For the last week, I have been living and breathing cream. My cream-focused projects have ranged from either end of the heat spectrum, from baking a dish of it for 12 hours, to plopping it whipped and cloudy into a loaf tin before freezing. And as this blog post is titled ‘no-churn cherry ripple ice cream’, I think we can all safely assume which cream experiment was the more successful.
The reason cream was of the utmost importance this week was because it was the Queen’s jubilee (also, this video! sob. Even Gaylord enjoyed it and he’s as French and republican as they come). While I wasn’t on the streets of London waving a union flag as all the royals rode past in carriages, and no matter how much I secretly wish I had been, such a task required arriving at Buckingham Palace at a daunting 3am (!) to get any kind of view, a fact I have since learnt from my sister who did valiantly try but decided there was more to life.
A weekend of Britishness in my book means clotted cream. Where else in the world is this soft-serve gelato-like crust-topped cream sold? Not in Toulouse, that I know. Every time I return from the UK with hold luggage, I bring at least two pots of Rodda’s clotted cream with me. And I grin smugly to myself because finally, finally, there’s a British food that the French adore, covet, admire and are furious that they didn’t come up with themselves. Mwhahahaha!
For my jubilee, I wanted scones and jam and tea and a tea pot and bunting and iPlayer showing the Queen jauntily waving on her balcony and of course, clotted cream. But, my only option for clotted cream was to make it myself.
About half of those things actually happened. The scones, tea, jam and iPlayer were fairly easy to arrange. However, I had a minor crisis at the nearest thrift shop while comparing tea pots (they just weren’t right!), and I started doubting myself when it came to bunting, and then the homemade clotted cream was just the non-existent icing on the cake.
Have you ever tried to make homemade clotted cream? Full-fat cream is baked for 12 hours then chilled for another 12 hours and then if you’re lucky, that liquid cream will have the texture and consistency of clotted cream with a little milky whey.
I tried twice because I was determined, and both times, amidst all the liquid which brazenly looked like the last 24 hours hadn’t happened, I had a teaspoon’s worth of smooth crust-free clotted cream. Enough for one scone.
So – in order to save my patience (and ego) – I took a break from the clotted cream experiments and poured my remaining liquid cream, along with condensed milk, lime juice, vodka, cherries, and cherry jam into a loaf tin. I rippled it all together like tie-dye, froze it, and once creamily firm, served it in ice cream sundae glasses (which, incidentally, I bought at the thrift shop instead of a tea pot. I had basically jeopardised myself from the beginning).
No-churn ice cream
About four years ago, I wrote a blog post saucily suggesting I would be whipping up some no-churn ice cream imminently. And here it is! I have no excuses, dear reader, please forgive my tardiness.
Most ice creams must be churned throughout the freezing process to ensure the finished texture is like that of velvet. The secret to creamy smooth no-churn ice cream is sweetened condensed milk. This tid-bit of insider’s info didn’t reach me until last year – the thought of making crunchy icicle-laden ice cream brought me out in very realistic chills, so I ‘postponed’ my no-churn experiments. But fear should not delay you from achieving your dreams, especially when there’s condensed milk. And vodka.
Condensed milk is a substitute for the ice cream’s custard base. It is thick and glossy and tooth-janglingly sweet because the milk’s water has been removed and it also now contains about 50% sugar. And then there is vodka.
If you’re anything like my boyfriend’s family, you may keep a handy bottle of vodka in the freezer. You may have also noticed that it never freezes? Adding a splash of this ice cream tonic (which, for a second, let’s forget is 40% alcohol) will prevent any gnarly ice crystals developing. Of course, while it is flavourless once the ice cream is frozen, alcohol in your ice cream is completely optional – it will still set beautifully without vodka, it just might be a tad firmer.
Cream is beaten until billowing and blousy, incorporating aeration so that each scoop is light and soft, into which the condensed milk and vodka is folded. The addition of lime juice was a humdinger of an idea – one I can thank Nigella for – as it sharpens the creamy lactic flavour to magically resemble that of cheesecake. Cheesecake ice cream, without a pack of cream cheese in sight, with magenta splotches of tart, jammy and juicy cherry chunks to chew. Gaylord likes to garnish his ice cream with crumbled speculoos biscuits like a deconstructed cheesecake.
So, instead of dolloping clotted cream onto scones, Gaylord and I spooned up scoops of no-churn cherry ripple ice cream as we watched the jubilee, which it turns out, is perfectly fitting for such a regal occasion.
Have you heard of cherries jubilee? Apparently a chef served boozy cherries over ice cream for Queen Victoria in honour of her diamond jubilee in 1897. So, 125 years later, I ate my interpretation of cherries jubilee on the sofa in Toulouse as the next queen celebrated her platinum jubilee.
Cream came to the rescue in the end.
No-churn cherry ripple ice cream
- 125 g cherries
- 25 g sugar
- 50 g cherry jam
- 300 ml double cream or equivalent fresh full-fat, non-ultra pasteurised cream
- 175 ml condensed milk
- 2 tbsp vodka optional
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- Line a 2lb loaf tin with cling film
- Remove the stones from the cherries and put the fruit in a pan with the sugar. Set over medium heat and stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil, then lower the temperature and simmer for a couple of minutes to draw out the cherry juice. Break down some of the cherries with a wooden spoon. Cook for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. Stir in the cherry jam, pour it all into a bowl and chill in the fridge.
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream with electric beaters until thick soft peaks form.
- Pour in the condensed milk, vodka and lime juice, and gently fold together. Of course, taste some, you would have to be made from stone to resist.
- Pour the ice cream mixture into the loaf tin. Spoon half of the cooled cherries on top, then, using a skewer or something thin (I used a temperature probe) swirl and ripple the cherries through the ice cream. Repeat with the rest of the cherries, making sure there's enough on the surface.
- Cover with another sheet of cling film and some foil, then place in the freezer for 6 hours or until frozen. Scoop into ice cream glasses or bowls and serve with some crumbled speculoos biscuits.