I feel like I’ve managed the chaos known as 2020 with grace and dignity. That is, until I tried to make ice cream last week.
As if this year wasn't hectic enough we thought, “Why not try to build a house.” After searching the apartment we're living in high and low, I was crestfallen when I realized my ice cream maker was packed away with the bulk of my household goods in storage. I'm not going to lie, that set me off on a crying fit.
Twenty-twenty had finally broken me.
My defeat wouldn’t last long, though. Ice cream is life! With no ice cream maker to be found, I set about mixing a no-churn peach cobbler ice cream. The result is a brightly flavored, easy-to-make ice cream that doesn’t require a machine.
So, who’s laughing now 2020?
How to Make Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker
Ice cream is not something you’re excluded from making if you don’t have an ice cream maker. Sure, the machine helps create a smoother frozen dessert, but don’t feel like you must have one in order to create your favorite ice cream.
The process is simple to follow: a flavor base is made with condensed milk, which is later folded into a mound of whipped cream. The condensed milk stands in for the cooked custard of a conventional ice cream, and the whipped cream lightens the mixture and adds that creaminess we should all expect from ice cream.
After combining both elements, the mixture is frozen and, after a few excruciating hours of waiting, you can dip joyfully into the ice cream.
Tips for Making Successful No-Churn Ice Cream
When it comes to this fruit-based, no-churn ice cream, ripe peaches are key! It’s the only way to ensure that sweet, peachy flavor shines through the creamy milk mixture. Using fruit that is soft to the touch is crucial. It’s how you know it’s ripe enough to taste in this recipe.
Full-fat heavy whipping cream must be used in this recipe to mimic the slow-churned mouthfeel of conventional ice cream.
Even with the full fat cream, no-churn ice cream will still contain more ice crystals than its churned cousin. To reduce ice crystal formation, I add vanilla extract and vodka. It’s not enough to make you tipsy, and the small amount of alcohol keeps the fruit from freezing rock hard. It’s an important part of this recipe.
Can You Use Frozen Peaches in No-Churn Ice Cream?
Yes, you can use a frozen peaches! Just taste them prior to pureeing them; you want to get a gauge on how sweet they are because we are using the uncooked fruit puree to boost the peach flavor.
If using frozen peaches, thaw the peaches and drain off any water (don’t worry—you won’t lose any peach flavor). Avoid adding any excess liquid to the peach puree because it will water down the condensed milk base, which will manifest itself as ice crystals in your batch of ice cream.
How Long Does No-Churn Ice Cream Last
Most commercial ice cream has stabilizers or anti-crystallization compounds to keep it fresh and prevent ice crystals from forming. Homemade ice cream doesn’t have that, so how you store it matters.
When stored in an ice cream container, no-churn ice cream will keep for one to two weeks. My ice cream never survives my family that long, though.
The Best Homemade Ice Cream Containers
While I prefer to freeze the ice cream in a metal loaf pan because it sets up better, once it’s frozen I transfer the ice cream to a plastic ice cream container with a tight-fitting lid. The container helps prevent freezer burn and preserve freshness.
No, you don’t have to go out and buy cute ice cream containers to make ice cream. You can use whatever you have around the house. Any container with a tight-fitting lid (even a paper quart container) is suitable for longer storage.
If you want to keep the ice cream in the metal loaf pan because you know you’re going to use it up within a day or so that’s fine too. Just press wax paper or parchment against the surface of the ice cream to prevent freezer burn.
No-Churn Ice Cream Swaps and Substitutions
Make this no-churn peach cobbler ice cream even more exciting:
- Swap the vanilla wafers for graham crackers or gingersnaps
- Add a tablespoon of fresh, chopped mint leaves to the peach puree
- Use equal amounts of a different fruit (like nectarines or berries) for a different fruit-flavored ice cream.
If you want a really wild peach flavor, toss your peaches in sugar and roast them in a 350°F oven for 45 minutes. The caramelized peaches will taste more pronounced in the recipe. Just allow the peaches to cool before pureeing.
Need More Ice Cream in Your Life?
- Strawberry Ice Cream
- Cherry Ice Cream with Chocolate Chips
- No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream
- Easy Mango Lime Sorbet
- Mint Julep Ice Cream
- Cinnamon Ice Cream
No-Churn Peach Cobbler Ice Cream
If you don’t have access to fresh peaches, you can substitute frozen peaches in this recipe. Just make sure you thaw them, then drain off any excess liquid.
- 4 ripe medium peaches, pit removed
- 1 tablespoon vodka
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- pinch kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar, optional
- 14 ounce (400g) canned sweetened condensed milk
- 2 (475g) cups heavy cream
- 16 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
Make the peach chunks:
Cut one peach into small chunks (about the size of a chickpea) and toss with the vodka. (If you don’t like peach skin you can peel the peaches, but I will leave that up to you.)
Make the peach purée:
In a blender or food processor, purée the remaining peaches, along with the lemon juice, vanilla extract, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, and salt.
Taste the peach puree. If it isn’t sweet enough for your tastes, blend in the brown sugar. If it’s sweet for you, leave it out.
You should have 1 1/2 cups of peach puree.
Make the ice cream base:
In a large bowl, whisk the peach purée and the sweetened condensed milk together vigorously for about a minute.
Whip the heavy cream:
In a separate large bowl, use an electric mixer or stand mixer to whip the cold heavy cream until stiff peaks form. This should take 3-4 minutes.
Combine the ice cream base and whipped cream:
Gently fold 1 1/2 cups of the peach ice cream base into the whipped cream using a rubber spatula.
Once the 1 1/2 cups base has been folded into the whipped cream, transfer this whipped cream mixture to the bowl containing the remaining ice cream base.
Gently fold the remaining base into the whipped cream mixture. Take care not to over-mix, fold the mixture just until the whipped cream no shows streaks in the base.
Assemble, then freeze the ice cream:
Crush 8 vanilla wafers into the bottom of a large loaf pan. Top the cookies with the ice cream. Crush and sprinkle the remaining cookies on top of the ice cream. Strain the peach chunks and sprinkle them over the cookies. Use a spoon or small spatula to swirl the peach chunks and cookies into the ice cream.
Press a piece of wax or parchment paper directly onto the ice cream to prevent ice crystals from forming. Place the pan into the freezer and freeze for 6-8 hours.
Warm and scoop:
Ten minutes prior to scooping, remove the pan from the freezer to allow for easier scooping. Portion out your serving size, then transfer the rest to an air-tight container for maximum freshness.
Enjoy the ice cream within 1-2 weeks for the best flavor.