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Shows three scoops of coffee ice cream in a black bowl.

THE ITALIAN WAY TO ICE CREAM

Coffee Ice Cream
• with corn starch •

With coffee beans, milk, cream, sugar, and corn starch.

This is our Italian Way to Ice Cream, because we use corn starch to thicken the ice cream mixture, often used to make homemade Italian gelato. It is the kind of ice cream which is refreshing and cooling, with a full-bodied mouthfeel. It is also firm and resistant to melting, making it the perfect ice cream in summer when the weather is hot.

In this Coffee Ice Cream recipe we use coffee beans to flavour the ice cream mixture. The ice cream has a sweet and earthy coffee flavour, like a good cup of cappuccino. Use your favourite coffee beans (no grind is needed) or choose your coffee beans judging by the smell; they should smell divine.

3 more ways to make this coffee ice cream:

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With coffee beans, milk, cream, and sugar.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. Our winter favourite for its cosy mouthfeel. With coffee beans, milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to an eggless store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient: xanthan gum. With coffee beans, milk, cream, sugar, and xanthan gum.

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With coffee beans, milk, cream, and sugar.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. Our winter favourite for its cosy mouthfeel. With coffee beans, milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to an eggless store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient: xanthan gum. With coffee beans, milk, cream, sugar, and xanthan gum.

also available:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

The ingredients for the recipe shown from left to right: corn starch, milk, heavy cream, sugar, coffee beans.

Coffee beans: the taste of the ice cream will be as good as the coffee beans you use. So pick your favourite coffee beans, or choose your coffee beans judging by the smell; they should smell divine. We tested the recipe with the easy-to-find Illy brand coffee beans (Classic Roast, 100% Arabica), and we absolutely loved it.

• Milk: use whole milk; this has approx. 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Corn starch (A.K.A. cornflour or maize starch) in some countries, it is named “cornflour”, but it is not flour; it is a starch. That means that it is white in colour and powdery in texture; it looks like confectioner (powder) sugar. It is described on the label as a thickener for sauces, soups etc.

• Heavy cream (for double cream read below): use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream, again with 35-38% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar), or a good quality raw cane suar, such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the coffee flavours.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

The ingredients for the recipe shown from left to right: corn starch, milk, heavy cream, sugar, coffee beans.

Coffee beans: the taste of the ice cream will be as good as the coffee beans you use. So pick your favourite coffee beans, or choose your coffee beans judging by the smell; they should smell divine. We tested the recipe with the easy-to-find Illy brand coffee beans (Classic Roast, 100% Arabica), and we absolutely loved it.

• Corn starch (A.K.A. cornflour or maize starch) in some countries, it is named “cornflour”, but it is not flour; it is a starch. That means that it is white in colour and powdery in texture; it looks like confectioner (powder) sugar. It is described on the label as a thickener for sauces, soups etc.

Sugar: you can use regular sugar (white granulated sugar) or a raw cane sugar such as Demerara or Turbinado, which enhances the coffee flavours.

Do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Heavy cream (for double cream read below): use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream, again with 35-38% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

Overview

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Make a corn starch slurry: in a heatproof bowl whisk the corn starch into 3 tablespoons of  the infused milk.

Bring the milk, heavy cream, and sugar to a full boil,
and pour it into the corn starch slurry. Stir to thicken.

Add the heavy cream.

Add the coffee beans and cool down over an ice bath.

Bowl with ice cream mixture and coffee beans.

Chill the ice cream mixture overnight or until completely cold.

Strain the ice cream mixture.

pouring coffee beans and milk over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl.

Cool the ice cream mixture down over an ice bath.

Showing from above coffee ice cream churning in the ice cream machine

Put it in the freezer for a few hours to set. 

As soon as it sets, you can either serve it from the ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a container and store it in the freezer.

The recipe

Coffee Ice Cream | with corn starch

Coffee Ice Cream | with corn starch

Ingredients:
Notes:

When making ice cream prefer to weigh all the ingredients by weight. We also recommend weighing the liquids directly into the bowl/pan as you proceed with the recipe instead of transferring them from one bowl to another because this transfer causes a small -but unwanted- loss of quantity.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:
• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 Tbs. = 15 ml

• sugar: measuring sugar in tablespoons is more accurate than measuring it in cups. Use a 15 ml measuring tablespoon (not a regular one); this is 13 gr of sugar. To measure correctly, each time you scoop the sugar, level it with the flat side of a knife.

• milk and cream: thoroughly scrape with a rubber spatula any residues left on the sides and bottom of the cup every time you measure something and empty it.

Note that the quantities in each measuring system (grams, ounces, and cups) in our recipes may not be accurate conversions, while any deviations you may notice do not affect the outcome.

This coffee ice cream is perfect as it is. However, if you want to boost its flavour you can substitute the regular sugar with good-quality raw cane sugar, such as Demerara or Turbinado. These sugars have a natural subtle caramel flavour which pairs well with the coffee’s citrus notes and boosts its flavour.

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, we strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one. 

Instructions
Plan ahead:

Prepare the ice cream mixture in advance (overnight or at least 8 hours before) to give time for the coffee to infuse and the ice cream mixture to chill.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the coffee infusion

You do not need a thermometer to make this recipe; whenever temperatures are given, they are for the convenience of those who like to use a thermometer. Every temperature is accompanied with a description, so that you always know when you have reached this temperature, even without the thermometer.

Make a corn starch slurry: in a large heatproof bowl, put the corn starch (30 g; 1 oz) and 3 tablespoons of the milk (45 g; 2 oz) to create a slurry. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Bring the rest of the milk and all the sugar to a boil: in a medium saucepan place the rest of the milk (720 g; 25.4 oz) and all the sugar (240 g; 8.5 oz) and warm over medium heat, often stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high. Remove from the heat as soon as it comes to a full boil (about 90° C / 194° F / when the milk’s surface is covered with bubbles which pop vigorously / if the milk starts to overflow).

Immediately pour the boiling milk into the corn starch slurry and stir for one minute; notice that it will start to thicken as you stir. 

Add the heavy cream (365 g; 12.9 oz) and stir to combine.

Just a tad. The difference in the thickness will be from that of milk to the thickness of heavy cream. That may seem too little, but it is enough for now, as the ice cream mixture will continue to thicken as it cools (step 4).

If the milk doesn’t thicken as described above, return it to the saucepan and onto medium-high heat, constantly stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When it starts to thicken (or when the first bubbles appear on its surface), immediately remove it from the heat and pour it back into the bowl.

Step 2: Infuse and chill the ice cream mixture

Add the coffee beans (150 g; 5.3 oz) to the hot ice cream mixture and stir to moisten the coffee beans. 

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to cool down the ice cream mixture. This will take approx. 30 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or until completely cold.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

Step 3: Churn the ice cream

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: it should feel fridge-cold when you place your finger into it (below 12ºC / 54ºF, if you have a thermometer).

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Strain: the ice cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve. You may need to do it in two parts. With the sieve still placed on the bowl, stir the coffee beans and scrape the bottom beneath the sieve to release any ice cream mixture stuck there.

Stir: give a nice, thorough stir to the ice cream mixture.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 4: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· place it in the freezer, uncovered.
Setting time depends on many factors; see notes below for indicative times.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take:

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative.

Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 1-2 hours: or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11°C / 12°F. If you do not have a thermometer, to check if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom:

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time, it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should be firm and with the same consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it may feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard to insert the knife into it; and likely too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. In this case, click on the next bulb to see how to make it scoopable again.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will become too hard to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is soft enough to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C /12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. So it is too messy to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency: scoopable and easy to serve or transfer to another container to store it.

Storing and serving

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11°C / 12°F.

Instructions

Prepare the ice cream mixture in advance (preferably overnight) to give time for the coffee to infuse. 

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Make a corn starch slurry: in a large heatproof bowl, put the corn starch (25 g; 1 oz) and 3 tablespoons of the milk (45 g; 2 oz) to create a slurry. Whisk until smooth. Set aside.

Bring the rest of the milk and all the sugar to a boil: in a medium saucepan place the rest of the milk (720 g; 25.4 oz) and all the sugar (240 g; 8.5 oz) and warm over medium heat, often stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to high. Remove from the heat and as soon as it comes to a full boil (about 90° C / 194° F / when the milk’s surface is covered with bubbles which pop vigorously / if the milk starts to overflow).

Immediately pour the boiling milk into the corn starch slurry and stir for one minute; notice that it will start to thicken as you stir. 

Add the heavy cream (365 g; 12.9 oz) and stir to combine.

Add the coffee beans (150 g; 5.3 oz) to the hot ice cream mixture and stir to moisten the coffee beans. 

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to cool down the ice cream mixture. This will take approx. 30 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight or until completely cold.

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: it should feel fridge-cold when you place your finger into it (below 12ºC / 54ºF, if you have a thermometer).

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Strain: the ice cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl. You may need to do it in two parts. With the sieve still placed on the bowl, stir the coffee beans inside it, then scrape the bottom beneath the sieve to release any liquid stuck there.

Stir: give a nice, thorough stir to the ice cream mixture.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker. Leave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· place it in the freezer, uncovered.
Setting time depends on many factors; see notes below for indicative times.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing.

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11°C / 12°F.

You do not need a thermometer to make this recipe; whenever temperatures are given, they are for the convenience of those who like to use a thermometer. Every temperature is accompanied with a description, so that you always know when you have reached this temperature, even without the thermometer.

How much should the milk thicken? Just a tad. The difference in the thickness will be from that of milk to the thickness of heavy cream. That may seem too little, but it is enough for now, as the ice cream mixture will continue to thicken as it cools (step 3).

Troubleshooting: if the milk doesn’t thicken as described above, return it to the saucepan and onto medium-high heat, constantly stirring so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When it starts to thicken (or when the first bubbles appear on its surface), immediately remove it from the heat and pour it into the bowl.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (below 12ºC / 54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream.

It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Warning: some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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