Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Homemade Condensed Milk, and The Easiest No-Churn Rhubarb Ice Cream


I have lived in London long enough to not trust that first day in March when it is irrationally warm. I watch out instead for wild garlic in the fields and the first pink stalks of rhubarb in the markets. For me, the appearance of the earliest spring vegetables is the best indicator that the worst of the miserable months are over.

I got a tip off that the wild garlic's started, so last weekend consisted of a hike round the Heath with Sean (my favourite and only foraging partner), his super dog, and a new friend, fashion blogger Melody. We got back muddy (I'm sorry Melody) and starving, so we easily destroyed in minutes a whole wok of vermicelli fried with shiitake mushrooms, omelette strips and the freshly picked wild garlic. She had her big camera (again, sorry for the mud) and wrote a beautiful blog post about it so you can hop over to hers for more photos.



The next best thing about the change of seasons is the candy pink stalks of rhubarb. With that, I made ice cream (the third best thing about sunnier days).

This is the easiest ice cream you can make. There is no need for a fancy ice cream maker, or an alarm set at 20-minute intervals reminding you to hand-churn the mixture. The secret is condensed milk – a pantry essential in many Asian kitchens. The resulting ice cream might not be as perfectly smooth as a liquid nitrogen-blasted gelato, but it is good– wonderfully rich, creamy, and versatile enough to take on most flavours. It is quite sweet so I usually go for something tart as a contrast. Rhubarb is perfect now, but peaches and berries will be great in the later months.

NO-CHURN RHUBARB CONDENSED MILK ICE CREAM
serves 4-8
Ingredients
2 stalks rhubarb
1 tbsp organic butter
2 tbsp unrefined light brown sugar
600ml organic double cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
200ml organic condensed milk*

Method
1. Chop up the rhubarb into small pieces. Cook with butter and sugar over medium heat, stirring once in a while, until the rhubarb is tender. Let cool.
2. Put the double cream and vanilla extract in a large bowl, and beat with an electric whisk until you get stiff peaks. Stir the condensed milk into the cooled rhubarb. Gently mix in a quarter of the whipped cream, then fold in the rest, until well-combined.
3. Pour into a loaf pan and cover with cling film. Freeze until firm, about 6 hours. For easy serving, take out and leave in fridge for 20 minutes or so before scooping.




*When I was in California last year, one of the most amazing discoveries I made was that you can get organic condensed milk at their insanely huge Wholefoods stores. In which case, please don’t waste your time with the following recipe.

~

Condensed milk is the sweetener of choice for many beverages, like Malaysian teh tarik and Vietnamese iced coffee. In many parts of Asia, where fresh milk is expensive or difficult to come by, condensed milk is seen as a wonderful shelf-stable solution. It might seem silly then, that I am writing a recipe for making your own condensed milk. However, if you, like me, are after the creamy caramel sweetness of condensed milk rather than its cheap convenience, it is definitely worthwhile making your own additive-free version, using milk from healthy cows. 

HOMEMADE SWEETENED CONDENSED MILK
makes about 1 cup
Ingredients
500ml organic whole milk
200g unrefined light brown cane sugar
1 tbsp organic butter

Method
1. Combine the milk and sugar in a saucepan, and bring to a steady simmer. Lower the heat so that it is barely simmering, and let cook for about 2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent the milk from forming a 'skin' on top.
2. Stir the butter into the reduced milk mixture, before letting it cool completely. It should thicken further. If a 'skin' forms as it cools, simply lift off and discard. Pour into a clean jar and store in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Drizzle over toast/ add into coffees, teas and ice cream of course.

31 comments:

  1. That ice cream looks so creamy and smooth! I love that noodle stirfry too.

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    1. Thank you Angie! I'm really surprised it turned out so smooth especially since there was no churning involved!

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  2. What a wonderful Spring treat! I am hoping that our rhubarb clump will come back after the incredibly hard winter that we had here in New England. Yum! Ice cream!

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    1. Hoping the first signs of Spring will be on its way for you too Susan! Followed by ice cream weather! :p

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  3. I am sure I will enjoy this very much

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    1. Definitely if you like your ice cream!

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  4. Yay the sun is properly shining here and that ice cream looks like the perfect way to cool down. I love an ice cream recipe that doesn't require an ice cream maker. The foraging looks like fun!

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    1. So happy to see the sun finally shining again! Makes my day just having the warmth of the sun on my skin :) And ice cream of course. I don't have an ice cream maker so I really wanted to find out how I could make one without fancy gadgets/ too much work!

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  5. Sweet corn popsicles!! What is this madness ; ) I find myself very enticed!!! : ) Maybe it's the fabulous weather and the interesting mix of flavours!! Out there!! In a good way!!

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    1. Oh thank you! I'm flattered! It's probably the sun out there too though ;)

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  6. The foraging is my idea of a fun day out. This is so serendipity like. I have just made home made condensed milk and no churn ice cream! Love your recipes here :)

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    1. It was super fun! I really needed to get away to nature for a little bit. It was really muddy after a bout of rain but good messy fun.

      Wow you made it! That just made my day! :)

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  7. Your ice cream looks fabulous! First of all, I wonder why my Italian ice-cream shop never thinks of making rhubarb flavour and, most of all, I am seriously attracted to the condensed milk idea. I have never seen it in any ice-cream recipe and would love to try it. The popsicles sound crazy with the sweet corn inside. I would never ever consider eating corn in a sweet dish! Very inspiring!
    I have also the first batch of this year's wild garlic!!! Have a new idea to use it too.... I hope it will work.

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    1. Thanks Sissi! It was one of the most stressful things to photograph esp with the warm weather! I am surprised your Italian ice cream shop doesnt; its such a popular flavour here in the UK! Sweetcorn in desserts is a more Asian thing than British thing ;)

      Oh great you got some too! Will be checking back on your blog to see what you get up to with it.

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  8. Thanks Sissi! It was one of the most stressful things to photograph esp with the warm weather! I am surprised your Italian ice cream shop doesnt; its such a popular flavour here in the UK! Sweetcorn in desserts is a more Asian thing than British thing ;)

    Oh great you got some too! Will be checking back on your blog to see what you get up to with it.

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  9. hey shu han - have you tried doing this with canned condensed milk (say, Carnation?)

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    1. Yeah I tried it first with canned actually. I only tried to make my own condensed milk after I couldn't find organic ones, but if that doesn't bother you, go ahead! :)

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  10. lovely post, and love wild garlic fab ice cream

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  11. I do exactly the same thing; wait for rhubarb and wild garlic then asparagus! This ice cream sounds amazing, lovely way to celebrate rhubarb.

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    1. Thanks Caroline! Haha yes the first rhubarb/ wild garlic/ asparagus of spring are always so exciting!

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  12. No churn ice cream?? Count me in! I needed to leave my ice cream maker in Vancouver. :(

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    1. I couldn't afford one! Played around with so many no-churn ice cream recipes but this one was the best and so simple. Hope it worked out well for you :) xx

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  13. awesome post my friend...
    this post must be insulting my sisters n mother, they always bugging me abouth how good they churn ice cream, lol
    Dedy@Dentist Chef

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    1. Properly churned ice cream will be amazing I'm sure. This is just the lazy (and equally delicious) way out ;)

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  14. Wonderful ice cream making. I'm really so glad to read in this blogs. Thank you

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  15. Hi Shu Han, your ice cream look very creamy and smooth. Wah, you even made your own condensed milk. 2 thumbs up!

    Have a nice week ahead,regards.
    Amelia

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  16. This ice cream looks amazing! Great taste and very creamy, smooth texture!

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  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  18. Hi there! I am Singaporean in Canada! Could you please include a a link to your friend's recipe to the fried vermicelli with omelette strips? <3

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  19. das gefällt mir und schöne Fotos

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