Sugar free ice cream

I got an ice cream maker a few months back. Soon after I had put on a couple of kg and was really sick of ice cream, so the machine has been on the shelf since then. (In fact it inspired me to eat no sugar at all for a while, thinking if I can put on weight that easily, maybe I could lose it that easily too.) Ever since I’ve been wondering about how sugar free ice cream would work. In Scandinavia we have a product called Sukrin (consists of erythritol, which is a sugar alcohol. Sounds healthy doesn’t it?). It has a tiny bit of “cooling effect” on the tongue (think tooth paste) but very very little, not at all as much as for instance stevia. It’s excellent for baking. Of all artificial sweeteners I’ve tried this comes the closest to the taste of sugar. It even looks like sugar. It’s expensive, but that is OK by me, I use it rarely. You could sweeten the ice cream with honey or concentrated fruit, but that sort of goes against the purpose of this exercise.

But I worried about what would happen to it as it warmed up and cooled down, and whether it would do something bad for the ice cream’s consistency. Sugar is very sticky and does not freeze easily, which are great properties for making smooth ice cream. I read about it on the World Wide Web, and people claimed to have all sorts of problems, mixing it with some other substance to be able to freeze it better, or alleviate digestive problems. These people either:

  1. Eat way too much ice cream
  2. Don’t know how to make real ice cream
  3. Or know something that I don’t know.

Anyway, it worked just fine, with one small caveat: While it tastes like sugar it does not give that little buzzy feeling you get from sugar, where you just crave more. That sugar craving is in many ways a bad thing, but it’s part of the ice cream experience for me and one of the reasons ice cream is so delicious. So it’s a little bit like decaffeinated coffee, or virgin cocktails in that respect.

You need:

  • 2 egg yolks (pasteurized or tested salmonella free)
  • 2 US cups milk with cream. Ideal fat percentage is around 12-16%, so mix accordingly
  • 1/3 cup of erythritol
  • Gelatine (optional)
  • Vanilla and/or other flavouring
  1. This is a bain-marie.

    This is a bain-marie.

    Warm up the cream and milk in a regular saucepan, with whatever flavouring you want. I used half a vanilla pod and two table spoons of lavender flowers. Whatever taste you add at this point should be concentrated and not too acidic. Sweeten it to taste with erythritol, remember it should taste almost too sweet when it’s warm, as freezing takes some sweetness away. You can stir in one flake of gelatine now if you like. Once it’s dissolved, strain the mixture through a sieve.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks. Set up a bain marie (pot in a pot), so that the top pot does not touch the water, but only the steam. (If that is not possible, make sure the water does not boil, and pay attention so the eggs don’t curdle.) Heat up the whisked yolks gently in the bain marie and pour the warm cream mix into it. You can leave it on for a while now, just stir a bit and check if its done. It should thicken just enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  3. And this is a spoon

    And this is a spoon

    Leave to cool in the fridge for between 1 and 12 hours, then cool it in the freezer for 20 minutes before churning in the ice cream maker. If you want chunks of e.g. walnuts or chocolate, add them after churning. Freeze until 10 minutes before serving. Tastes best on the same day it’s made.
  4. If you don’t have an ice cream maker, freeze the mixture until it’s almost frozen, and thick, then blend it well with a stick blender, and freeze it again. This is much easier than stirring every half hour for six hours, and gives an equally smooth texture.

Works with sugar as well, if you like that stuff ;-P There are many good recipes out there, and I think everyone needs to make their own perfect recipe. I for one try to keep to these rules of thumb: One egg pr cup milk/cream, and about 15% fat and 10% sugar. At least for me it’s easier to work with ratios than calculate based on a recipe.

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3 thoughts on “Sugar free ice cream

  1. I’ve always been tempted to get one of those ice cream makers. But then I open my fridge and see a pint of ice cream that’s been there for months, it wouldn’t be the best investment.
    I like ice cream but can’t eat more than 2 spoons at once.

    • It’s a neat trick for when you have dinner guests, just casually serving some home made ice cream. But it does take a lot of space ;-)

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