No Ice Cream Machine? No Problem: Make This No-Churn Corn Ice Cream

Put sweet summer corn into an easy, no-churn version of ice cream.

No-Churn Corn Ice Cream
Photo: Johnny Autry

Every summer, I think to myself that I should finally make my own ice cream, and every summer I don't do it. Sure, ice cream is readily available in the store, that's part of it. But for me, the barrier is the equipment. I don't own an ice cream maker, and I don't have room in my kitchen for a gadget that I'm only going to use in the summer months. So I ask around about borrowing one, come up empty, and move on with my life, relying on the freezer case of my bodega for ice cream treats. But that all changed once I learned about the miracle of no-churn ice cream.

No-churn ice cream is what it sounds like. It's ice cream that requires no special equipment, or churning. It's got a different ingredient make-up than traditional ice cream, but it's just as rich and delicious, and all you need is the ability to whip cream and freezer space for a loaf pan. The star here is sweetened condensed milk, which you mix with whipped heavy cream and the flavorings of your choice to make your ice cream.

If this sounds too simple to believe, well, try it. Jesse Houston's No-Churn Corn Ice Cream uses this trick to great effect, using the flavor of sweet corn at its summer peak to infuse the ice cream. For this recipe, you need about 10 cups of fresh corn kernels, from roughly a dozen ears of corn. Puree the corn kernels in a food processor briefly, just until they release the liquid, and then strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer. Then transfer the liquid to a large non-stick pan over medium-low heat and simmer the corn juice until it reduces down by half, thickening it through evaporation and the corn's natural starches. A wooden spoon or spatula swiped through the creamy corn mixture should leave a trail for two seconds. Then strain your corn mixture again.

That reduced corn juice is the flavoring for your ice cream.Now you have to make the no-churn base. To do that, just combine 1 3/4cups heavy cream with a cup of condensed milk, a teaspoon of vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt. Beat the mixture until stiff peaks form. Houston advises using a stand mixer to make quick work of it, but you could also use a hand mixer, or even whisk by hand. Then fold in the reduced corn puree slowly, pour the mixture into a loaf pan, and freeze for 12 hours. That's it. You made ice cream.

Houston advises serving the corn ice cream in a waffle cone with dulce de leche drizzled over it, which no doubt is delicious. But if you can't be fussed with that, take it from a no-churn ice cream convert: eaten with a spoon straight from the loaf pan while standing with the freezer door open tastes really good too.

Get the recipe: No-Churn Corn Ice Cream

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