No ice cream maker? No problem: No churn strawberry nectarine ice cream

The third Sunday in July is National Ice Cream Day. You can whip up a batch of creamy homemade ice cream easier than you think.

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    Heavy cream, sweet condensed milk, fresh fruits or other flavorings of your choice and not much else create a luxuriously creamy, no churn ice cream.
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This whole thing started when our friend Laura Perry, one of the great home cooks we know, posted on Facebook about her success with a recipe for no churn salted caramel ice cream. I thought: huh? But sure enough, all of a sudden, I started noticing recipes for no churn ice cream all over the Internet. I was super skeptical of this whole thing – no churn?  No… churn? But I have to say, as Laura notes, it is ridiculously easy and ridiculously luxurious. It just takes a bit of advance planning.

Here is what to not expect: churn ice cream texture. This is a softer experience – not as fluffy soft as soft serve, but definitely smoother.

Here is what to expect: a very rich texture and delicious flavors that are under your control. And of course it’s delicious – it’s mostly actual cream.

Recommended: National Ice Cream Day: 7 smooth recipes

Think of this recipe as a technique. I started out with Laura’s salted caramel recipe (which you achieve, by the way, by first submerging an unopened can of sweetened condensed milk in water and boiling it for two hours to make dulce de leche). Then I began experimenting with seasonal fruits. This was among our first results. Next, I intend to try fruits and fresh herbs… peaches with a bit of thyme, I think.

Also, as you see from the photo, this is not pink. It’s white. If you want pink ice cream, add a couple of drops of food coloring.

No Churn Strawberry Nectarine Ice Cream
Makes about 1/2 gallon

2 cups heavy cream
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
1 cup fresh strawberries
1 cup fresh very ripe nectarines
2 tablespoons brown sugar

1. Hull and chop the strawberries, and pit, peel and chop the nectarines. Chop the fruit finely – it will freeze harder than the ice cream mixture, and bigger chunks make scooping it difficult. Combine the fruits in a bowl and stir in the brown sugar. Do this just before you start beating the cream to let the fruit macerate for just a little while.

2. Pour the cream into a medium-sized bowl and beat using an electric hand mixer. (Don’t use a large bowl – the whipped cream needs the structure of the bowl. And if you happen to have a copper bowl, cream whips up especially well in that.) You want to get it only to the soft peak stage – the cream has just started to hold its shape for 5 or 6 seconds when you pause in the beating.

3. Slowly add in the can of sweetened condensed milk and beat on low just to incorporate everything. Then carefully fold in the fruit mixture so the whole mass is fairly uniform. Be gentle! Finally, still being gentle, pour the whole mass into a loaf pan – a 2-pound one is about the right size – cover with plastic wrap and put in the freezer. It will take four to six hours to set up. That’s it! No stirring halfway through the freezing or obsessive scratching with a fork like granita requires.

4. Serve. We recommend small scoops, because it is a very rich texture and experience. Very nice with fresh fruit, or atop a slice of simple pound cake. A great end to a summer dinner, a lavish thing to have around the house to treat yourself. Also, if it is too solidly frozen, let it sit out for a few minutes to soften slightly.

How long does it stay fresh and edible in the freezer? I have no idea. So far it hasn’t stuck around long enough.

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