What to CookIce Cream & Frozen DessertsSummerFruit

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

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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.

Peachy Buttermilk Sherbet
Peachy Buttermilk Sherbet

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.

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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.

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Peachy Buttermilk Sherbet

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Makes 3 cups
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup (66 grams) sugar
  • 3 cups (12 ounces/340 grams) peeled peach slices
  • 1 to 3 tablespoons peach preserves or sugar (optional)

Photo by Bobbi Lin.

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

Tags: buttermilk, sherbet, peaches