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ice cream snow

Parfait ice cream without a freezer (or electricity)

Making ice cream without a freezer is easier than you'd think as proven by this 1940's recipe. Why you'd want to do it, I don't know, but here you go. Source: Tørsleffs Husmoder Service.
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4
Author Johan Johansen


For parfait ice cream

  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • Seeds of one vanilla pod
  • 300 ml of heavy cream

Special equipment

  • Parchment paper
  • Lidded metal bowl or milk jug large enough to just fit above ingredients
  • Large bucket
  • One pound of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of saltpeter
  • A large supply of winter snow


Making the parfait ice cream

  1. Whisk egg yolks with sugar and vanilla till sugar no longer crunches in the bowl
  2. Whip the cream
  3. Gently fold whipped cream into egg mixture
  4. Pour into metal bowl or milk jug, place a piece of parchment paper over opening and apply lid

Freezing process

  1. Mix salt and saltpeter
  2. Fill bottom of large bucket with snow
  3. Place metal bowl or milk jug with parfait mixture on top of snow
  4. Drizzle a bit of salt and saltpeter mixture over the snow
  5. Firmly pack more snow around the jug, drizzling again with salt/saltpeter mixture
  6. Top with a thick layer of packed snow and more salt/saltpeter
  7. As the snow starts to melt, it will draw heat from the parfait mixture
  8. Be prepared to drain water from bucket and replace with more snow+ salt/saltpeter
  9. Once mixture is completely frozen, it can either be served or will keep very well if kept outside. Provided outside temperature is below 0C, of course.

Recipe Notes

1942 experts add that the quicker the snow melts, the quicker the parfait freezes. Hence, it’s recommended to undertake the freezing procedure indoors rather than outside. Once frozen, the parfait should be kept outside in the snow.