People have been making ice cream far longer than the invention of electricity so there's no reason you can't make ice cream and sorbets at home without a machine, says David Lebovitz, author of "The Perfect Scoop."
The advantage to using an electric or hand-cranked machine is that the final result will be smoother and creamier, he says. Freezing anything from liquid-to-solid means you're creating hard ice crystals, he explains, so if you're making it by hand, as your ice cream or sorbet mixture freezes, you want to break up those ice crystals as much as possible so your final results are as smooth and creamy as possible.
But not everyone has the space or the budget for a machine, so here's how you can do your own ice cream at home without a churner:
He recommends starting with an ice cream recipe that is custard-based for the smoothest texture possible. The richer the recipe, the creamier and smoother the results are going to be. The two here will work well.
Making Ice Cream Without A Machine
1. Prepare your ice cream mixture, then chill it over an ice bath.
2. Put a deep baking dish, or bowl made of plastic, stainless steel or something durable in the freezer, and pour your custard mixture into it.
3. After 45 minutes, open the door and check it.
As it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk. Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections. Return to freezer.
4. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it's freezing. If you have one, you can use a hand-held mixer for best results, or use a stick-blender.
But since we're going low-tech here, you can also use just a spatula or a sturdy whisk along with some modest physical effort.
5. Keep checking periodically and stirring while it freezes (by hand or with the electric mixer) until the ice cream is frozen. It will likely take 2-3 hours to be ready.
Transfer the ice cream to a covered storage container until ready to serve.
Frozen yogurt is astoundingly good, but use a good-quality, whole milk or Greek-style yogurt for best results. This recipe makes about 1 quart.
Strawberry Frozen Yogurt
1 pound strawberries, rinsed and hulled
2/3 cup sugar
Optional: 2 teaspoons vodka or kirsch
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Slice the strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with the sugar and vodka or kirsch (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hours, stirring every so often.
Transfer the strawberries and their juice to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt and fresh lemon juice. Pulse the machine until the mixture is smooth. If you wish, press mixture through a mesh strainer to remove any seeds.
Chill for 1 hour, then freeze in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's instructions. Or, follow the directions above.
Banana Peanut Butter Ice Cream in a Blender
2 ripe bananas, cut into chunks
1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter
Peanuts, chopped (optional)
Peel and slice the bananas.
Place them on a plate and freeze until solid, around 2 hours.
Once frozen, put them into a food processor and blend until creamy.
You can scrape down the sides if needed
Add the peanut butter and blend until incorporated.
Serve immediately or place in a container in the freezer and follow directions above.
Before serving sprinkle with chopped peanuts.
Makes 2 servings, each with152 calories, 4 grams fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 29 grams carbohydrates, 4 grams fiber, 15 grams sugar, 38 mg sodium.