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Alternative Alcohols For No Churn Ice Creams

Asked by eddy_. Answered on 5th November 2019

Full question

Dear Nigella Team, I've only got marsala, vermouth, Baileys, and vodka (for now) but I really want to maximise their chance to be used in the kitchen. Since I love the taste and fragrance of marsala, in particular, I would like to know if it can be used to replace, for example, espresso liqueur in coffee ice cream or the bourbon in the No-Churn Salted Caramel Bourbon Ice Cream, please?

Also, since I don't have easy access to double cream (extraordinary expensive where I live) and I usually use whipping cream or pure cream instead. Would the no-churn ice cream (containing condensed milk) be soft enough if I leave the liqueur out? Many thanks.

One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream
Photo by Petrina Tinslay
One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella has several no-churn ice cream recipes and many of them contain alcohol as not only does this add a little extra flavour but also a little alcohol can help the texture of the ice cream as it inhibits the forming of ice crystals, which can make ice cream hard. Generally we would try to stick with the liquers suggested in the recipe, or close substitutes. Alcohol can be omitted from the ice creams, for example the Bitter Orange Ice Cream does not conatin any alcohol, but you will need to take the ice creams out of the freezer a few minutes early to let the ice cream soften. Vodka is probably the best alcohol to add if you want to soften the texture of the ice cream without affecting the flavour adversely.

Double cream is easy to find in the UK though harder to find elsewehere. Creams with a fat content of 30% or more should whip sufficiently for the ice creams without giving a texture that is too hard and the ice creams made with condensed milk, such as the One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream and the No-Churn Salted Caramel Bourbon Ice Cream, have a softer texture thanks to the sugar content in the condensed milk. However, if you have a lower fat cream it may help to whip the cream first, until thickened, before adding the remaining ingredients.

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