DIY ice cream

25 July, 2017

Not only is Cooked packed with recipes, because every book is published in full, we also have tips and advice from expert authors on plenty of subjects. So, if you think it’s too much effort to make your own ice cream, then think again. It’s surprisingly simple to do at home with Leiths School of Food and Wine by your side. Here’s their easy guide to making ice cream at home.

There are four methods for making your ice cream base and each one gives different but equally delicious results.

Custard method:

A classic ice cream: this uses crème Anglaise as a base, so the ice cream can be very rich. Flavourings, like our vanilla ice cream are added by infusing the milk or cream before making the crème Anglaise, or by adding flavourings, such as fruit purées, once the custard is made. Solid ingredients such as chocolate chips or chopped nuts need to be added after churning or breaking down the ice crystals in a food processor.

All-in-one method:

This is the easiest and quickest method, often used for a yoghurt-based ice cream with added flavouring, such as a fruit purée. The ice cream usually needs churning to develop a smooth texture, which is difficult to achieve otherwise as the fat content is low. These ice creams are crystalline and hard when frozen, but melt very quickly and are therefore difficult to blend in a food processor.

Meringue method

For this method a sugar syrup is whisked into stiffly whisked egg whites. Air is incorporated during this process, which gives the ice cream a smooth, creamy texture and makes churning unnecessary. Cream is folded into the meringue base to lend richness. Flavouring, often in the form of a fruit purée, is added at this stage too; intensely flavoured fruits with a high acidity work particularly well with meringue-based ice creams.

Mousse method:

Here a sugar syrup is whisked into egg yolks to create a light foam or mousse. The ice cream is enriched with lightly whipped cream folded into the yolk and sugar syrup base. Air incorporated during the whisking process gives the ice cream a rich, smooth texture, which makes churning unnecessary; the ice cream can be frozen immediately. Small quantities of flavourings can be added to the yolks in powder or purée form before the syrup is incorporated. Alternatively, they can be folded into the mousse base, before the whipped cream is added. An ice cream made by this method is often referred to as a parfait.


Using an ice-cream machine is the best method of churning an ice cream, to break down ice crystals and incorporate air for smoothness and creaminess. If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, the ice cream can be blended in a food processor. It must be frozen in a shallow tray, cut into cubes when frozen and quickly blended to a purée before it melts. Returning the ice cream to the freezer immediately is essential, as if it becomes liquid again the churning will be ineffective. If using a food processor, the ice cream ideally should be blended at least twice.


Freshly made ice creams are best eaten within 24 hours. They can be frozen for two months or more, but their flavour and texture will deteriorate after two or three days.


Unless the ice cream is very soft, you should transfer it from the freezer to the fridge 20-30 minutes before serving to allow it to soften a little, making it easier to scoop and serve.

Our top three ice-cream machines

If you’re thinking of making a purchase, these are the ones on our wish list.

The best compact ice-cream maker

Cuisinart has two fantastic ice-cream makers. One is the all-singing Ice cream & Gelato Professional, which churns as it freezes and makes a batch of gorgeously frozen ice cream in just 40 minutes, though at £250 this is more of an investment piece. The other, is more compact, and you need to freeze the bowl first, but also gives fantastic results every time and is easy to use. £80, Cuisinart

The best ice-cream attachment

KitchenAid ice cream maker for Artisan stand mixer is a brilliant accessory if you already have the mixer. It has a double insulated wall filled with liquid, which gives a beautifully evenly frozen mixture. We stored the bowl in the freezer so that we could make ice cream at a moment’s notice, but it is quite large so that won’t work for everyone. This is a great one for children as they can see the ice cream coming together as it churns. £81, KitchenAid and most good kitchen shops

The best lolly maker 

For frozen yogurts, smoothies and plain water ices, this handy gadget from Zoku is the perfect space-saving option. Simply freeze the Quick Pop maker, pour in your chilled liquid, finish with a lolly stick and in less than 10 minutes you’ll have your own homemade lolly to enjoy. £38.29 John Lewis

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