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No Churn Ice Creams

Asked by 1049football. Answered on 29th November 2015

Full question

Following the recipe for the One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream meticulously. But why does the ice-cream not form light stiff peaks but is curdling/separating? I am using an old-style Kenwood Chef around half speed - takes around 15 minutes but starts to curdle/separate without forming stiff peaks? Any suggestions as to why would be gratefully received. The mixture tastes wonderful.

I love the No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream and understood from what Nigella has written that the "magic" ingredient which makes the churning unnecessary is the condensed milk. I can see there are lots of other no churn recipes and as an ice cream addict am keen to try them but am very puzzled that most of the others do not have any condensed milk in them, e.g. the pomegranate, bitter orange etc. So do all these others set much harder or have I just misunderstood the influence of the condensed milk on the texture of the coffee ice cream? Thank you in anticipation, Grannyjally

Our answer

In the recipe for Nigella's One-Step No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream (from Nigellissima and on the Nigella website), cream and condensed milk are whisked together with espresso powder and liqueur. The mixture will not reach stiff peaks but will increase in volume and make a few soft peaks that just hold some shape. From the description it sounds as if the mixture is being whisked far too much, to the point where the fat starts to separate out (hence it looks curdled). In a freestanding mixer this will only take a few minutes. If you are not sure how far to whisk the mixture then whisk the cream first until it has increased in volume and just holds a peak, then whisk in the other ingredients. If you are using whipping cream (with a lower fat content than double cream) then it can also help to whisk the cream first.

Nigella is now using condensed milk as the "secret ingredient" in no-churn ice creams and it is particularly the sugar content in the condensed milk that hepls to give the ice cream its soft texture. Earlier no-churn ice creams, such as the No-Churn Pomegranate Ice Cream (from Nigella Express and on the Nigella website), had sugar added instead, though most of them are slightly harder in texture and benefit from being transferred to the fridge for 15-30 minutes before serving, so that they can "ripen", or soften slightly.

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