Yam (no churn) ice cream–yes, yam!


“What’s this?”
“Yam ice cream”
“You mean, like, yam?”
“As in, real yam?”

“What’s in it?”
“Well, there’s yam…”

This was the conversation at dinner last night with Mr Gander’s cousin. Thankfully the conversation for the rest of the evening was more erudite.

It was an evening of mildly experimental dishes – being cousin-in-law and a good friend, I could expose him to my wilder flights of fancy without (too much) repercussion. Other close friends have come to expect a menu of surprises whenever they come around. As in, ‘miso surprise!’, ‘stuff with plums’, or, ‘so I wondered what would happen if I did this…’


The evening started with a gorgeous savoury plum tart, with mascarpone, mille-feuille puff pastry, and a plum-Chinkiang*-coconut-sugar drizzle (because we ran out of balsamic vinegar, but actually was so good I want to make it again). Then, gnudi – made with a mixture of ricotta and goats milk fetta – in a parmesan-enriched broth and a swirl of fresh pesto.

* Chinkiang vinegar: a black vinegar made from glutinous rice. Good quality mature Chingkiang has a complex flavour somewhat like balsamic vinegar.

And then, yam ice cream.

Some time in late January, I got the ice cream making bug. I saw ice creams with goat cheese and honey and pear swirls, popcorn and salted caramel, lamington (on Australia Day). I looked for pure, creamy, black-flecked vanilla, and gelato that was like pure dark chocolate except colder and more ephemeral. Australia was going through a heat wave, people were flocking to the beach, and my mind was buzzing with ice creamy possibilities.

There was a slight snag: we don’t have an ice cream maker. This was a kitchen gadget I never could justify buying. So I began to look for no-churn ice cream recipes.

Many of the no-churn recipes use condensed milk: I think the idea is with enough sugar and fat, the mixture would freeze without forming large ice crystals. But condensed milk has quite a strong flavour, so I needed equally strong or distinctive flavours to counter it. (I also found other varieties of no churn ice cream using different ingredients, some of them are at the end of the post after the recipe)


My first attempt used a mix of condensed milk, creme fraiche and sour cream, with generous scoops of passionfruit pulp. It was creamy, a little tangy (not unlike froyo), with the tropical brightness of passionfruit.

Then, I thought of the cornucopia of Asian ice cream flavours: pandan, durian, green tea, yam. Yam. And a traditional Chinese dessert made with mashed yam (my very favourite as a child).

And the rest is history.

When eaten at ideal temperature, this yam ‘ice cream’ has an intriguing elastic texture, not unlike the middle eastern ice creams made with mastic, a gum resin. I guess it comes from the starch in the yam? Because I bought a pale flesh yam, the ice cream was cream coloured, with mild streaks of purple. The yam flavour was balanced out by the creamy-sweet from the other ingredients, so it was distinctive without being overpowering.

The guys devoured it, once they got over saying ‘…yam?’

This ice cream is still an experiment, made with a roughly 1:1:1.5 proportion of condensed milk, creme fraiche and mashed yam. The starch content in the yam made the ice cream quite hard when fully frozen. Next time, I will try using cream and icing sugar instead of condensed milk.

And, I can’t wait to experiment with other Asian flavours in no churn ice creams. I’m thinking black sesame, red bean paste, even kaya (I’m starry eyed at the thought of kaya ice cream). The last month of summer is looking up.

I’m also sending this dinner party conversation killer to Angie’s Fiesta Friday #2! Go visit Angie’s blog The Novice Gardener, it’s so much fun, you’ll be hooked. 


No churn yam ice cream, a bare bones recipe with many footnotes


100 grams condensed milk
100 grams creme fraiche
150 yam


1. Cut yam into 1cm cubes (bit less than 0.5 inch). Steam over medium heat for 15 minutes until the yam pieces are soft and mashable. Mash until you get a slightly chunky texture, leave aside and cool to room temperature.

2. Stir together condensed milk and creme fraiche, add the mashed yam. Pour or scoop into a food processor and mix for 20-30 seconds, until the mixture seems a little aerated and the yam has been mixed into the condensed milk mixture. (I slightly undercooked the yam, as a result the mixture still had tiny chunks of purple-coloured yam in it.)

3. Pour into a shallow and large container, and place into the freezer until frozen. I think, since the mixture becomes really hard, you can serve the ice cream before it becomes too hard.

Footnotes: other no churn ice creams

It turns out other people have made yam ice creams before me, d’oh:
Sweet potato or yam brown sugar ice cream
Ube (purple yam) ice cream

No churn ice cream with condensed milk:
Vanilla no churn ice cream with condensed milk
Coffee ice cream

One ingredient (and the ingredient isn’t condensed milk)
Frozen banana ice cream

Nigella Lawson’s no churn ice cream, without condensed milk
Bitter orange ice cream
Margarita ice cream
Pomegranate ice cream

Tagged: , , , , , , , , , ,

51 thoughts on “Yam (no churn) ice cream–yes, yam!

  1. Ahila 8 February 2014 at 11:36 pm Reply

    Interesting choice for an ice-cream – yam 🙂 We have a dessert dish here that we make from purple yam but it is not a frozen dessert.

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 12:58 am Reply

      Your dessert dish sounds interesting, I’m definitely interested in finding out more about yam dishes!

  2. Experienced Tutors 9 February 2014 at 12:34 am Reply

    This is so scrummy it just had to tweeted. 🙂

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:00 am Reply

      Thanks for that!! One day when the world goes crazy for yam ice cream, I’ll sit back and say, it stated with a tweet… 😉

  3. Fiesta Friday #2 | The Novice Gardener 9 February 2014 at 1:30 am Reply

    […] Yam (no churn) ice cream […]

  4. The Novice Gardener 9 February 2014 at 1:37 am Reply

    I have to say this is so unique it needs further investigation. When you say yam, do you mean sweet potatoes? This may be the way to get my kids to like sweet potatoes. Awesome recipe, Saucy gander, thanks for bringing this to Fiesta Friday! XOXO

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 12:57 am Reply

      Angie, so sorry for late reply, work got in the way of blogging this week! I did a bit of research on Google images, and what the good people of Chins and Singapore call yam is more commonly under the name taro. While true yam is also, I think, different from the sweet potato.
      Liz at Food for Fun has just posted some impressive sweet potato recipes including dinner rolls and spoon bread. I also came across this sweet potato ice cream recipe, which is made with purple sweet potato. http://www.seasaltwithfood.com/2009/06/sweet-potato-ice-cream.html
      Not sure if it’s less fibrous than the orange type, but if you have a good blender the fibres may be less of a problem??

      • The Novice Gardener 14 February 2014 at 6:00 am

        Oh, great, I love taro. I actually grow them in my backyard in the summer. Along with purple sweet potatoes. The true yam, I’ve only tasted once. All make for interesting addition to ice cream, I think.

  5. Hilda 9 February 2014 at 3:23 am Reply

    I love yam desserts. Thanks for a great, easy to follow recipe.

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:02 am Reply

      Thanks Hilda. I will also try the other recipes that I linked to, especially one with cream, and see which texture is better. The one I made takes a while to come to the right temperature, and I don’t like to wait for ice cream! 😀

  6. lapetitecasserole 9 February 2014 at 11:35 am Reply

    It’ s great! …. may I also say that I loved the entire menu of your dinner????

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:04 am Reply

      Thank you! The dinner was very enjoyable, especially with good company! I would like to do a post on the plum tart, as it’s really something special. 🙂

  7. Johnny Hepburn 9 February 2014 at 1:24 pm Reply

    Sweet potatoes? Yam ain’t no sweet potato. Even I know that. If squash are perfect for puddings/desserts why wouldn’t yam be great for ice cream. The only thing that might bother me is the texture. I tried making bread with white fleshed sweet potato – not yam – before Xmas and ended up having to blend the mixture until I got rid of most of the fibres. That worked. Shame the bread didn’t! Anyway, the one thing I’m so not getting is mung dal dessert, anyone?! Have you tried this? Halwa?

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:09 am Reply

      Never heard of mung dal dessert, do you mean the halwa? I’ve seen carrot halwa/dessert recently, so, hey, anything is possible right? Right??

      Also, as I’ve discounted on Google images, what we Chinese and Singaporeans call yam, others call taro. I think. And yes, I was thinking orange sweet potato would be quite stringy, unlike taro or even the mildly purple sweet potato that I find at the Asian markets. Tubers are confusing things!

  8. lapetitepaniere 9 February 2014 at 3:27 pm Reply

    Easy, simple, sweet recipe 🙂

  9. chef mimi 10 February 2014 at 1:05 am Reply

    Sure! It’s sort of like using pumpkin. But they’re not orange like sweet potatoes? We can’t get them here so I’ve unfortunately never been able to play with them!

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:17 am Reply

      More that you mention it, this method or somethingsomething similar would probably work well with pumpkin, especially the canned stuff? What I used here is yam/taro, which is different fromfrom orange sweet potato, they don’t have the long fibres of sweet potato, and I think have a starchier or drier texture.

  10. indusinternationalkitchen 10 February 2014 at 8:46 am Reply

    Looks so ‘yammy’ and yummy! 🙂 I love yams and sweet potato so definitely going to try this one!

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:19 am Reply

      Haha, I like “yammy”! 😀
      This one has the best texture when half frozen. In also going to try other record and see if they freeze less hard. Thanks for visiting!

  11. Patty Nguyen 10 February 2014 at 10:51 am Reply

    I adore yam desserts. Your yam ice cream looks decadent!

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:20 am Reply

      Thank you! I’m now remembering all these yam and taro desserts I used to have, and want to learn to make them! 😀

  12. Coffee and Crumpets 10 February 2014 at 3:04 pm Reply

    Sounds good to me! But I know what you mean about condensed milk. If you add it to something, that’s all you can taste. I think I’ve seen yams here, it’s confusing because they’re always labelled incorrectly, sweet potatoes and yams.

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:23 am Reply

      Yes, sweet potatoes, yams, and taros. And they have different names in different countries. If I do another yam / sweet potato / taro post, I’m definitely getting a photo of the ingredient so people can figure out what I used! 😀

  13. Liz 10 February 2014 at 4:51 pm Reply

    what fun 🙂 How I wish I could be a guest at your table! We seem to share a love of making ice cream: http://wp.me/p2dvv9-qJ

    Your ice creams are more elegant by far. Wondering if we made the same popcorn salted caramel flavor?

    I will say I wasn’t overly impressed with my version of the banana no-churn, though I was comparing it to something that contained cream, so it didn’t stand a chance. http://wp.me/p2dvv9-12g Your yam flavor looks yum yum yum yum. Very cool, the texture description. You have me intrigued once again.

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:34 am Reply

      Liz, I’m intrigued by the soccer ball ice cream maker, and see potential as a party trick, maybe before the post dinner cocktails impair our soccer skills!
      I’m a newcomer to ice cream or faux cream making, and love it! As for banana… my favorite banana cake recipe uses oodles of door cream and double cream, plus bourbon, so I’m thinking a not so healthy version (sorry nutrition police). So much new territory to explore!

      • Liz 14 February 2014 at 1:42 am

        lol, it’s true that even at kids’ parties, the soccer ball ice cream has to be finished by the adults (who hopefully have NOT been drinking as it is a kid party after all, haha).

        Feeling like I’m throwing too much food for fun your way, but I get so excited to share when I see commonalities. Here is another ice-cream method my daughter taught me last summer: http://wp.me/p2dvv9-16S

        And, you say you have a banana cake with oodles of door (?) cream AND double cream PLUS bourbon? I am on my knees begging you for that recipe. Pretty please? 😉

      • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 2:34 am

        Ah of course! I remember the camp post, and the bread sticks. Now this is definitely a party game, pass the parcel anyone?

        Darn tablets and predictive text, I meant sour cream! Yes, will send the recipe your way. The banana cake also make the best cake truffles if you mix cake crumbs with ricotta, then coat in dark chocolate. Which is definitely in the gilding the lily territory.

  14. lemongrovecakediaries 10 February 2014 at 7:46 pm Reply

    I can just picture that conversation around your dinner table – I love it 🙂

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:34 am Reply

      Haha, yes, couldn’t resist recording it for posterity, so to speak! 😀

  15. Gather and Graze 10 February 2014 at 10:19 pm Reply

    I never would have thought of it… but would love to have been there to try it! 🙂

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:35 am Reply

      I was a little sceptical at first too! But thankfully (especially for the cousin) it all worked out! 😀

  16. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 11 February 2014 at 9:58 am Reply

    I grew up on yam desserts so I love them and I know that I’d adore this ice cream completely! Bonus that it is no churn! 😀

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:37 am Reply

      aren’t yam desserts the best? I just love the flavor and texture!

  17. Flora 12 February 2014 at 2:06 am Reply

    Interesting 🙂

  18. laurasmess 12 February 2014 at 1:39 pm Reply

    Wow… just wow. I never would’ve even dreamed of putting yams in ice cream but it looks delicious! I love the fact that you only require three ingredients too. So easy! Oh, and your menu from the dinner party… drool worthy! That savoury plum tart sounds divine, as does the coconut sugar drizzle and those ricotta and feta gnudi with pesto. Man, can I come next time? xx

    • saucygander 14 February 2014 at 1:59 am Reply

      Of course you can come next time!! It would be awesome! The plum tart was something special, and I would like to post about it, unless we eat the next batch before I get photos!

  19. […] Gander shares one unique yam ice cream recipe. Can you say yum? Can you say yam? Can you say yum yam? I can! This one needs further […]

  20. birgerbird 15 February 2014 at 1:38 am Reply

    Wonderfully creative. I cannot WAIT to make this, we love all things related to sweet potatoes and yam in my household. We recently had a yam with black sesame crunch swirl at Sweet Rose Creamery in Santa Monica and it was so delicious. . . I am thinking this is going to be quite similar!

    • saucygander 15 February 2014 at 1:58 am Reply

      Oh wow, yam with black sesame? The idea of those flavors are having a kind of party in my mind, as I try to imagine it! Maybe I can toss some black sesame caramel chunks into the next batch! (Am still tweaking with the texture, since the ice cream needs to stand at room temperature for a bit for that chewy elastic texture to become evident)
      Thanks for visiting!!

      • birgerbird 15 February 2014 at 2:06 am

        Let me know how it goes please!!!

      • saucygander 15 February 2014 at 4:38 am

        Will do!

  21. tworedbowls 15 February 2014 at 2:07 am Reply

    Oh my god, I love this!!! One of my absolute favorite ice creams ever is an ube ice cream made by a Hawaiian ice cream company … so ridiculously purple. I think this sounds just as delicious — and love that I know exactly what’s in it (AND it’s no churn!)

  22. ediblethings 20 February 2014 at 10:24 am Reply

    I had an ube ice cream in the Philippines last year. It was delicious, and an almost unnatural shade of purple. We also had ube ice, and it was in a danish pastry they serve for breakfast over there. I also love that with ube and taro you can eat the whole plant as either savoury or dessert.
    I don’t have an ice cream maker, either. I make ice creams, sorbet and gelatto myself often, you just have to whisk them every hour for about three or four hours. With an electric hand whisk the actual whisking doesn’t take much time or effort, but it does require you having at least half the day at home, so it’s a weekend make for me.
    I recommend giving it a go, then the frozen dessert possibilities will be endless for you

    • saucygander 27 February 2014 at 10:11 pm Reply

      Thank you so much for these instructions! I have saved them, and will give it a go. It would be great to have home made ice cream and not have to rely on condensed milk. Thanks again!!

      • ediblethings 28 February 2014 at 12:27 am

        You’re welcome, although now I have read that back, I’m not sure if that was clear. I meant to say freeze for an hour, then whisk, then freeze again, then whisk, until you have a smooth, thick product. I’ve a photo step by step guide on my blog, if you are interested. Sorry I wasn’t clearer the first time.
        Oh, I should probably mention that sorbets will need much less whisking, until the desired consistency is reached, which is always a win in my book!

  23. polianthus 23 February 2014 at 8:10 am Reply

    Great writing, great intro, sounds like something my family would do – yam? yes yam? Really yam? Hm mh, Yam? but they would then move into “hm, interesting”……which would translate as “hm very different, pistachio would have been great instead 🙂 – I have been looking at ice cream makers for years, I have coveted them and read about them, and checked reviews on them but like you I have never been able to justify getting one, mainly as they are bulky and I’d use it 2x a year max…

  24. polianthus 23 February 2014 at 8:11 am Reply

    ps googled yam – never had it before, and found this VERY purple cake photo I thought Id share http://pinoyinoz.blogspot.ch/2010/08/ube-macapuno-cake-recipe.html

    • saucygander 27 February 2014 at 11:15 pm Reply

      I’ve been meaning to reply, WOW that is a seriously purple cake! Now I’m curious to taste it!
      Thank you for sharing the link! Also, thanks so much for the kugelhopf recipe links, I think I got a decent translation using Google, so we’ll see how they go! 🙂

      • polianthus 28 February 2014 at 2:21 am

        purple – amazing isnt it!
        Re the gugelhopf links I got very carried away..

Penny for your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: