What can you make from sweetened condensed milk aside from Viet coffee drinks? Ice cream! I take a no-churn approach that involves whipping up the milk, heavy cream, and flavorings until fluffy and then freezing the mix for several hours. You don’t need an ice-cream maker, just an electric handheld mixer. (An immersion blender does not add enough air.)
Instant espresso, molasses, and vanilla create a strong Vietnamese coffee flavor; brewed coffee injects too much liquid into the mixture and compromises the texture. The sea salt’s edge amplifies things. If you like, gild the lily with chocolate bits (see the Note), but this ice cream is also sensational without it.
No-Churn Vietnamese Coffee Ice Cream
makes about 2 cups
takes 10 minutes, plus 5 to 6 hours to freeze
- 1½ to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Brimming 2 tablespoons instant espresso
- Fine sea salt
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- Brimming ⅓ cup full-fat sweetened condensed milk
- Scant 1 tablespoon molasses
In a medium bowl, combine 1½ teaspoons of the vanilla, the espresso, and 2 pinches salt and stir to mix well; it will seem slightly sludgy. Add the cream, condensed milk, and molasses. Taste and, if you want to boost the flavor a touch, add more vanilla, ¼ teaspoon at a time; the amount required depends on the vanilla and your palate. An extra pinch of salt sometimes helps too.
With an electric handheld mixer fitted with two beaters or a whisk attachment, whip the mixture at high speed for about 3 minutes, until you get a firm, spreadable texture like fluffy whipped cream or frosting. Transfer to a 3-to 4-cup storage container, cover, and freeze until firm, 5 to 6 hours, or up to 2 weeks.
Let the ice cream sit at room temperature for 10 to 15 minutes to soften to a scoopable texture before serving.
Note: For coffee and chocolate ice cream, hand chop 1½ ounces bittersweet or dark chocolate into very small bits so they will disperse well. After whipping up the ice-cream mixture, use a spatula to gently fold in the chocolate. Freeze as directed. Your yield will be a little more than the original recipe.
Reprinted with permission from Vietnamese Food Any Day: Simple Recipes for True, Fresh Flavors by Andrea Nguyen, copyright © 2019. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.” Photography credit: Aubrie Pick © 2019.
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