7 min read

Stone Soup #17: I Scream, You Scream - Ice Cream, Avocado Ice Cream, Sorbet, Slushies


Stone Soup is an ongoing quarantine feature in which I come up with a recipe that uses the impossible thing in your cupboard, without making you go to the store or wasting any of your ingredients. Last time, we made easy pan-fried tofu.

It is so fucking hot in Los Angeles, y’all. I owe a big thank-you to Kerry for giving me a good excuse to write about FROZEN DESSERTS. Let’s do this. Kerry says:

I have hit a tipping point: many types of jam, yet no strong inspiration about using them. I mean, your nut butter plus is always an option, maybe bathing a meat in a jam before taking from the oven, those little cookies with jam in the thumbprint, always an excellent choice. But I live in the Southwest and it’s in the 80s and we’re winding down oven season. Other ideas?

I have:
Orange marmalade
Grapefruit marmalade
Tangerine spread
Sour cherry spread
Apple cider jam
Sugar plum jam
Pineapple jam
Pineapple coconut jam
Fig and port jam

That is so many kinds of preserves, and I really love that all of them are interesting — there’s not a dull preserve in this bunch. I see a lot of bright, rich flavors. That makes all of these perfect for use in frozen desserts.

In this post, I’m going to assume that nobody owns an ice-cream maker. If you own an ice-cream maker, you don’t need me! You have a robot that’ll do the job for you! But the rest of us peasants deserve some unrestrained summer fun, too. So, take a deep breath, and let’s eat a wide variety of

Freezy Treats

For all of these options, you can incorporate your preserves in the following ways:

  • Mix in your preserves as they are during the mixing phase (so you have Preserve-Flavored Dessert).
  • Add in the preserves as they are during the last phase of mixing; the cold temperature will firm them up, and you’ll wind up with Fruit Moments distributed throughout your dessert.
  • Combine 1C of preserves with .25C warm water, and heat on the stove until you have a syrup. Then, when the frozen dessert is almost finished, swirl the syrup in, so you have a ribbon of preserves woven through your final product.

Option One: Ice Cream.

This is a true ice cream, which means yours-truly can’t touch it without a feedbag of Lactaid at the ready. But hey, maybe your gut flora is more powerful than mine, or maybe you just don’t fear consequences. Either way, here’s how you do it.

Step One: Freeze a pan. You want a freezer-safe material that can stand up to some scraping, so I recommend stainless steel or pyrex. Use a cake pan, a lasagna pan, or a couple of brownie pans. Stick those things in the freezer pretty much as soon as you decide you’re going to want ice cream, but I’d say give them no less than 2 hours in the freezer to get good and cold.

Step Two: The basics. Combine 2C heavy whipping cream, 2C half-and-half, 1C sugar. You can also add some preserves here, to fully incorporate a fruit flavor. You can add extracts or bitters, like vanilla. This is the place for flavors that you want to be a uniform part of every single bite. Mix it all up until everything is completely blended and the sugar is dissolved.

Step Three: Everyone, chill. That’s a reference to Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze in the 1997 film Batman & Robin, which is objectively the best Batman Film. I’m sure I don’t have to defend that opinion to you, fine reader, you already know I’m right about this. Anyway.

Pour the stuff you just mixed up into your cold pan (or pans, if you’re using multiple smaller pans). Put the pan back into the freezer and walk away for 30 minutes. This is a great time for you to lie facedown on the floor of your bedroom, thinking about rising global temperatures!

Step Four: Arm Workout. After that 30 minutes has passed, you can go back and check on the ice cream. If the edges have started freezing, it’s time to beat it. I recommend using a hand-mixer for this. I bet an immersion blender would work well, too? But if you don’t have one of those, you can (a) whisk the shit out of it by hand, or (b) scrape everything into your blender/food processor and give it a good few pulses before pouring it back into the pan. That last one isn’t your best option, because it’ll warm things up, but do what you have to do. Your goal is to break up the crystal structures that try to form during the freezing process, so your end-product is smooth and creamy and… you know. Good.

Step Four: Repeat yourself. Do that arm workout every 30 minutes, four or five times in all, until what’s in the pan looks like ice cream. It’ll get firmer with every step, which makes not using a hand-mixer an unfriendly option.

That’s it! You iced some cream! Store it in a container you like for as long as it takes you to eat it.

Okay, but hang on a second. You don’t have heavy cream on hand — or you’d truly rather face death than the consequences of consuming that much dairy — and you don’t want to go to the store, but you still want the Ice Cream Experience. What’s that you say? You got a couple of avocados in your CSA? Wow, I have great news for you.

Option Two: Avocad-yes

I know that’s not really a pun about anything but this is my midlife-crisis-houseboat and I’ll run it into the ground wherever I like.

This is a recipe for the blender or food-processor and it is so easy.

Step One: Will It Blend? Grab your blender or food processor and throw in a couple of avocados. Not the pit or the skin, just the green part. What do you call that? The meat? The pulp? The… butter?? Anyway, that stuff, put it in the blender along with a can of coconut milk, including the solids. Add a few big squeezes of honey and whatever Fruit Preserve Addition you want. The juice of half a lemon would be nice, here, too, but if you don’t have it, don’t sweat it. Again, an immersion blender can be of use here if that’s all you’ve got.

Pulse this until the texture is nice. If you want, you can use coconut cream instead of coconut milk, and add a bit of water or coconut (or oat or almond or whatever) milk to get the consistency right. It should be like a thick smoothie. Also, the internet tells me that if you add a splash of vodka to this, you can keep it from freezing up too firmly further down the line.

Step Two: Gloop that down into a big pan. It wouldn’t hurt to freeze the pan beforehand, but you don’t have to. Put it in the freezer and check it every 30 minutes to see how the texture is looking. It'll probably take 2-4 hours to freeze. If you want to go the extra mile, you can mix it with a hand mixer or immersion blender a couple of times in there, but the final texture should be pretty darn smooth all by itself. After a couple of hours — before this is fully-set — you can transfer it into a less cumbersome container to finish freezing. It’ll set up pretty hard, so you might want to pull it out of the freezer 15-20 minutes before it’s time to eat it, so it’ll be extra-scoopable.

That’s it! You made avocado ice-cream! You’re the master of all you survey!

No thanks. You just want a fruity treat that won’t take that much work and that will send you into a nice, chilly sugar-coma.

Let’s see what we can do.

Option Three: Sorbet, Maybe

Okay, so sorbet is basically just fruit and sugar, frozen, right? And jam is basically just fruit and sugar, jellified. Let’s see if we can make this work.

Step One: Blend it. Your jam’s ratio of fruit to sugar is going to be 2:1 for sweeter fruits (like sugarplum) and 3:2 for more bitter fruits (like grapefruit). The ratio of fruit to sugar in sorbet is more like 4:1. So, okay, we need to add more fruit. In the food processor or blender, combine equal parts jam and fresh or frozen fruit, whatever kind you can muster.

Step Two: Strain & Freeze. Strain it to get bits out, if you’re fancy. Pour what you’ve got into a round cake pan or a brownie pan and stick it in the freezer.

Step Three: Cause Trouble. Once every 30 minutes, agitate the contents of the pan with a fork. If it’s freezing, smash it up and stir it around. Again, you’re just disturbing the crystalline structure of the thing. When it looks like sorbet, you can transfer it to a new container to keep, or you can sit on the couch with a spoon and refuse to let anyone make you feel ashamed of whatever happens next.

That’s it! You made sorbet! PHEW.

But wait. You don’t have any of that shit. You don’t have cream, you don’t have avocados, you don’t have coconut milk, you don’t have un-preserved fruit of any kind! You just have a lot of jam and a dream. You need a simpler solution than all this.

Option Four: Shave It Down.

Okay FINE. Let’s take this to absolute bare-bones. Syrup over crushed ice. This can be like a slushie if you want, or you can eat it with a spoon. I’ll literally never know what you choose.

Step One: Make a syrup. Combine 1C fruit preserves with .25C water in a saucepan over low low low heat, and stir until it’s a syrup. Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature.

Step Two: Crush some ice. Put your ice in the blender. Blend it until it’s crushed ice. I truly don’t know how to expand on this.

Step Three: Serve. Put the ice in a bowl. Pour some of the syrup you made over the ice. Garnish with your ardent hope for a bright future. And maybe also some alcohol. This would be a NICE way to make yourself a boozy, slushy cocktail.

That’s it, you did it! You did everything right! Celebrate yourself accordingly.

As I told Lady Freeze when I pulled her plug: there are fully four-ass recipes in this post so I’m not doing a just-the-recipe summary. Sorry.

If you came down here for the TL;DR: Above you can find recipes for ice cream, dairy-free ice cream, sorbet, and syrup over crushed ice, all of which you can make without an ice-cream maker.