Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Homemade Blueberry Ice Cream

Not owning an ice cream machine has really been an act in self preservation.  I could only imagine what endless amount of homemade mint-chocolate chip or black-raspberry would do to my waistline.  That was until I read this article in the NYTimes about sweetened condensed milk.  Among its many merits is its ability to be used to make ice cream without a machine.  The recipe they give is for plain vanilla, but with almost a full pint of blueberries in the fridge I decided to adapt their technique to a fruity dessert.

 I first cooked down the berries with 1 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. salt until the fruit burst.   As it cooled, I beat heavy cream until it formed soft peaks.  I added one can of sweetened condensed milk and 1 tsp. vanilla and beat again until soft peaks formed again.  I folded in the berry mixture carefully, poured the mixture into a Tupperware, and froze overnight.  For the first few hours I stirred the mixture every 45 minutes, but this was more out of curiosity and less our of necessity.

The result?  Superbly creamy, light, fruit filled ice cream.  It was a little sweet, so next time I won't add any sugar to the blueberries.  I can't wait to try this technique with other berries, and come fall, with pumpkin and spices or peppermint.

Blueberry Ice Cream
1-1/2 c. heavy cream, chilled
1 can sweetened condensed milk, chilled
3/4 pint blueberries (or blackberries or raspberries...)
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Put blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan on the stove.  Cook over medium heat until the berries break down and release their juices.  Remove from the stove.

2. Whip the heavy cream until soft peaks from.  Pour in the condensed milk and vanilla, and whip again until obtaining soft peaks.  Fold in the blueberries until just combined.

3. Pour into a Tupperware and freeze overnight.

Note: Why does the sweetened condensed milk work?  I'm nothing of a frozen dessert connoisseur, but I think its something like this--  The churned of a machine keeps the water in the ice cream (from the milk etc.) from freezing into unsavory ice chunks.  Because condensed milk is used, the amount of water is cut down.  Whipping the heavy cream before freezing also introduces air into the mix, another job of a machine.

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