All you’ll need is some fruit and what’s probably already in your pantry

By Stacey Ballis
Updated September 14, 2020
Advertisement

There are few things as tasty and satisfying as making your own ice cream, but you’ve got to have a big supply of milk or cream on hand to get your churn going. Ready to have that world view rocked? This summer I discovered (thanks to a chef friend who shared an old family recipe) that you can make ice cream without fresh milk or cream. You read that right. Invented in a hot-weather region in a time before refrigeration, the recipe relies on canned sweetened condensed milk to provide both the dairy and sugar for the recipe—a one-stop shop of deliciousness! The cooked sugars in the canned condensed milk also help to lend a terrific texture to the finished product.

Ready to raid the pantry and churn? I thought so.

Meet the miracle ice cream made from pantry ingredients

The most important thing about this ice cream is that it is essentially all pantry and fridge ingredients, so you don’t need to head to the store for anything special. It does need to chill and cure overnight for best flavor and texture, but it comes together easily. I have made it with fresh or frozen fruit that I have mashed up, packaged fruit puree, and even mashed canned and pickled fruit! The original recipe starred pickled peaches, which are a standout here, but use what you have. If using canned or pickled fruit, be sure to mash with a little bit of the syrup or pickling liquid for deeper flavor. This makes about a quart. If you have a two-quart machine, you can double the recipe.

Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

Westend61/Getty Images

Pantry Fruit Ice Cream

Adapted from Bill Smith’s old family recipe/makes about 1 quart

3/4 tablespoon cornstarch

1 cup cold water

2 ½ cups sweetened condensed milk (about a can and a half; save the rest of the second can in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a month for your next batch)

3 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 ½ cups fruit puree, or mashed fruit that is fresh, frozen, canned, or pickled

Dissolve the corn starch in the water. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs till foamy, then add the sweetened condensed milk and mix to combine. Stir the cornstarch water to ensure it is still well-blended, then pour into the egg mixture, and whisk to combine completely.

Transfer to a medium heavy-bottomed pot and place it over medium-low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is thickened to the consistency of pudding and leaves a trail when you run the spoon or spatula along the bottom. Do not let it come to a boil. Stir in the fruit of your choice and keep heating and stirring until you see steam appear on the surface and the mixture has regained its thick texture.

Remove from heat and transfer to an airtight container, pressing a piece of plastic wrap on the surface to prevent a skin forming, and let cool for about 30 minutes. Then put in the fridge overnight or up to 48 hours.

Churn the chilled mixture according to the instructions on your ice cream machine. Transfer to an airtight container and put in the freezer for a minimum of two hours before serving.