Nigella Lawson's Clever Base For No-Churn Ice Cream At Home

No-churn ice cream is always a favorite dessert to make. No fancy equipment is required, and most recipes use simple pantry staples, including Nigella Lawson's version of this frozen favorite. Lawson's clever base for no-churn vanilla ice cream includes heavy cream and sweetened condensed milk added to caffeine and spirits to customize the flavor. 

She told Food 52 she flavors her no-churn "...with espresso powder and liqueur." Lawson explained that alcohol has a purpose just like all of the other ingredients. She said, "The sugar and booze keep it from getting hard and icy; The whipped cream provides air (and, yes, cream); The thick condensed milk helps do the work of a custard."

Lawson's additions also add "bitterness or sharpness" to keep the sweetness in check. She stated, ", bourbon, and salted caramel, the fixings for a margarita, [or] the combined juices of pomegranate and lime – this effortless ice cream could make life subtly sweeter in the grown-up world."

Be conservative with your booze

If you are thinking about adding alcohol to your next no-churn ice cream, a common tip among professional chefs and home cooks alike, it is important to know it will help produce a smoother, softer end product that's ready to scoop into those cups and cones. However, while booze has a lower freezing point than water and will help to fend off the dreaded ice crystals, if you add too much of any spirit to this frozen dessert, you will end up with a mushy mess.

Too much alcohol can also affect the flavor, the texture, and how well the mixture sets in the freezer. Anything over 5 tablespoons of your preferred liquor is too much. Instead, to keep the flavors of your spirits subtle, you should to 1 or 2 tablespoons. In Lawson's recipe for her One-Step, No-Churn Coffee Ice Cream, shared with Food 52, she calls for 2 tablespoons of espresso liqueur, paired with 2 tablespoons of instant espresso powder, one-and-a-quarter cups of heavy cream, and two-thirds cup of condensed milk.