Metro-East Living

5 frozen desserts you can make that are just as good as ice cream

Homemade Stracciatella, an Italian no-churn version of chocolate chip ice cream.
Homemade Stracciatella, an Italian no-churn version of chocolate chip ice cream. TNS

What do you get when you add icy, sweet and creamy together? Summer, of course!

Many people would also say the answer to this question is ice cream, but, they’d only be partially right.

There are so many summer treats that look like traditional ice cream, but are slightly distant relatives. That doesn’t mean they are any less delicious, though.

When it comes to making ice cream at home, the classic method is to start with a custard base and use an ice cream maker or churner. But, what if you want something a bit lighter, or minus the high level of dairy? What if you don’t have a machine that requires rock salt and ice?

The thing to do is take a look at these five recipes. Each approaches icy, sweet and creamy in a different way:

ice cream SEMIFREDDO
Fresh lemon juice and plenty of zest flavor a semifreddo served with a summer berry compote. Michael Tercha TNS

1. Tell your friends you just made a semifreddo (Italian translation: half-frozen). They’ll think you went to a lot of trouble. In fact, most of us lazy ice cream people just call it the no-churn method: folding whipped cream and condensed milk (plus flavorings) in a bread pan that goes in the freezer. Voila, a couple hours later you’ve got rich, creamy ice cream that makes you wonder why you bothered with that big machine all these years. Google “no-churn” and see the possibilities.

ice cream vegan bananas foster
Bananas Foster vegan ice cream. Ricardo DeAratanha TNS

2. Create a dairy-free frozen dessert. Use bananas as a base, says food writer Noelle Carter of the Los Angeles Times. Like avocados, bananas have been used in both health-conscious and vegan circles for the creamy, custard-like texture they impart to smoothies, frozen desserts and other dishes, she says.

ice cream peach yogurt
Homemade Peach Frozen Yogurt Ricardo DeAratanha TNS

3. Toss around another delicious Italian word to impress: stracciatella. It’s a simple dessert similar to chocolate chip ice cream. Noelle says to freeze the no-churn mixture until it’s almost hardened, then drizzle melted chocolate over it. The chocolate hardens almost instantly, forming shards that break as the mixture is stirred. Just how much chocolate can you get in your stracciatella?

ice cream raspberry
Homemade Fresh Raspberry Ice Cream

4. Craving frozen yogurt? Freeze chopped fruit, then blend it in a food processor or blender with a little sugar and then fold in whipped cream, mascarpone, crème fraîche or a little Greek yogurt — the lower water content gives the yogurt a rich creaminess that works well in frozen desserts. The recipe here uses fresh peaches, but any good stone fruit works well.

5. Really want to put your ice cream machine to good use? Sometimes a simple recipe is the best: Homemade Fresh Raspberry Ice Cream.

Lemon Semifreddo


1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

3 large lemons

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

7 egg yolks

1/4 teaspoon salt


18 ounces fresh blueberries

1/3 cup sugar

1 pinch salt

1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water

6 ounces fresh blackberries

1. Prep: For semifreddo, line a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap, leaving some overhang. Spread almonds across the bottom. Set aside. Whip cream to sturdy peaks. Chill.

2. Whisk: Finely zest and juice the lemons. Measure 5 teaspoons zest and 1/2 cup juice into the bowl of an electric mixer. (Save remaining zest and juice for the berries.) Stir in sugar, yolks and salt. Set bowl over a pan of simmering water, and whisk until 165 degrees hot, about 8 minutes. Pull pan off heat.

3. Fold: Using an electric mixer, beat yolk mixture until pale, thick and cool, about 6 minutes. Fold in whipped cream. Scrape into prepared loaf pan. Smooth top. Cover with plastic wrap, fold up overhang and freeze overnight.

4. Mash: For berries, tumble the blueberries into a large saucepan. Stir in sugar, 1 tablespoon reserved lemon juice, 1 teaspoon reserved lemon zest and the salt. Cook over medium-high heat, mashing many of the berries with the back of a slotted spoon, until saucy, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in cornstarch slurry; let thicken, 1 minute. Pull pan off heat; stir in blackberries.

5. Plate: Peel plastic from top of semifreddo; invert onto a serving platter. Unwrap. Using a heavy knife dipped in hot water and wiped dry, slice semifreddo into eight 1-inch-thick slabs. Ladle about 1/3 cup warm berry sauce onto a dessert plate. Lay 1 slab semifreddo on top. Repeat. Serve. Smile.

Yield: 1 loaf or 8 servings.

Chicago Tribune

Bananas Foster ‘Ice Cream’

1 1/2 cups raw pecans

2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil

6 tablespoons raw or turbinado sugar

6 large bananas

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons rum, optional

Candied pecans

1. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the nuts until they are reduced to a coarse meal, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the oil and sugar and continue to process until the nuts are reduced to a smooth paste, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed.

2. Add the bananas and continue to process until the mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl as needed. Add the cinnamon, vanilla and rum if using, and pulse a few times to combine. Stir in the candied pecans by hand.

3. Spoon the ice cream into a glass or plastic dish and cover the surface of the ice cream with plastic wrap before freezing.

Noelle Carter, Los Angeles Times

stracciatella Ice Cream

1 quart heavy whipping cream

Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean

1 can condensed milk (14-ounce)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips

1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil

1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a large bowl using a hand mixer, beat the whipping cream to medium peaks, about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla seeds, condensed milk and salt and beat again to medium peaks, 2 to 3 minutes.

2. Spoon the ice cream base into a glass baking dish, flattening the top with a spatula. Cover the surface of the base with plastic wrap and freeze until the base begins to harden, 2 to 3 hours.

3. Place the chocolate chips and oil in a glass measuring cup and microwave, stirring every 15 seconds or so, until the chocolate is melted. When the ice cream is almost frozen, drizzle the surface with some of the melted chocolate, then stir the chocolate into the ice cream. Repeat, drizzling more chocolate and stirring it into the cold ice cream, until all of the chocolate has been added and the ice cream is flecked with bits of frozen chocolate.

4. Cover the surface of the stracciatella with a layer of plastic wrap and freeze until hardened.

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts.

Noelle Carter

Peach Frozen Yogurt

2 1/2 pounds ripe peaches

1/2 cup sugar, more if desired

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups whole-milk Greek yogurt

1. Peel and dice the peaches. Toss the peaches with the sugar and spread out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until the peaches are solid.

2. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the peaches and almond extract and pulse until the fruit is pureed and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the salt and yogurt. Pulse again a few times until the yogurt is fully incorporated and the mixture is smooth.

3. Spoon the base into a glass or plastic dish and cover the surface of the base with plastic wrap before freezing.

Yield: 1 quart.

Noelle Carter

Homemade Fresh Raspberry Ice Cream

2 cups fresh raspberries

2 tablespoons sugar

3 cups heavy cream

1 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups whole milk (can use half-n-half)

1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract

In a medium size bowl, add raspberries and the 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir gently and then set aside for about 15 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix the cream, 1 1/4 cups sugar, milk and vanilla. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Take raspberries and slightly mash with a fork. Add to milk mixture. Put in fridge for about 30 minutes to chill.

Pour into canister of ice cream freezer and freeze according to manufacturer's directions.

Yield: 8 1-cup servings.

Note: A 2-quart Cuisinart ice cream maker was used for this recipe. You can easily double this if you're making it in a 4 or 6-quart ice cream freezer. Also, if you're raspberries aren't super sweet, you may want to add a little more than the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Just give them a taste and see what you think.