We thought parfaits were pretty much limited to layered fruit and ice cream, layered yogurt and granola or some twist on the original. Then we learned about another type of parfait (the word actually means "perfect," which couldn't be more appropriate). This one is a no-churn ice cream that anyone can make, no machine necessary (the two basic steps are—ready?—stir; and, freeze). French chefs make it by incorporating whipped cream into vanilla custard to lighten it, freezing the mixture in a loaf pan, then slicing it, like a frozen, sweet pâté.

In her new book, No-Churn Ice Cream, pastry chef Leslie Bilderback shifts this brilliant method to make it even simpler. Instead of using vanilla custard, which can take some time to master, Bilderback says to use sweetened, condensed milk. Combine it with regular milk, vanilla, salt and lemon juice; then fold in whipped cream (this is the trick to incorporating air without using a churning machine). Transfer the mixture to a container, freeze for six hours, then scoop and serve.

Bilderback's book has tons of flavor variations (cardamom, anise, tomato!), but we love the vanilla most, for its simplicity and its speed. Bring the dessert right in its container to any party, along with a sleeve full of cones, and it's pretty much...perfect.

Get the recipe: No-Churn Ice Cream


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