Ice Cream/Frozen Desserts

3 Ingredients, No Ice Cream Machine & Your New Favorite Sherbet

August  1, 2016

Buttermilk in a glass may not appeal to you—at all—but it’s pure gold in this refreshing summer sherbet. While milk is the typical sherbet liquid, and perfectly nice, buttermilk goes the extra mile by contributing a more voluptuous, creamy texture (without cream), and tangy notes that accentuate the acid in the fruit and help pop the flavor, even without the addition of lemon juice. The result is a great balance of tart with sweet and icy with creamy.

As for the method, I’m a huge fan of NOT getting out my ice cream machine whenever possible. With few exceptions, electric ice cream machines for home use spin too fast and pump too much air into ice creams. The fluffier the ice cream (or sherbet) the less intense the flavor and less creamy the texture. Even if you have a machine, don’t bother hoisting it onto the counter for this recipe. Relax and give your food processor a chance.

Starting with frozen peach slices and frozen buttermilk cubes is a terrific trick with two advantages. First, you get a lovely sherbet texture that’s aerated just enough, and ready to serve right out of the processor. Second, you can taste and adjust the sweetness of the finished sherbet, rather than having to taste a base before freezing and “guessing” how much extra sugar you should add to compensate for the effects of freezing on your palate.

Photo by Bobbi Lin.

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Alice Medrich is a Berkeley, California-based pastry chef, chocolatier, and cookbook author. You can read more about what she's up to here.

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Top Comment:
“Alice, could you please elaborate on the 'few exceptions' in the electric ice cream maker category--are there any that DON'T pump too much air into the mixture? I am of exactly this same opinion, that the run of the mill electric versions, despite being highly rated, produce ice cream that is much too airy and thus poorly textured. Having bought and returned two different models for this reason, I'm still looking for a larger capacity alternative to my fantastic vintage Donvier hand crank that makes the best ice cream I've ever eaten.”
— Bawa
Comment

What other tricks do you use for making ice cream (and its friends) without an ice cream machine? Share them in the comments.

4 Comments

Drew August 2, 2016
Does the sugar serve any purpose here other than as sweetener, so that an alternative sweetener could be used for those of us who need to limit our sugar?
 
Bawa August 1, 2016
Yum. Excellent quality buttermilk is one of my favorite ice cream ingredients. <br /><br />Alice, could you please elaborate on the 'few exceptions' in the electric ice cream maker category--are there any that DON'T pump too much air into the mixture? I am of exactly this same opinion, that the run of the mill electric versions, despite being highly rated, produce ice cream that is much too airy and thus poorly textured. Having bought and returned two different models for this reason, I'm still looking for a larger capacity alternative to my fantastic vintage Donvier hand crank that makes the best ice cream I've ever eaten.
 
Author Comment
Alice M. October 28, 2016
So sorry for such a late response Bawa. I loved my Donvier ice cream machine as well, and agree that it turns out superb ice cream. But, when I needed to produce successive ice cream samples in short order, I sprang for a gelato and frozen dessert machine by Lello which has served me well for over ten years now, probably since I was working on my book, Pure Dessert.
 
Fresh T. August 1, 2016
Alice, you really are a genius. You make things simpler and smarter. I can't wait to try this recipe! Does it work for all or most fruits?