- 300g ripe gooseberries, topped and tailed
- 175g golden caster sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 150ml elderflower cordial
- 1 tbsp gin or vodka
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 250g Greek yoghurt
1. Put the gooseberries in a medium saucepan with the sugar, salt and 3 tablespoons of water. Heat through gently, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, until the sugar dissolves. Continue to simmer for another 5-10 minutes, until the gooseberries have burst. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
2. Blitz the cooled gooseberry mixture and the elderflower cordial together in a food processor until it forms a rough puree. With the machine running, pour the gin or vodka and lemon juice in and continue to process for 1-2 minutes, until the puree is quite smooth. Pass the mixture through a sieve and into a bowl, then stir in the yogurt.
3. Refrigerate for around 1 hour, until chilled, then pour the mixture into the chilled bowl of an ice-cream machine and churn, following the manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to an airtight container, cover and freeze for 3 hours, or overnight, until firm.
Coconut, pineapple and kaffir lime granita
Granita can be made with little more than a freezer, a fork and a shallow container. Tracking down kaffir lime leaves is more than worth it for the taste they impart; like the freshest and most fragrant lime zest imaginable.
- 120g caster sugar
- 4 fresh or frozen kaffir lime leaves, bruised
- Juice of 2 limes
- Pinch of salt
- 800g ripe fresh pineapple, peeled, cored and cubed, plus extra to serve
- 200ml reduced-fat coconut milk
1. Put the sugar into a saucepan with 100ml water. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar grains. Once dissolved, simmer for 2 minutes. Add the kaffir lime leaves and remove from the heat. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to cool, then stir in the lime juice and salt.
2. Meanwhile, blitz the pineapple and coconut milk together in a blender until completely smooth. Add to the lime syrup, stirring well to bruise the lime leaves some more (this releases their flavour). Chill for at least 30 minutes, then remove and discard the lime leaves.
3. Pour the mixture into a shallow, wide container and freeze for 30 minutes. Break up the crystals with a fork and return the container to the freezer. Continue to break up with a fork every 30 minutes, until it has formed ice crystals with no trace of slush left. This should take a minimum of 3 hours.
4. Serve in chilled glasses or bowls with finely sliced fresh pineapple.
White chocolate ice lollies with plum and star anise
You'll need 150ml lolly moulds and wooden sticks to make these grown-up ice lollies.
For the plum mixture:
- 60g golden caster sugar
- 1 whole star anise
- 300g ripe plums (about 6-7), stoned and roughly chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
For the white chocolate mixture:
- 150g good-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- 75ml condensed milk
- 200ml whole milk
- 150ml single cream
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
1. For the plum mixture, put the sugar in a medium saucepan with 75ml water. Heat through, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the star anise and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the plums. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the plums soften and begin to break down. Set aside to cool then discard the star anise.
2. Blitz the plum mixture in a small blender, until smooth, then stir in the lemon juice.This mixture can be made up to 4 days ahead of time and kept, covered, in the fridge.
3. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat the condensed milk, milk and cream in a small saucepan over a medium heat. As soon as it begins to boil, pour straight over the chocolate. Leave for 1 minute, then add the vanilla extract and stir until smooth (the chocolate should have melted). Cover the surface with cling film and leave to cool. Whisk well to emulsify, then transfer to a jug.
4. Have eight 150ml lolly moulds and wooden sticks ready. Pour a little chocolate mixture into the base of each mould, followed by a tablespoon of plum mixture. Pour in a slightly more generous helping of chocolate and another tablespoon of plum, repeating until you reach the top of each mould. Using a skewer or slim teaspoon handle, give the contents of each mould a brief stir to create a marble effect, being careful not to over do it and ruin the marbling. Freeze for 40 minutes, the put a wooden lolly stick into each mould - it should stand upright. Freeze for at least 3 hours until solid.
5. To turn out, dip the outside of each mould into very hot water for a couple of seconds and gently pull the lolly out by the stick (repeat if the lolly isn't budging).
Turkish Delight and rose ice cream
This is an incredibly delicious dessert, especially when served with fresh figs or raspberries. It's subtle and exotic and I just can't recommend it enough.
- 3 egg yolks
- 75g golden caster sugar
- 300ml double cream
- 400ml whole milk
- 150g rose Turkish delight cubes, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp rosewater
1. In a heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar with an electric whisk for a few minutes, until very thick and pale.
2. Meanwhile, put the cream and milk in a saucepan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Slowly pour the cream mixture onto the eggs, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
3. Rinse out the saucepan, then pour in the custard and 120g of the chopped Turkish delight. Cook gently over a low heat, stirring constantly, for about 10-15 minutes, until the Turkish delight has melted and the custard has become thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming and leave to cool, then chill for an hour, keeping the surface covered.
4. Stir the remaining Turkish delight into the chilled custard along with the rosewater. Transfer to an ice-cream maker and churn, following the instructions. Spoon into a chilled container, then cover and freeze for at least 4 hours until firm. Serve with fresh figs or raspberries, if liked. Alternatively, pour into a shallow container and follow the instructions on page 181 for making ice cream without a machine.
Perfect vanilla ice cream
This is my tried, tested and tweaked vanilla ice-cream recipe. Liven it up with any of the quick sauces on the right.
Makes about 1 litre
- 350ml double cream
- 500ml whole milk
- 1 plump vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped out
- Pinch of sea salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 100g golden caster sugar
1. Put the cream, milk, vanilla pod and seeds and the salt into a heavy-based saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then strain through a sieve, pressing firmly with a spoon to extract all the vanilla flavour.
2. Beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric whisk for a few minutes, until very thick and pale.
3. Return the infused cream mixture to the saucepan. Bring to just below boiling point, removing from the heat when the first bubble blips to the surface, and slowly pour onto the egg, whisking constantly to make the custard.
4. Rinse the saucepan and pour the custard into it. Over a very low heat, stir constantly, for about 10-15 minutes, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming, set aside and leave to cool.
5. Once cooled, chill for an hour keeping the surface covered. Pour the chilled custard into an ice-cream maker and churn according to the instructions. Spoon into a chilled container, cover and freeze for at least 4 hours, until firm.
Making ice cream without a machine
Alternatively, pour the chilled mixture into a shallow, freezable container and freeze uncovered for 2 hours until beginning to firm up. Beat with a balloon whisk to break up any ice crystals. Return to the freezer, uncovered, and whisk once an hour for the next three hours, then cover with a lid or cling film and freeze for 4 hours or until solid.
Classic chocolate-fudge sauce
- 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 150ml sweetened condensed milk
- 5 tbsp milk
- 25g slightly salted butter, softened
1. Put the chopped chocolate and condensed milk into a saucepan and heat through very gently, stirring often, until smooth. Don't be tempted to increase the heat or the chocolate will catch and go grainy. Beat in the milk, then the butter to make a smooth, glossy sauce. Serve while hot (it can be gently reheated).
Summer-berry balsamic sauce
- 500g summer berries (raspberries, blueberries and hulled and halved strawberries)
- 60g golden caster sugar
- ½ vanilla pod, split
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and set over a medium heat. Warm through, stirring gently, for 3-4 minutes, until the berries are just beginning to soften, but still hold their shape. Remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pod. Serve hot or cold.
Maple-butter sauce with toasted pecans
- 50g pecans
- 75g slightly salted butter
- 200ml maple syrup (preferably Grade B)
- 120ml double cream
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, gas mark 4. Spread the pecans out on a baking tray and toast for about 5 minutes, or until a shade darker and fragrant. Set aside to cool, then chop finely. Melt the butter in a saucepan with the maple syrup and cream. Bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Remove from the heat and stir in the toasted pecans. Serve hot.
Ginger and apricot ice cream floats
The vodka can't be tasted, but makes the sorbet easier to scoop. Leave it out if you prefer, or up the booze levels by using alcoholic ginger beer.
For the apricot sorbet:
- 175g golden granulated sugar
- 4cm piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 600g ripe and fragrant apricots, halved and stoned
- 1 tbsp vodka (optional)
- 4 tbsp stem ginger syrup
- 550ml ginger beer
1. Put the sugar, ginger and 350ml of water into a medium saucepan. Heat through gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to the boil, then simmer for 2 minutes. Add the apricot halves to the pan, stir to coat them in the syrup, then cover and simmer for about 5 minutes, until just soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. Remove the apricot halves with a slotted spoon, then peel and discard the skin. Spoon the apricots into a blender, along with the poaching liquid and the vodka, if using. Blitz until very smooth. To make it even smoother, pass through a sieve and into a bowl, pressing it through with the back of a large spoon. Cover with cling film and chill for an hour.
3. Pour the mixture into the chilled bowl of an ice-cream maker and churn according to the instructions. Spoon into a chilled container, cover and freeze for at least 4 hours, until firm. Alternatively, follow the instructions on page 181 for making ice cream without a machine.
4. Put a tablespoon of stem ginger syrup and two small scoops of sorbet into each of four tall glasses. Top up with ginger beer and serve at once with long spoons and straws.
Photography/ Emma Lee
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Alice Hart is a food writer and recipe developer, working across a wide variety of media, from magazines to books. Alice’s recipe books are based on wholesome produce and seasonal eating, and while she takes a balanced approach, using wholefoods and vegetables wherever possible, she also finds joy in an excellent cake. Alice is also invested in sports nutrition and is a Level 3 personal trainer, a seasoned endurance sports competitor and a trained chef.
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