This minimalist, no-flavor flavor goes by many names. Some call it: sweet cream. Others: fleur de lait, or flower of milk. The spirit is the same—a take-me-as-I-am ice cream with zero adornments. (And yes, vanilla counts as an adornment!) "Sicilian-style" speaks to the addition of cornstarch, which, much like egg yolks, makes the ice cream thick, creamy, and silky. This was born to be scooped atop warm, fudgy brownies. Or drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt. If you really want to gild the lily, fold in any (frozen!) mix-ins—from berries to cookies to candy bars—post-churn. —Emma Laperruque
Combine the heavy cream and milk in a small pot. Set over medium-low heat. Combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a separate bowl; stir with a fork to break up any lumps. Cook the cream mixture, stirring occasionally, until very hot but not boiling. Add a splash to the sugar-cornstarch mixture and stir until smooth. Add another splash and stir, then another splash and stir. When you’ve added about half the cream and milk, pour the starchy liquid back into the pot and whisk to combine. Continue to cook over medium heat—stirring slowly but constantly with a whisk—until the mixture thickens, about 1 minute. Imagine a thin pudding: Your whisk will leave a trail and a spoon dipped in will come out completely coated.
Transfer the mixture to a heatproof bowl and press a piece of plastic film on top—this will prevent a skin from forming, just like with a pudding. Chill until very cold, or up to 2 days.
Churn for about 25 minutes—less than than you would need to for ice cream. Eat immediately, if you like soft serve–style, or freeze. Or both!
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.