Fundamental Really Low Sugar Ice Cream

I started fooling around with this recipe last summer, after reading this recipe at The Guardian. As it stood, it was of no use to me as it called for condensed milk, which is sweetened (very sweetened). I decided, though, to see what I could do with evaporated milk, which isn’t. The trouble with evaporated milk is that it is much thinner, and freezes differently. How would it work if made into a custard with an egg, I wondered?

The answer is, fairly well. The chocolate version of this is really quite excellent. So far, the berry version is not quite so good, being prone to large ice crystals forming in it. It also freezes much harder than commercial ice cream and must be tempered. However, it is ice cream, and ice cream that doesn’t have large amounts of sugar in it, meaning that I can eat it.

I will, no doubt, continue to play around with this – especially if the weather continues at some of the temperatures we’ve been seeing so far – and I will probably post specific flavours separately.

I started off using an erythritol-monkfruit artificial sweetener (available at Bulk Barn). It’s supposedly an all-natural artificial sweetener, and it is not supposed to raise your insulin levels, unlike other artificial sweeteners. It gets recommended a lot because of that, but I am a little dubious about it, and it still has a slightly odd aftertaste. I also found the sweetening effect to be a bit unpredictable when used alone so I tend to either just use real sugar or other regular sweeteners, or use half sugar and half of the erythritol-monkfruit blend.

Note that The Guardian’s recipe calls for adding a little alcohol to keep it soft. You can do that if you like, but be aware that alcohol is basically sugar.

8 to 12 servings
about 25 minutes total prep time
allow at least 3 hours for cooling and freezing

Make the Base:
1 354 ml tin evaporated milk
1 large egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 to 3 tablespoons sweetener of choice
1 1/3 cup whipping cream

Open (puncture in two spots) the time of evaporated milk and pour it all into the top of a double boiler. Whisk in the egg and salt, and sweetener of your choice, the amount and type being up to you and depending on other flavourings and ingredients to be added. Also depending on the flavour of ice cream desired, other ingredients may be added now; for instance if making chocolate ice cream the cocoa powder and chocolate should go in with the sweetener.

Heat the mixture over simmering water, whisking regularly at the beginning, moving into whisking constantly as the mixture begins to thicken. Once it has thickened – and it’s a thin custard, so the effect will be fairly subtle – remove it from the heat at once and let cool to room temperature before proceeding. There are some flavourings (for example the mashed berries) which may need to be added once the base is cool.

Beat the whipping cream until very stiff, and fold it into the cooled ice cream base. Transfer the mixture to a freezable container with a lid, and freeze  until solid.

It will likely need to be tempered before it is served – leave it on the counter for 30 minutes or in the fridge for about an hour before serving. These times may vary slightly depending on other ingredients added and how cold your freezer and fridge are, so check on it regularly until you have an idea of how long it will generally take.

For Chocolate Ice Cream:
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
60 grams (2 ounces) unsweetened or very bittersweet chocolate
use sugar OR erythritol-monkfruit sweetener

While the ingredients in the double boiler are still cold, mix in the cocoa powder and chocolate, broken into small pieces. Use sugar as your sweetener, to taste, or erythrito-monkfruit sweetener, or a mixture of the two. Otherwise proceed as directed above.

For Fruit (Berry) Ice Cream:
3 cups prepared frozen fruit
1 to 2 teaspoons appropriate flavouring extract, eg. vanilla, almond, lemon, etc
use honey, sugar, OR erythritol-monkfruit sweetener

Before you begin, remove the fruit from the freezer and spread it out on a plate in a single layer to partially thaw. 

Proceed as above to make the base, using honey, sugar, or erythritol-monkfruit sweetener, or a combination. Add a teaspoon of compatible flavouring extract to the custard just as it thickens, if you like. Let it cool, as above.

When the fruit is thawed ONLY JUST enough to be mashed with a fork, do so, and fold it into the custard. Then fold in the whipped cream, and freeze immediately.

For Rum & Raisin Ice Cream:
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup rum
1 or 2 tablespoons honey

Before you make the ice cream, soak the raisins in the rum and honey for at least an hour. Make the custard without other sweetener added, then fold in the raisins with the soaking liquid when the custard is cool, and proceed as usual.

Last year at this time I made Sour Cream Pancakes with Strawberry Maple Syrup.

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