The Cuisinart Ice Cream Deluxe (ICE30BCU) is an ice cream maker that relies on you to put the bowl in the freezer the night before. The gadget itself just churns the ice cream mix in the pre-frozen bowl.
It has a large capacity and impressive design that makes it easy to keep an eye on the ice cream and add ingredients. But it's expensive for what it is, especially as the Swan Come Dine With Me Ice Cream & Gelato Maker is very similar and costs considerably less.
The Cuisinart has a removable bowl that you must pre-freeze the night before making ice cream. Unlike some rival ice cream makers, it's the bowl rather than the entire body of the machine that goes in the freezer.
The bowl just fitted upright in our under-counter freezer, which is good because if you freeze the bowl on its side it cools the ice cream mix unevenly.
The capacity is large: you can add up to 1.5 litres of mix to make 2 litres of ice cream. And the design is unusual: the paddle stays fixed and the bowl rotates. This means that lid is open, so you can easily see what's going on and add ingredients.
The detailed instruction manual includes nine ice cream, gelato, sorbet and frozen yoghurt recipes, but it also explains a lot about ice cream making that others don't. For example, if you don't know whether the bowl is frozen enough, shake it – if you can hear liquid swishing about then it needs more time in the freezer.
We poured 1.2 litres of refrigerated chocolate ice cream mix into the Cuisinart and set it going. The design immediately impressed. It is bulky but the large, star-shaped hole in the top lets you add ingredients at any time.
The noise was not so impressive, though. It was loud throughout, a grinding noise that was annoying. It's a conversation- or music-killer. This is a machine you'd use before having guests to dinner, not during.
After 30 minutes the noise changed and got slightly louder, indicating that the ice cream was probably ready. We returned to check on it and were pleased to discover that the open-top design, with no spinning paddle, means you can dip a spoon in to sample the ice cream at any time. A superb touch.
The texture was good: denser than the ice cream from high-end machines but lighter and tastier than most pre-freeze machines. The quantity was impressive too and it had taken on a fair amount of air. The bowl was still very cold, we could have probably got away with mixing for longer.
Cleaning up was fine, but the stainless steel finish did gather fingerprints.
Maybe. It was the most impressive pre-freeze machine we tested and we loved the design, but the Swan Come Dine With Me Ice Cream & Gelato Maker is almost identical and costs little over half the price. On that basis, it's hard to justify the Cuisinart's price tag unless you hate white appliances and love stainless steel.
For healthy frozen desserts look at the Judge Fro Fru. Alternatively, if money's no object, then consider a high-end machine like the Cuisinart Gelato & Ice Cream Professional or the hi-tech Sage Smart Scoop.
A well-designed ice cream maker. It's a bit pricey, but it turns out good ice cream.