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Though I will certainly eat it all year round, ice cream screams summer to me. We've got options aplenty for finding the sweet stuff nearby, but I set out to make my own this year, using a Montana classic — huckleberries. 

There are a few different methods for making ice cream from scratch. The first is, of course, the churn method. Old-school ice cream makers feature a big metal bucket full of goodies, surrounded by rock salt and ice. Patience, and some serious arm strength, are required here as the churning process can take quite a while, depending on how hard or soft you like your ice cream. 

Fancy ice cream machines take out the hand-crank step, and speed up the process. These are great if you plan on making your own ice cream frequently and would rather not have to wait even longer for the hand-churned stuff. 

If you don't have the old-fashioned churn or one of the the newfangled machines, you can also make homemade ice cream with a plastic bag, and again, some arm strength. 

Place the ice cream ingredients in a quart-size bag and zip tightly. Place the quart-size bag into a gallon-size zip-top bag filled with ice and rock salt. Then, shake away. This is great if you've got kiddos to help out too because you can pass the bag among a few people and everyone gets to share in the fruits of their labor. 

You can also find great gadgets online that make this even easier, such as a soccer ball-like contraption that uses the movement from kicking or throwing the ball to churn the ice cream, which is another great option. 

My chosen method for this Neapolitan was no-churn, where you beat the ingredients in a food processor or with a hand mixer and freeze for at least six hours or overnight to ensure everything gets frozen and cool. 

You can adapt this pretty easily with a base of 2 cups heavy cream and a can of sweetened condensed milk. I like to add cream cheese and sour cream, which gives the ice cream base a hint of a tang. 

This version gets its chocolate and fruit twist from melted chocolate and fruit jam. Instead of layers of differently flavored ice cream, the chocolate and huckleberries play nicely with a rich vanilla base, and the layered look makes it look extra decadent. 

The recipe is easier than you think, so give it a go and you'll be hooked on this ice cream-making technique. 

No-churn huckleberry Neapolitan ice cream

While I used huckleberry jam for a Montana twist, you can use any kind of jam you like, with strawberry being the most common Neapolitan fruit flavor. If you don't have an abundance of jam, you can also whip up a quick preserve with fresh fruit, sugar and cornstarch quickly boiled on the stovetop until it reaches a jelly-like consistency. 

Approx. 1 1/3 cup jam or fruit sauce

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

3 teaspoons coconut oil

2 cups cold heavy cream

2/3 cup sugar

4 ounces cream cheese

1/2 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

To make the chocolate sauce, combine chopped chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe dish and nuke in 30-second bursts, stirring in between, until fully melted and smooth, about 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool slightly. 

To make the ice cream: Blend heavy cream, sugar, cream cheese, sour cream, vanilla and salt in a food processor or in a large bowl with a hand mixer until thick and fluffy, about 2 minutes. 

Heat your jam slightly so it's of a more pourable or spreadable consistency. 

Spoon one-third of the ice cream mixture into a 2-quart (freezer-safe) baking dish. Spoon about one-third of fruit jam over top, along with one-third of the chocolate sauce. The sauces don't have to evenly coat the ice cream mixture. 

Repeat layering process twice more, ending with chocolate sauce on top. Freeze until chocolate sauce sets, about 10 minutes. Then cover with plastic wrap or a lid and freeze until firm, at least 6 hours, but overnight is best. 

Let soften about 30 minutes before scooping, and enjoy!

Adapted from Food Network magazine, June 2018. 

Feeling hungry?

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Emily Petrovski is Special Publications Editor at the Missoulian. She loves food. 

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