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Updated on June 19, 2010

Electric sorbetieres (sorbet or icecream makers) are both labor saving and efficient. These are usually placed inside the freezer compartment of the refrigerator while the flex trails out to an electric plug. They do not themselves include any freezing device. A sorbetiere with a 1 liter capacity is a suitable size for most domestic refrigerators.

The big advantage of the sorbetiere is that it has a constantly moving paddle, which stirs the ice while it is freezing. This prevents crystals forming. It also saves the cook time and trouble because there is no need to check the ice mixture at intervals or to beat it regularly.

Sorbetieres must only be filled three-quarters full, as the mixture expands with beating.

Homemade Ice Cream

The equipment used for making water-ices will also be needed for ice-cream. You will need:

  • a heavy-based pan for making syrup
  • a sieve for straining syrup for making the fruit puree
  • a swivel-type potato peeler for peeling citrus zest or a citrus zester
  • a juice extractor for citrus fruit
  • a jug for cooling the syrup
  • a whisk, preferably an electric one, for beating the ice and the cream
  • 2 metal spoons
  • a supply of aluminum foil to cover the ice-cream in the freezer
  • ice-cream trays (with the dividers removed), bread tins or plastic boxes in which to freeze the ice-cream.

In addition to these, you will need extra items for ices containing cream. Two more bowls will be needed for beating the egg yolks and whisking the cream. Depending on your choice of ice-cream method, you may need a second, heavy-based pan for scalding the cream and a double boiler (or bowl plus a bain-marie) for cooking the custard.

Ice-creams are often made in fancy shapes as they mold better than water-ices. Jelly molds of suitable size can be used, while kitchen shops sell special bombe molds which enable you to produce gorgeous-looking desserts rivaling any chef's creation. If you intend to purchase one of these, make a note of the measurements of your frozen food compartment before you do, to be sure that it will fit in comfortably. If you own a freezer cabinet, the ice cream can be frozen in this.

An ice-cream scoop is optional for serving but it does have several advantages over a serving spoon. Some models have a moving back wire, controlled by a switch which releases the ice-cream ball after it has been scooped. Dip this type into water periodically to warm it. Another type of scoop contains liquid with a very low freezing temperature, so that the metal does not become as cold as the ice and the ball of ice is easily released. Ice-cream scoops give the ice a ball shape, which many people find appealing.

Like water-ices, ice-cream can be made perfectly satisfactorily in the frozen food compartment in an ordinary domestic refrigerator. This must be set to its lowest temperature one hour before the mixture is put into the frozen food compartment.

Ice-cream buckets

These old-fashioned, hand-operated ice-cream buckets are effective but rarely seen nowadays. They have a large capacity but are hard work to operate. A handle is cranked to work a moving paddle called a dasher. Only fill the ice-cream compartment three-quarters full. To provide the freezing element, ice and freezing salt are added to the outer layer of the bucket.


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