Making Ice Cream – Jeni’s Way

There is a new way to make ice cream wandering around the block. Well, it’s not technically new but it is new to me. Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream can take the credit for this new technique. Now, what I am about to tell you might be surprising. You may want to take a seat in case you are reading while standing, or walking, or something. Jeni’s technique uses tapioca (or corn) starch, corn (or tapioca) syrup, and cream cheese. I can hardly believe I am about to write these words… I made ice cream using tapioca starch and corn syrup and I love it!

When I first opened her book I went straight to browsing recipes, that’s when I saw the ingredient list and closed the book. I thought, what’s the point in making something homemade if you are just going to use what they use in the store?? Reading her explanation put it into perspective to me. Egg yolks are called for in ice cream recipes to thicken the cream by binding to water, but Jeni explains that this is unnecessary since the protein in milk does this. Her trick is boiling the milk and cream with enough sugar so it won’t curdle. She uses corn syrup (glucose) in her recipes for its water-binding capabilities, tapioca (or corn) starch as, what she calls, an insurance policy, and cream cheese to give the ice cream body.

I know what you may be thinking, me, Mrs. Anti-Corn, using corn-products in my ice cream… it’s almost unthinkable. But since I can’t knock something until I try it, I gave it a shot, skeptical to say the least. However, for what it’s worth, I used organic corn syrup since I couldn’t find tapioca syrup and didn’t trust conventional corn syrup.

In the end, I was no less than impressed. That isn’t to say that ice cream that uses egg yolks (like pistachio or strawberry) is any less tasty, I actually haven’t tried them back to back to tell, but Jeni’s ice cream texture is impeccable. I’ve dealt with really crummy textured ice cream (like ricotta) using egg yolks as well as amazingly textured ice cream (like chocolate) but this ice cream is different. It is dense, and almost chewy, yet very smooth. It keeps its form in your mouth and doesn’t turn grainy when melting on your tongue. Like I said, I am impressed.

Another benefit of this method is it’s very easy to make. There is no risk of scrambling while trying to temper eggs and the timing is pretty exact. I did change some of the process, though. Jeni instructs to pour the hot custard into a large Ziploc bag and submerge it into an ice bath, but in my kitchen that is a recipe for disaster. So I went with my normal process of covering the bowl and placing it in the refrigerator to chill. The only problem I see with doing it that way is condensation builds up on the plastic wrap and the water could fall into the custard, maybe the ice cream rather icy. This can be prevented by letting the custard cool down a bit before covering it. Either way, I haven’t noticed any iciness to my ice cream.

I wish I could share with you every recipe I find delicious, but then I would be sharing the whole book. Instead, I will only be sharing two recipes with you but encourage you to check out her book. Her story is so inspiring and is well worth the read if not for the recipes than for her practical tips such as covering the ice cream with parchment paper to store it in the fridge… brilliant!
So check back next week for a berry crisp ice cream recipe and a chocolate cayenne ice cream recipe. Yum!

Just to clarify, the first two pictures in this post are pictures I took of Jeni’s book. I just couldn’t resist sharing with you guys the beautiful illustrations and images contained therein, which you can get a sneak peak at on Amazon.

Share This Post


  1. Kelly says: Reply

    Sounds amazing! And that photo of chocolate cayenne ice cream is causing all kinds of chocolate cravings to attack! 🙂
    Kelly @ View Along the Way

  2. Thanks! When do chocolate craving not attack?! 🙂

  3. Nethan says: Reply

    Hey i run an ice cream parlor and this all sounds so yummy and i am definitely going to try. As for the use of tapioca syrup i want to recommend tapioca syrup produced by Shafi Gluco Chem. I have tried it myself and i must say that it added more taste to my recipe. Do try.

    1. Thanks, I’ll check it out!

Leave a Reply