Top critical review
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Makes Good Ice Cream, but a Poor Value.
on October 9, 2015
When I was recently in the market for an ice cream maker, I learned that there is no longer much choice in ice cream makers without a compressor. Cuisinart has the entire market in the US, and they make four models. I dismissed the ICE-21 due to its smaller capacity and general flimsiness. I narrowed it down to either the ICE-60W (Gelateria) or the ICE-70, over the simpler ICE-30BC (Pure Indulgence), because I wondered if having three settings would be advantageous. I opted for the ICE-70, because I got a price no more than the ICE-60W, and I thought a countdown timer would be convenient. The machine measures 8.25"W x 9.5"D x 13.75"H with the lid on. The freezer bowl has a 2-quart capacity and measures 7.75" in diameter and 6.5" high.
I've used the ICE-70 to make sorbet, gelato, and several batches of ice cream so far. The freezer bowl must be frozen at least 24 hours before making your frozen dessert. Most of the machine's weight is in the freezer bowl. It is lightweight and mostly hollow without the bowl. The bowl is frozen when the liquid inside its walls is solid and does not slosh. To turn the machine on, you plug it in. The display lights up. Put the frozen bowl into the machine, making sure it sits securely on the wheel below and does not move around. Put the lid on the machine. This is not as easy as it sounds. The lid does not fit well; it just sits on top. Make sure the side of the lid with the longest overhang is positioned in front of the machine, put it on slightly crooked to the right, then turn to the left.
Choose your speed (sorbet, gelato, or ice cream), and set the timer. Choose "ice cream" for frozen yogurt. The default times are 40 minutes for sorbet, 30 minutes for gelato, and 25 minutes for ice cream. This doesn't matter, though, as each timer can be adjusted up to 60 minutes using the arrow keys. Cuisinart offers no advice about times in the user guide. I find that 25 minutes works for 1 quart of gelato or ice cream. For one pint, the time is in the range of 15-20 minutes. I only made a small batch of sorbet, so I'm hesitant to make recommendations, but it seems to freeze faster than the high-fat desserts. It's best to err on the high side with the timer, as you can stop the machine at any point. It's more trouble if it finishes early, and you have to program and start it again.
Hit "start," and pour your ingredients through the hole in the lid. The "mixing arm" of the ICE-70 does not move. The bowl moves, powered by a motor underneath. The mixing arm is stationary, and the contents of the bowl flow over a diagonal plastic piece that constitutes the "arm". If you're only making a pint, the contents of the bowl barely reach the arm. This doesn't seem to matter. If the frozen dessert gets hard enough that it sticks on the arm, the bowl may shake. Use a spoon to dislodge the custard from the arm. This probably means that your dessert is ready to go into the freezer. You can remove the circular cap in the lid to add solid ingredients 5 minutes from the end of the cycle. When the timer runs down, the unit beeps every 5 minutes for 30 minutes, until you turn it off.
This machine makes perfectly good frozen desserts. It is loud -about as loud as a mixer, not as loud as a blender. It is wider, deeper, and taller than the ICE-30BC (Pure Indulgence) model, presumably to accommodate the electronics for the digital timers. The ICE-70 is advertised as having "three settings with multiple speeds." That it does, but it does not have 3 speeds. The sorbet and ice cream setting are both 50 revolutions per minute. The gelato setting is 30 revolutions per minute. That's why I rate the ICE-70 poorly. It has no value greater than the cheaper ICE-30BC. The sorbet and ice cream settings differ only in the default time. The gelato setting is significantly slower, but there is no difference in the volume of frozen dessert that it produces.
Theoretically, the faster ice cream setting would beat more air into the frozen dessert than the gelato setting. But I'm not seeing it. The countdown timer is nice, but, If I had it to do over, I would get the ICE-30BC. It is smaller and cheaper. I can use my own timer. Offering a "gelato" speed that makes no difference is a hollow gimmick. But I think that the inclusion of 3 settings for only 2 speeds is deliberately misleading. And I was frustrated with the user guide. It gives no guidance whatsoever as to times. No starting points. No advice on how to adjust for smaller quantities. It makes no mention of differences between the settings or why you would choose one over another. Well, perhaps because there is no reason to choose one over another. And the lid is poorly designed.