Summer isn't summer without ice cream. Hot days and sunburned skin go hand in hand with that first lick of a towering ice cream cone, and the sticky feeling as it drips down your hand. I'm not particular about how I eat it: I'll take it in a cone, in a cup, or straight from the pint. I love everything from plain old vanilla ice cream to wackier flavors packed with add-ins.
But my absolute favorite way to enjoy ice cream in the summer is to make it at home. When I was growing up, we used an old-fashioned wooden ice cream maker. We'd pack it with rock salt and ice, then sit outside sprawled on the grass, and churn it by hand until our arm muscles got sore. I'd take turns with my three sisters, and the resulting dessert was always sweeter for all the work.
Luckily, there are easier ways to achieve homemade ice cream success! In fact, you don't even need to mess about with egg yolks or make fussy stovetop custards to create a creamy, luscious ice cream at home. The trick is using sweetened condensed milk, which adds body and structure.
I'm billing this as a no-cook ice cream, but you could quibble with that because you need the oven to roast your blueberries. If you're not into cooking at all, you can just use fresh blueberries (or any other berries!). Roasting fruit is, however, a brilliant technique that's worth trying out. It gives a fantastic depth of flavor and jamminess to your fruit. The softer texture makes for a great ice cream add-in, creating swirls and ribbons of fruit throughout each bite.
To up the flavor, I add a little lemon juice and lemon zest and a pinch of salt. If you want a more interesting taste, try adding the optional thyme to the blueberries when you roast them. At the very end of the freezing process, you'll add a generous scoop of creme fraiche. Mascarpone or Greek yogurt work well here too. The reason for adding it at the end? It keeps the creme fraiche from incorporating fully into the ice cream, so you get soft streaks of creamy, tart dairy flavor throughout the richer cream-based mixture.
Scoop it in a cone, serve it in fancy bowls, or eat it right out of the freezer with a spoon. Whichever method you prefer, this is a recipe that'll change your summer dessert plans for the better.
For the roasted blueberries
- 2 pints fresh blueberries
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
For the ice cream
- 2 cups whole milk (or 2% milk)
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
- juice and zest of 1 lemon
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche