This is one of the smaller ice cream makers on the market, and we have had this model for a couple of months. It is a competent ice cream maker, but the results depend on the recipes you use.
The machine comes in 6 parts:
- base bowl aka "cooling bowl" - diameter 21cm by 13 cm deep
- upper ring
- lower locking ring
You also get an instruction booklet with several suggested recipes and a spatula.
If you want to make ice cream you will need to freeze the base bowl for 24 hours beforehand. This means that spontaneity is out of the question. If you fancy making ice cream you must either place it in the freezer the day before, or you must have it in semi-permanent deep freeze, both of these options come with their own problems.
Should you decide to freeze the bowl the day before you must make room in your freezer for the base bowl, and it does take up a lot of space; if you decide that to have it in the freezer on a semi-permanent basis, just in case, you can find that there has been a build up of ice crystals round the rim and these cause problems with the fitting of the locking rings and the motorised lid.
Either way you need to be prepared to lose a big amount of storage area from your freezer.
The base bowl is quite heavy even before it is frozen, so make sure you have a good grip on it before you try to lift it out of the freezer.
The machine itself is quite easy to fit together - you lift your pre-frozen base bowl out of the freezer (I recommend wiping it with a clean dry cloth to remove excess ice crystals), place it in the lower (locking) ring. Holding the lower ring by the handles lift it to the top of the dish and turn to lock it into place. Attach the upper ring to the lower ring and click it into place.
Now for the motor and lid: place the motor unit on the lid, making sure it is in the correct place. Attach the paddle and ensure it is locked into place. Put the lid (and motor unit) on the bowl and turn it to lock it into place.
Once you have put the machine together, switch it on and make sure the paddle is turning before carefully pouring the mixture (you made before hand) through the small hole in the top - use a jug with a good spout or a funnel to reduce the probability of spilling the mixture over the mechanised lid.
The mixing machine is a little on the loud side when compared to other kitchen appliances, but it is not as loud as some other machines we had looked at.
It is during this period that you can add those little extras - chocolate chips, jelly tots, rocky road *drool*.
Once it is to the constituency you require (I've found it takes about 20-30 minutes on average) switch off the machine, open it up and scrape out the ice cream into a freezer dish and place it into the freezer for storage and to stiffen up, or eat it straight away for the soft scoop consistency.
If you want a "soft scoop" feel to your stored ice cream then lift it out for 10 minutes before your serve - start by taking the ice cream from an edge of the storage dish as this will soften quicker than the central area of ice cream.
Cleaning is easy. You do not have to wait until the base bowl has defrosted, just wash the bowl in warm water and dry thoroughly. Please note: you are not supposed to immerse the base bowl in hot water because it may damage it.
Unlike our previous model the base does not have to be thawed out completely before refreezing, though it takes another 4 to 6 hours to freeze the base again before it can be reused.
The main problem is the size of the base bowl, and its pre-freezing requirement. We have a standard Hotpoint upright fridge-freezer and it will only fit in the bottom drawer of the freezer - it still manages to touch the drawer above. When the base bowl takes up such a lot of room in the freezer that I find we rarely use them, however, when we manage to get the required space, the ice cream is smooth and sorbets are crisp and without lumps.
Overall, it is great ice cream maker, if you can spare the space for the base bowl in your freezer.