We have recently acquired an ice machine with a built-in compressor, and we are enjoying every little bit of ice cream it's churning out.

One of the huge limiting factors of being allergic to dairy products is that, well, most ice creams are made with milk and/or whipping/double cream (granted, there are some products based on soy with an uncomfortably grainy feel, and a few made on oats, but you pretty much have to travel to another country to obtain these). So, time to experiment at home!

Ice machine

With dairy allergies there are a number of alternative choices when preparing ice cream. Rather than milk you can use water, rice drink, soy drink, or oat drink as some of the more readily available solutions. And instead of cream you can use soy or oat based "creams" (they are generally somewhat lower in fat content than cream so some experimentation has to be made). I usually rather dislike the grainy substance of soy, so I tend to favour the oat based products. I generally use Oatly's oat-based cream for all my cream needs (it's the only one that's readily available in Denmark), but if you're fortunate enough to be in Sweden, for instance, there are a lot of different oat based products available to you, also with higher fat concentration allowing you to stay closer to the milk-based recipes.

One of the seemingly rather north European traits is an unending love of liquorice, so why not combine the two: ice and liquorice. One of the very best liquorices on the Danish market is a handmade liquorice by Johan Bülow, and one of my favourites is his Habanero-chili-liquorice. (Non-liquorice-loving people can now experience true, physical pain when eating liquorice—unless, of course, you have a resistency toward Habanero-chili).

To extract enough flavour from the liquorice, I have sliced it very thinly.

Liquorice slices

This is then covered with a mix of oat based cream and water (to simulate the fat content of milk mixed with cream).

Liquorice cream

The cream and liquorice mixture is then simmered over low heat for at least 30 minutes, and if you have been using good, natural liquorice, then you will get something like this (after a bit of using an insertion blender; the liquorice pieces aren't completely dissolved so they can still contribute with a bit of a texture/bite to the finished ice cream):

Liquorice cream after simmering

If you do not use natural liquorice, you will get a gray unappetiteful pot of goo, so don't do that. In a separate bowl, whisk some egg yolks and sugar together, then, while whisking, slowly pour in the liquorice cream, then pour the entire thing back in the pot and simmer for another 5–10 minutes (until it has thickened). Then it goes into the refrigerator for at least 4 hours (until it has reached about 5°C).

Liquorice cream mix ready for churning

Depending on the freezing capabilities of your ice machine it will typically take 30–40 minutes to cool it to ice cream consistency that is ready for immediate consumption (otherwise place it in the freezer and take it out some 20 minutes before use).

Liquorice ice cream

This is a bit more than half a litre of liquorice ice cream that has finished churning.

Liquorice ice cream serving

Liquorice ice cream behaves rather like anise in what foods you can combine it with (anise also has a rather liquorice-y taste). So, typically, it will go wonderfully with strawberries and pineapple, just to name a few fruits.

The ice cream packs a good punch due to the Habanero chili, so this is definitely not a very kid-friendly ice cream, but if you love liquorice, chili and ice cream, this is a mix that cannot go wrong (unless you use poor liquorice, or mix it wrong, or...).

To save other dairy allergics from repeating a lot of experiments, then here is my simple recipe for an oat-based custard:

Chili-liquorice ice cream

  • 240 g oat-based cream
  • 240 g water
  • 56 g liquorice
  • 2 pasteurised egg yolks
  • 100 g sugar
  • pinch of salt

Combine cream, water and liquorice. Simmer for at least 30 minutes. Whisk yolks and sugar, gradually add cream mixture, pour back into pot and simmer for another 5–10 minutes until thickened. Add the pinch of salt and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Churn in ice cream mixer. Enjoy.

If you've kept reading until the end, then it was ice of you to stay with me so long (I know, I know, I need to brush up on my ice puns, that one was absolutely chilling).