5 Ingredients or Fewer

Sicilian-Style Ice Cream

February  6, 2018
4 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Makes about 1 quart
Author Notes

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

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: For the Silkiest Ice Cream, Add One Ingredient —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Shannon Graham
    Shannon Graham
  • Camilla Rostin
    Camilla Rostin
  • Niknud
  • Emma Laperruque
    Emma Laperruque
  • Lisa L.
    Lisa L.
Emma was the food editor at Food52. She created the award-winning column, Big Little Recipes, and turned it into a cookbook in 2021. These days, she's a senior editor at Bon Appétit, leading digital cooking coverage. Say hello on Instagram at @emmalaperruque.

21 Reviews

Affie May 3, 2022
Hi Emma, great recipe :)
Can you please share a recipe to make frozen yogurt in an ice cream maker!
😊 😋
Emma L. May 4, 2022
Hi Affie! I love this frozen yogurt recipe from Max Falkowitz: https://food52.com/recipes/59924-max-falkowitz-best-and-easiest-frozen-yogurt-recipe
choolie May 14, 2021
Thank you so much for this recipe Emma. I have made it more than 100 times with various flavourings! I wanted to try and incorporate some tropical fruit, so I added a small packet of passion fruit pulp from Brazil. I added it along with the milk and cream, then did all the rest as normal. The ice cream came out terrible, too many ice crystals and brittle, totally the wrong texture. This acidy fruit pulp did not appear to curdle the milk and cream, it just got weird. What is the right way to incorporate fruit into a recipe like this? Help!!
Emma L. May 17, 2021
So happy to hear you've been enjoying the recipe! But what a bummer about the passion fruit. For fruit ice creams, I often prefer an uncooked base, so the fruit stays brighter in flavor. To mimic that here (and hopefully avoid the wonky texture), you could make the recipe through step two, then incorporate the fruit before churning.
Shannon G. July 27, 2020
Oh my goodness this recipe is amazing. I'll admit I find eggs to be rather gross so when I found a recipe that excluded yolks (gag) I was all in. I had no idea it would be so creamy and thick and yes, chewy. I only had about a cup of heavy whip so I substituted some half and half which worked out well. We ended up flavoring this with earl grey tea and some lavender buds. This will probably be our go to recipe in the future. The measurements seem right and the churn time is spot on. Thank you for an amazing recipe, this is a keeper!
Camilla R. April 9, 2018
Hi there! Thank you very much for this recipe! I may have been too generous with the starch but... my mistake...The flavor was amazing (I added vanilla beans) and you totally don't need the ice cream machine...I tried to use it but I found out it wasn't necessary! So this will become my go to ice cream recipe! :-)
Lisa L. May 24, 2019
Camilla, could you clarify how you made this without using an ice cream maker? Did you just eat it as custard? Or did you stir it periodically? This looks like a very interesting recipe but I don't have an ice cream maker!
Camilla R. May 27, 2019
Hi Lisa, I think I used 1 tbsp of starch more than what the recipe really needed, so the ice cream become immediately thick. I put the mixture in a container, I let it cool and finally stored it in the freezer, without stir it periodically. Let me know if this work also for you or I were just lucky!
Mona April 4, 2018
Thanks for the recipe, if I wanted to make different flavor like chocolate or berry what will be the ratio ?
Emma L. April 4, 2018
Depending on the mix-in (say, chopped chocolate or raspberries), figure anywhere from 1/2 to 1 cup, or more. All depends on how chunky you want it!
Scott February 20, 2018
So I just made this in my ice cream maker and the only thing I did was add 1TBS of vanilla. This is a great recipe and is basically a great gelato ice cream. Thanks again for your help and for the recipe!! It's now in my cook book
Heather February 11, 2018
I just made this recipe and found that the finished ice cream had a cornstarch texture and taste. Did I not cook it enough? Love the flavor and overall texture, but I found the cornstarch aftertaste off-putting.
Emma L. February 11, 2018
Hi Heather, sorry to hear that! My guess would be that it didn't cook enough. You can take the mixture to the point when it produces slow, thick bubbles—just make sure you're whisking while this happens, or else the bottom might scorch.
btglenn February 11, 2018
There are many ways to improve Philie style ice cream apart from increasing the starch. Adding corn syrup is one. Adding Gelatin is another. To take care of ice crystals when you freeze the ice cream, add a couple of tablespoons of non-fat milk powder to the mix. It absorbs some of the water that causes it. You can also add only half the cream to the mix when cooking it, and whipping the rest to add when your mixture is chilled. I lightens the finished product. Another recipe i've found which I have adopted is the "do-nut" one. Here, you add a doughnut or a slice of cake to the mix, which also adds to the silkiness -- probably the same way that additional starch does.
as a long-time ice-cream maker, I keep fiddling with my mixes although I find that Jeni's recipes are the most reliable. My current mix for a basic vanilla includes all of the above for a fairly silky product. If I do one with a fruit base I eliminate some of the additions. A yogurt-based mix also doesn't need these additions for a creamy ice cream.
However, no home-made ice cream will have the same silky texture that commercial ones do, because their equipment whips faster and more powerfully.
Starla February 7, 2018
I only use organic cream amd sugar, I do have organic cornstarch but wonder if anyone has tried any other starches such as tapioca ? I will be trying this recipe asap sounds great just be careful with gmo cornstarch
Emma L. February 8, 2018
Hi Starla—tapioca starch works, too! I can't speak to the specific quantity and method, as I haven't used that ingredient in ice cream before. From what I've read (in "Hello, My Name is Ice Cream" by Dana Cree) you would use half as much.
Scott February 7, 2018
I have a ice cream maker at home. Would I follow the instructions as normal and just put the mixture in and let the machine churn it like normal?
Emma L. February 7, 2018
Hi Scott—yes! Treat it like any other ice cream mixture, just anticipate that it will churn for less time.
Scott February 7, 2018
Thank you for the recipe and the fast reply!!
Niknud February 7, 2018
If I wanted to add vanilla flavor - would you just scrape a vanilla bean into the milk/cream mixture? I don't make ice cream a lot (except for Nigella Lawson's version) so this is probably a novice question....
Emma L. February 7, 2018
Hi Niknud! You could: 1) Yes, scrape a vanilla bean. Add the seeds to the cream and milk (I like to add them to a small amount of liquid first, to break up/dissolve, then incorporate into the rest). Then add the whole pod to the cream and milk, too, and start cooking. Remove the pod before churning. Or, 2) Add vanilla extract to taste (start with 1 teaspoon) at the end of step 1, right after you turn off the heat.