Pineapple-Berry No-Churn Frozen Dessert


Screaming for homemade ice cream but don’t have an ice cream maker? Waah! No worries. Here’s an updated 1960’s creamy, fruity, nutty frozen treat from the “Grandma files” that will scratch your ice cream itch.

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I originally posted this in 2017 and have since updated it. I thought about this recipe again due to all the many “no-churn” ice cream recipes I’ve seen on the internet lately using whipped cream and sweetened condensed milk. I fell victum to one such recipe, from the New York Times, nonetheless. It was a frozen dessert, but it was certainly not ice cream.

Process-wise, this recipe is somewhat like an Italian semi-freddo (semi-frozen), which is flavored frozen whipped cream and egg whites. But here I use cream cheese, sour cream, and a secret pantry shelf-stable staple (say that three times fast!), evaporated milk instead of whipping cream. What? Yep, you can loosely whip extremely cold evaporated milk. Keep your pantry stocked and you’ll never be out of marshmallow-y tasting whipped cream again.

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This “Ice cream” echoes classic late 1950’s/early 1960’s frozen desserts that combine fresh ingredients with easy-to-find supermarket pantry goods.  Once you have the base, the variations are endless. Here are a few starter ideas if you want to venture off of my recipe, below:

  • Pineapple/Strawberry (or other berries)
  • Fresh or jarred pitted cherries and lemon zest
  • Stone fruit and nuts, like peach and pistachio, or plum and pecan, or…
  • Flaked coconut and lime zest
  • Mini chocolate chips and Nutella

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Besides the flavor variations, this is also flexible in how you serve it. Slice it like a loaf on a plate (how a semi freddo is served), or scoop it in a bowl or cone like ice cream.


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Pineapple-Berry Frozen Dessert

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print


  • 8 ounces regular cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk (small can)
  • 3/4 cup super fine sugar*, divided
  • 1 cup drained pineapple chunks (or see variations in the head note)
  • 1 cup sliced strawberries (or see variations in the head note)
  • 3/4 chopped walnuts (or your favorite nut)
  • Zest of one lemon (optional)


  1. While this recipe is super simple, be sure to plan ahead. Place your mixing bowl, beaters and the unopened can of evaporated milk in the freezer for 40 minutes before making this. Or, place them in your refrigerator overnight
  2. Line a standard loaf pan with plastic wrap, foil or parchment paper, leaving enough overhang to use as handles to remove the ice cream once frozen
  3. Prepare all your ingredients (mise en place), as this comes together very quickly, and you don’t want your whipped evaporated milk to deflate
    1. Hull and chop the strawberries (about 8 to 10 pieces per berry). Larger chunks will be icy in the final dessert. Chop finer if you want a creamier texture.
    2. Drain very well, towel off, and cut each pineapple chunk in half. Larger chunks will be icy in the final dessert. Chop finer if you want a creamier texture.
    3. Roughly chop the walnuts
    4. If using, zest one lemon
  4. With a handheld electric or stand mixer, beat (or better yet, use a whisk attachment if you have one) the evaporated milk and 1/4 cup sugar with your chilled bowl and beaters until it thickens like soft whipped cream. Place this in the freezer as you prepare the rest of the batter
  5. In a separate larger bowl, beat the cream cheese until light and fluffy. It’s ok to use the same beaters that you used for the evaporated milk. No need to clean them after whipping the evaporated milk
  6. Add the sour cream, and the remaining sugar and beat with the cream cheese until combined
  7. Add the pineapple, strawberries, nuts and lemon zest to the cream cheese mixture. Either beat the mixture to combine for a few seconds, or fold the ingredients by hand using a rubber spatula. If using your electric mixture, the strawberries will color the batter slightly pink
  8. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped evaporated milk into the cream cheese mixture
  9. Transfer the batter to the lined loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 hours
  10. If frozen solid, let pan sit out at room temperature for approximately 20 minutes to slightly soften. If slicing, run a knife around the pan edges to loosen the ice cream. Then remove the ice cream from the pan and slice. If scooping, leave the ice cream in the pan and scoop directly from the pan

*Tip: If you have a food processor or blender, but don’t have super fine sugar on hand, or don’t want to buy it, process regular white sugar for about 20 seconds. This makes superfine sugar. Another fun fact: if you process regular sugar even longer, it will turn into powdered (Confectioner’s) sugar. Don’t do that for this recipe, though. But it’s good to know if you need powdered sugar in a pinch for something else.

Author: gregnelsoncooks

Visit weekly for original and adapted recipes as well as cooking tips to make your kitchen life easier — and more delicious! I’ll include simple, straight forward instructions along with recipes that are truly worth your time making. And, recipes that elevate the familiar and introduce you to the new and unexpected.

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