A few weeks ago, a reader reached out to me to see if I had ever featured any “no churn” ice cream recipes on the blog. Naturally, I was perplexed.
In other words, complete and utter madness.
After all, what’s ice cream without, well, the churn?
I’ve seen no-churn recipes here and there during my late night Pinterest binges, but truthfully, I never gave them much thought. That’s not real ice cream, I would say to myself. Then I would go about my business Pinning some sort of complicated egg yolk-based ice cream with ten thousand ingredients and ten years of prep time. Because, you know, that’s what real ice cream is all about.
However, it was pointed out to me this weekend, after wrinkling my nose in disdain at a less-than-desirable Mint Oreo Blizzard, that I could possibly be turning into somewhat of an ice cream snob.
(In my defense, the mint syrup wasn’t properly incorporated into the vanilla soft serve; it was just strewn across the sides of the cup like some sort of bright green dejected lover. And the Oreo situation? Don’t even get me started. More like “Mint Oreo Remnants Blizzard”).
I laughed off the comment at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more I was bothered.
I’m not an ice cream snob!
When I started the blog, my mission was to bring beautiful, delicious ice cream into everyone’s lives, regardless of location, season, or dietary preferences.
This message of Complete and Total Ice Cream Proliferation was supposed to be delivered unadulterated, without prejudice or malice. But here I was, alienating an entire segment of people, just because they didn’t own an ice cream maker.
Ashamed and embarrassed, I had a revelation:
Who am I to say what’s real ice cream?
I’m no expert; I just pretend to be one sometimes on my blog. But I think therein lays the root of my smugness: perhaps my quick criticism of these other ice cream methodologies stems from my own petty insecurity.
All this time, I’d focused so much energy into making sure my flavors and presentation were exciting and unique. But not once, not ever, had I thought about my actual technique.
Cook. Freeze. Churn. Repeat.
This has been my blog life for the past few years, and I never even gave it a second thought. But you know what? THE PEOPLE deserve better. They deserve innovative ice cream, produced in innovative ways. Especially if they lack the necessary kitchen equipment.
Yes. The people need ice cream, and it’s my job to deliver (at least in my own warped imagination).
Well, dear readers, ask and you shall receive!
I decided to play my first foray into No Churn Land a bit safe; choosing a flavor that had lots of extra stuff in it that could ensure textural and flavor success, even if the ice cream base turned out to be a bit lackluster from this new technique.
I’d been craving cannoli lately, but not just any cannoli – cannoli from Dalo’s bakery in Berwick, PA.
Not only does Dalo’s have amazing cookies, cakes, donuts, and brownies, but they have this cannoli that is sweet and cinnamon-y and amazing and OMG. It’s the best cannoli I’ve ever had (and I’ve had a lot of cannoli in my life). If I were independently wealthy, I’d purchase a second home in Berwick just to be close to this bakery. It is that good.
I’d also be ten thousand pounds, but sometimes you need to GO BIG OR GO HOME. And when it comes to dessert, I always choose big.
So, I got to work on my latest creation, extremely skeptical of the whole process. Through all of my no churn research, it seemed that the key was simply lots of heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk, whipped together wih an electric hand mixer. No eggs, no cooking, no churning.
It just felt too easy. So, I started entertaining the idea of making homemade cannoli shells for a few minutes until I realized what a huge pain in the a$$ they were going to be. I can count on one hand the number of times that I’ve attempted to fry things in my life, and all 5 times turned my kitchen into a greasy, sticky mess. No thanks.
I had a feeling that unfilled cannoli shells might be difficult to find in my neck of the woods, so my back up plan came in the form of cinnamon sugar pita chips – I knew they’d give the satisfying, cinnamon-y crunch I needed to make this ice cream taste just like real cannoli.
So, I set to work, unsure of what the outcome would be on this no churn journey of mine.
At first, I was discouraged when the heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk refused to thicken, but DO NOT GIVE UP. Success will be yours, with a little persistence.
Lo and behold, 5 or 6 minutes later, the contents in my bowl doubled in size and I was left with a fluffy, beautiful mess of whipped ricotta cheese. I added in the rest of my cannoli ingredients and popped into the freezer – no cooking, no nothin. It was so refreshing!
A few hours later, I dug my spoon into the container for a sample. And ohmygoodness, it tasted just like real ice cream!
Oh, alright fine – this was real ice cream.
Real ice cream that tasted like real cannoli. I was overjoyed.
And in case you don’t believe me, my husband said that this ice cream was “top five of all time.” (To give you some context, I’ve made probably upwards of 40 or 50 ice creams on the blog in the past two years. So, some high praise for this one 🙂 )
My only caveat with this ice cream is that is freezes really hard. I’m talking ROCK SOLID. When it’s this hard, the texture can be a bit crumbly, but I imagine that’s partially from the ricotta, and partially because there’s no eggs or cornstarch to hold it all together. Just make sure you leave ample time for the ice cream to soften, and this shouldn’t be a problem.
This ice cream is delicious and creamy and tastes just like cannoli. And the best part? It’s SO easy!
You’ll definitely see more no churn ice creams pop up on the blog again in the future. Now, if only I could figure out how to skip the freezing process altogether and have instant homemade ice cream, then we’ll be in business!
Happy scooping 🙂
No Churn Cannoli Ice Cream
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 15-ounce container of whole milk ricotta cheese
2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup pistachios, shelled, roasted, and salted
3 cups mini chocolate chips (I used the whole bag. But, whatever)
3 cups Stacy’s Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips, crushed (again, I pretty much used the whole bag)
Few pinches of salt, to taste (I used about one tsp)
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese and sweetened condensed milk. Mix with an electric mixer for one minute, or until fully combined and smooth.
- Add in your heavy cream (make sure it’s cold cold cold!), powdered sugar, and vanilla, then mix on high for 5 minutes, or until the mixture is thickened and forms soft peaks and the volume seems to have doubled in size (Yes – 5 minutes. It takes a bit longer for the cream to thicken because of all the other stuff mixed in. Don’t have a panic attack like I did, thinking your cream is faulty; just be patient :))
- Fold in the rest of your ingredients (the pistachios, mini chips, pita chips, and salt to taste) or mix with your electric mixer on the lowest speed.
- In your storage container, lay down one layer of ice cream, then follow with a layer of pistachios, chocolate chips, and pita chips. Add another layer of ice cream, then top with the remaining pistachios, chocolate chips, and pita chips. Cover the top with plastic wrap and set in your freezer to freeze.
- After 4 or 5 hours, the ice cream will be the consistency of soft serve; for a harder ice cream, allow it to set overnight (this will cause the ice cream to freeze very hard; give it about half an hour or so to soften before eating).
- Enjoy 🙂