Summer means ice cream, even if scoop traditions are different for everyone: It could be vanilla soft serve on the boardwalk, coated in rainbow sprinkles and served in a waffle cone, or a cup of custard layered with Italian ice on a hot, humid night in the park.
For me, the first sweltering, sticky days of June bring to mind homemade ice cream. When I was little, we had an old-fashioned, rickety wooden ice cream maker. Using one of those is a far cry from powering up the modern ice cream machine and watching it silently whir away in your kitchen.
With the old-fashioned kind, you pack it full of rock salt and ice and haul it outside (it’s messy!). Sprawled on the grass, you crank the handle for what feels like eons. The silky custard inside offers little resistance at first, but as it hardens, it gets more and more difficult to turn. You end up sweaty with tremendously sore biceps and a serious appetite for dessert.
I won’t suggest you go buy one for novelty’s sake—but do consider it if you have the space. It’s such a neat thing to do as a kid, and the memory is one of my most vivid—the smell of freshly cut grass, the bulky plastic bag of rock salt, the thrill of sneaking a sweet fingerful.
Happily, you can make excellent ice cream at home with any sort of machine (and even without one!). And while most recipes—with or without eggs—require some cooking, today’s creamy blackberry lemon ice cream does not. Instead, it relies on sweetened condensed milk to thicken the mixture.
I had never been in love with no-cook ice cream. I found it lacking in richness and in flavor. But this recipe changed my mind. Two cups of puréed blackberries and a hefty dose of lemon juice give the ice cream a deep, intense flavor that balances out all the creaminess.
The one drawback to no-cook ice cream is, usually, the texture. Often it resembles soft serve more than ice cream, but with this recipe, I had no trouble—likely because of the high percentage of fruit. I recommend freezing the ice cream in a container after churning it to keep it scoopable and hard.