5 simple ways to make icecream without an icecream machine

vanilla icecream-2

Icecream. Is there anything better?

Lately I’ve been thinking about icecream more than usual. Could be something to do with being back to Southern Hemisphere Summer. Or maybe it was the amazing gorgonzola icecream or the savoury truffle icecream I experience at elBulli last month. Anyway I digress.

As a minimalist, I’ve been feeling a little guilty about owning an icecream machine. I know I should get rid of it. I mean it’s hard to justify as an essential, no matter how critical icecream is to your well being. But I haven’t been able to part. The thought of not being able to make creamy icy desserts scares me a little. So to ease my mind, I’ve been focusing on finding ways to make icecream without the machine. I’m still not ready to find it another home, but with my discoveries, I am a step closer.

i. Use the power of cocoa powder
I’m not 100% sure of the science behind this but there’s something about cocoa powder that retards ice crystal formation. So if you make a chocolate custard base heavy in cocoa powder and pop it in the freezer overnight, you end up with rich lucious creamy smooth chocolate heaven that you’d never guess had skipped it’s date with the icecream machine. See HERE for a more detailed recipe.

ii. Whip it, Italian style
Semifreddo, or semi-cold, is the Italian answer to not having an icecream machine. Simply whip your cream until it is light and airy and stir through your custard base. Pop in a container and freeze overnight. The only tricky things is to make sure you remember to remove the semifreddo from the freezer for it to soften slightly into creamy goodness before you serve.

To be honest I’ve always been slightly disappointed with my own semifreddo attempts but our friends at Gourmet Traveller have a tempting looking recipe along with some interesting icecream facts.

iii. Make granita
This is the ‘if you can’t beat them join them’ solution to the icecream machine dilemma. Rather than being a slave to smooth fine creamy textures in your frozen desserts why not embrace a chunky rustic icyness of a good old granita.

Just puree some fruit and sugar. Freeze overnight, stirring occasionally to break up the ice and serve with a dollup of marscapone or double cream for richness. For a more detailed recipe see my cold treats post HERE.

iv. Customise with the profesionals
This might be stretching the friendship on the ‘home made’ but there’s nothing wrong with getting some good quality commercially produced icecream and adding your own touches.

Leftover crumbled Christmas pudding stirred through slightly softened vanilla icecream and re frozen is a brilliant way to use up festive treats.

Add honey roasted macadamias, pistachio nougat, dulche de leche sauce or even a little Ben-&-Jerry-inspired chocolate chip cookie dough to icecream from the shop and I can guarantee your guests won’t be complaining that you didn’t make it all from scratch.

v. Puree frozen fruit
I posted last year about one of my all time favourite frozen desserts – raspberry gelato. Just combine frozen berries sugar and cream in a food processor and serve in chilled glasses. So easy. So creamy. So good.

Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out a way to make an easy vanilla icecream. It’s taken a while but I finally figured it out – just peel and freeze some bananas to use as your base. Then puree, flavour and serve. So easy. So creamy. So good. So good for you.

And if you’re like me and not too keen on banana, just choose almost unripe ones and go heavy on the flavourings. The lovely creamy texture will be worth it. Trust me.

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[almost] instant malted vanilla icecream
serves 2

The [almost] disclaimer comes in because you need to freeze the banana first. But as long as you have that simple step complete, instant icecream is at your fingertips. I highly recommend making sure you have frozen bananas on hand at all times.

I have a thing for malted milk powder and love the creamy maltiness that it gives this super easy dessert. But you could easily give it a miss and use a litle icing (powedered) sugar to sweeten it instead.

Feel free to use this as a base for more exotic icecream creations. A handful of chilled chocolate chunks or nuts stirred in at the end would be lovely. Or take it a step further and make some hazelnut praline like the one HERE.

For a dairy free alternative, experiment with fruit juice such as orange juice or passionfruit to replace the cream and a little sugar for sweetness if needed.

Best if eaten within an hour or two of pureeing as the banana browns off.

2 bananas
3T malted milk powder
1t vanilla extract
1/4C pouring cream

PEEL your bananas, break into chunks and place in a freezer bag. Freeze for at least 5 hours or up to a couple of months.

When you’re ready for dessert, place all ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth and creamy.

Serve immediately.

vanilla icecream

SBS snippet

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  • Yum!!! I made my own icecream over Christmas to go with my Bourke St Bakery chocolate tart and it was amazing.. My sister gave me the ‘recipe’, if you can call it that.. Basically equal parts condensed milk and whipped cream, plus any flavouring you like, thrown in the freezer. I used this cinnamon flavoured palm sugar I found at my local deli and it was seriously creamy heaven.

    Happy New Year!

  • hey alison
    loving the sounds of your sister’s icecream – anything with sweetened condensed milk has to be good in my book – thanks for sharing. and how good are the BSB chocolate tarts

    hi barbara
    thanks for the link – great minds. would never have thought of avocado but you definitely have me intrigued

  • Thanks for this post, Jules! I have several bananas in the freezer and LOVE malted milk powder so I’ll be giving your recipe a go as soon as I have a spare moment. :-)

    I was also very interested to read about the crystal-inhibiting properties of cocoa powder. The few times I’ve used it in icecreams and sorbets I’ve started out skeptical, expecting a powdery texture, and then been delighted by the results.

    • hey cindy
      I hope your bananas are already peeled – the first time I made it I had to peel frozen bananas with a knife – very time conuming and not fun.
      I need to figure out what’s going on with the cocoa powder – it really is quite clever

  • We have an icecream maker, but as the freezer is always full to bursting, there’s never room for it. I’ve tried freezing yoghurt with icing sugar as a healthy alternative to icecream but overall it’s not worth doing.
    These are great ideas which we’ll certainly try out – thanks!

    • I’m hearing you about the freezer constraints jennifer. that’s where the frozen berries work so well – just get them straight from the store – no need to fill up the freezer more

      • i like vanilla,strawberry,butterscoth,chocobar ice creams i like very much but i want don”t so if anybody knows say me.

        i know how to do the banana ice cream
        ingritents :
        how to do:take a banana and cut into pieces. and put in jar and mixed it then banana ice cream is ready

  • These ideas look great as I do not have an ice-cream machine… currently. It is on the belated Christmas present list from my travelling mother! Does anyone have any suggestions as to which brand/model is the best to invest in?

    • hi erin
      lucky you. I’ve got a sunbeam gelateria and it’s not the greatest. open to suggestions on better brands. there’s a lovely italian number at the chef’s warehouse that is super styling and only $1700. would be great to hear if anyone has suggestions

    • glad to hear it cindy – I normally freeze bananas whole for banana bread. but I’m definitely converting to peeled now so I can have options

  • i just whizz up frozen raspberries until pureed in a food processor – not cream, sugar etc.. it is delicious and healthy!
    as for ice cream makers i bought a $30 one form aldi. ok, it’s not the wrold’s greatest but for $30 i can hardly complain.

    • virgina
      you’re much more virtuous than me. I have a weakness for cream
      $30 is pretty good for an icecream maker but is it one of those ones that you need to keep the bowl in the freezer?

  • Yum, this was good. We sprinkled on top the cinammon sugar-crusted macadamias I’d made earlier in the week.

    Do you have any suggestions about what to do with the huge tin of malted milk powder I had to buy? Smoothied out.

    Oh, I got the Bourke St Bakery book… love, love, love!

    • yay erin
      it’s such a great book
      this icecream would be brilliant with sugar crusted macadamias
      I tend to have a bad habit of eating malted milk powder with a spoon… a bit naughty but so delicious. Am sure you’ll use it in no time.

  • After reading everyones ideas my kids and I came up with a delicious Grape icecream.
    3 good bunches of grapes frozen
    75mls (approx – we kinda just poured in amount that looked good to our eyes)
    A slosh of vanilla essence
    2 tB of condensed milk (and one in your mouth of course)

    Wizz with a blender stick – easy peesy and delicious! eat immediately or freeze.

  • Fortunately my boys both love bananas–and we keep a stash in the freezer for opportunities like this.

    Now all we need is some warm weather here in Montreal…

  • I know this article is nearly 7 years old, but there is a glaring error in it and I am actually not surprised. There is no such thing as “marscapone”. However, there is something called “maSCARpone”. Even famous chefs on tv make this error. Some try to justify this ignorance by saying since many people mispronounce it, it becomes the proper way to say it. Many people, in fact most people, say “sherbeRt”. That is not accepted as the correct way to say the word, and professional chefs on tv do, in fact, often correct those who say it incorrectly. It would be nice if people writing and speaking about food actually spell and pronounce the names of ingredients correctly so that readers/listeners have an example to follow.

  • After trying an ice cream maker when the insert takes up too much room in the freezer, I found I can make ice cream in my BlendTec. It’s much easier than the ice cream maker.

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