How to make ice-cream without a machine

Caroline Velik's no-machine cherry sorbet.
Caroline Velik's no-machine cherry sorbet. Photo: Marina Oliphant

If you love ice-cream but don't have an ice-cream machine, it can be extremely disappointing to read a recipe only to find the statement "churn according to manufacturer's instructions" at the end. But you don't need a machine to make lovely ice-cream and sorbets.

The key is to freeze your mixture quickly and beat regularly to incorporate air and break down the ice crystals. The first step is to pour your completed custard base or sorbet mixture into a large shallow tin. Cover with greaseproof paper followed by a layer of foil.

Freeze for 30 to 90 minutes. You want frozen sides but a slushy middle and the time this takes will depend on your freezer and the type of ice-cream you are making. Remove the ice-cream and turn into a bowl. Whisk with an electric beater or food processor until smooth.

Return the ice-cream to the flat tray, cover and refreeze, repeating the process three times every 30 to 60 minutes until you have a uniformly smooth and thick ice-cream or sorbet. Return to the freezer for another hour before serving.

If this seems like too much work, take note of the Italians' solution — semifreddo, a frozen dessert beaten once before freezing. Made from cream, eggs, sugar and fruit or flavouring, semifreddo has a dense texture but is equally delicious.

Caroline Velik's cherry sorbet
This is not a traditional ice-cream recipe but it still has great ice-cream-like texture. It's quick, easy, doesn't need an ice-cream machine and is great with other berries.

300g frozen pitted cherries
½ cup castor sugar
2 large egg whites

Chop cherries roughly and place in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed for a few minutes to break up.

Add sugar and egg whites and whisk on high speed for 5 minutes, until more than doubled in volume.

Place mixture in a 1-litre container and freeze for 4 hours (or overnight if possible). Remove from freezer to serve.

Makes 1 litre