Yes, occasionally we try to have our cake (er...ice cream) and eat it too by making a low-sugar, low-fat ice cream. Our biggest problem with these recipes is actually not so much the flavor but rather the fact that the ice cream usually ends up rock hard and full of ice crystals. Not so appealing.
Besides making ice cream taste rich and delicious, sugar, egg yolks, and full-fat cream all help make ice cream creamy and soft by interfering with the formation of ice crystals. When we reduce the presence of these ingredients, the ice cream will freeze more solidly and with bigger ice crystals.
But there's hope!
1. Churn Low-Sugar Ice Cream for Longer - An extra few minutes will help break larger ice crystals into smaller pieces, giving the ice cream a smoother texture.
2. Use Cornstarch in the Base - Just a tablespoon or so of cornstarch will help thicken the ice cream base without adding extra fat, and the resulting ice cream will still taste creamy. Artisan ice cream maker Jeni Britton of Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream actually prefers using cornstarch instead of yolks in all her ice cream because she likes the cleaner flavor. And her method is so simple!
3. Add Some Booze - Alcohol won't freeze, so it can help keep low-sugar ice creams from getting too hard. Ice cream guru David Lebovitz recommends no more than three tablespoons of 40-proof liquor per quart of ice cream base. He also recommends using vodka if you don't want to interfere with the ice cream's flavors, but other liquors like Grand Marnier and kirsch can be fun to play with, too!
Do you have any other advice for better low-sugar, low-fat ice cream?
(Image: Emma Christensen)