Caramel Ice Cream needs no recommendations. It is one of those ice creams that are especially loved and do pair well with all kinds of cakes and tarts. From brownies to fruit tarts, all baking goods benefit by the addition of a rich, delightful Caramel Ice Cream scoop. So it is only obligatory to have a good ice cream recipe in your repertoire, for it is the one which will always rise to the occasion.
In all Caramel Ice Cream recipes I have encountered, the process includes adding the cream to the caramel at the end of the caramelisation process, when the caramel is still liquid and hot. Even if the cream is warm, the caramel will harden when it comes into contact with the cream. This results in a clump of solid caramel, stuck on the saucepan, which takes a vast amount of time to re-melt.
In the Biterkin version of the Caramel Ice Cream recipe, we make the caramel beforehand, let it cool and harden; and then pulverise it in a food processor. When we make the ice cream base, we add the pulverised caramel into the hot dairy. It is an unusual method, but it works like a charm, and there are three reasons for doing it this way.
1.The process of adding the dairy into the hot caramel may be a stressful procedure, especially if you are new to caramel making. Personally, no matter how many times I have done it, I always stress with all this steaming and splattering. So I created this method instead, to reduce the stress and keep things joyful.
2.It takes lots of time for the hardened caramel to melt into the dairy. During this time, water evaporates from the cream and one cannot guarantee how much water this will be, as this depends on many variables. This is important, because over-boiling may ruin the ice cream’s balance between water, sugar and milk proteins. So it is always preferable to keep the cooking of the ice cream base to the minimum.
And there is yet another issue that is resolved thanks to the caramel powder.
If you want caramel-ness in your ice cream, you need plenty of caramel, which is plenty of sugar. But too much sugar in your ice cream means that it will not fluff up during the churning process. ( for more on ice cream balance, read #5 in our troubleshooting guide.) An ice cream with a high sugar content will result in a slurry, no matter how long you churn it. And we want a creamy, fluffy ice cream.
On the other hand, if you do not put enough caramel in the ice cream base, it won’t have a caramel-ly enough taste.
So the the right amount of caramel is a double-edged sword for homemade ice creams.
To increase the caramel-ness of the ice cream, without losing the potential to make a fluffy ice cream, we begin with just the right amount of pulverised caramel powder to create a balanced ice cream base.
During the churning process, and after the ice cream has been perfectly fluffed up and it has reached its maximum volume, we add pulverised caramel via the canister, into the ice cream.
Then we put it in the freezer to set, where the caramel powder is absorbed into the ice cream and results in an intensely caramel flavoured ice cream.
And that’s it, caramel perfection guaranteed. Oh, and did I mention that you can also prepare the caramel ahead of time?
Caramel Ice Cream for Churning
Accurately weighing all your ingredients is the only way to ensure the outcome of the recipe, so do use a digital scale and do not hesitate to adjust the amount of eggs to the exact weight that is asked for in the recipe.
As you have read above, you do not have to worry about eating raw eggs in this recipe. Just do your best and whisk vigorously, so that you avoid scrambling the eggs when you add the boiling hot dairy.
digital kitchen scale
ice cream maker •minimum 1.5 later/quart capacity•
- Freeze your ice cream machine’s container at least 24 hours before the time you plan to churn the ice cream.
- Make the ice cream base 12 hours before the time you plan to churn the ice cream.
- Let the ice cream sit in the freezer for 3-4 hours after churning, before you serve it
This batch is for an ice cream maker of 1.5 litre/quart capacity.
- 240 gr regular white sugar ( about 8.5 ounces )
- 90 gr yolks, cold from the fridge ( about 3 ounces; from about 5 Large eggs )
- 20 gr corn starch ( about 0.7 ounces) ( as a thickening agent, aka corn flour in the US )
- 400 gr fresh whole milk, cold from the fridge ( about 14.1 oz. )
- 90 gr + 410 gr (total 500 gr) heavy cream ( about 3.2 oz + 14.4 oz., total 17.6 )
- pinch of natural sea salt
Step 1 – Prepare the Caramel
Spread a piece of parchment paper next to the stovetop. It should be a little bit larger than the size of the skillet you will melt the sugar in.
In a medium, heavy-bottomed skillet, pour the sugar. Place it over medium to high heat and keep an eye on it.
When it starts to melt in the centre and caramelises, reduce the heat to medium and remove from the heat for a few moments. Gently shake the skillet to help the sugar evenly redistribute in the pan and return to the heat.
You may need to redistribute the sugar a few more times; you can use a spatula to do so, by gently pushing the unmelted sugar over the hottest and most active spots.
When you see spots turning too brown, gently draw unmelted sugar over them to avoid the sugar burning on those spots.
By gently relocating sugar this way, you will quickly have a fluid beige liquid with a uniformly caramel-coloured liquid.
When all the sugar has melted and the caramel is perfectly fluid, which you will know, as it will flow back beautifully each time you scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula, remove from the heat and immediately pour over the parchment paper.
Important note: working with a silicone spatula ensures that you will have the right amount needed for your recipe, as silicone spatulas scrape out any remains of sugar which will otherwise stick to the pan.
Leave the caramel to harden and cool, about one hour. Putting it on a wire rack always helps to cool it faster.
you can make the caramel the day before and up to 10 days before. Store in a solid piece, sandwiched between two sheets of parchment paper, in an airtight bag, to protect from humidity.
If you make the caramel ahead of time, wait until you are ready to use it, before proceeding to step 2.
Step 2 – Prepare the Caramel Powder
When the caramel is completely cool to the touch, break it into pieces and pulverise it in a food processor, which should be completely dry and free of humidity.
Put 200 gr (7 oz.) of caramel powder in a bowl and cover immediately with a plate.
Put the rest of the caramel powder into a small, airtight and completely dry container and immediately seal well. This will be used later, in Step 5.
Step 3 – Prepare the Ice Cream Base
Put the cold egg yolks, the corn starch and 90 gr heavy cream (3.2 oz.) in a large bowl, and whisk them lightly. Put them back in the fridge along with the whisk.
In a medium saucepan, put the milk, the 410 gr of the cream (14.4 oz.) and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula.
When it becomes nice and lightly steamy, start adding the 200 gr caramel powder (7 oz.) a tablespoon at a time, by sprinkling it over the surface of the hot milk and stirring with a silicone spatula between each addition.
The caramel powder will be prone to sticking to the tablespoon as you go; you may want to tap the spoon on the saucepan to remove some. When you are done with adding the caramel powder, leave the spoon in the saucepan to let any residues melt inside.
Increase the heat to high and remove the spatula and spoon, keeping the spatula nearby. Now is the time to remove the egg yolks from the fridge, placing them next to the stovetop.
When the milk in the saucepan comes to a full boil, count 10 seconds. Remove it from the heat, and immediately start pouring it in a steady stream into the egg yolks with one hand, while whisking them vigorously with the other.
Continue whisking vigorously for one minute, as the mixture will thicken. While it is still hot, wipe the sides and the bottom of the bowl with the spatula to remove any invisible residues of eggs.
Step 4 – Cool the ice cream base
Stir continuously for the first 6-7 minutes to help it cool down faster and prevent a crust from forming on the surface.
When no longer hot to the touch, place the bowl in an ice bath and let cool completely. Stirring always helps it cool down faster.
How to prepare an ice bath
You will need a large bowl, larger than the bowl with the prepared ice cream base. Put in some ice cubes and cold water. Carefully nest the bowl with the ice cream base in it. Pour more cold water from the sides, till it reaches the ice cream base in the inner bowl in height. Take extra care not to spill any water into the ice cream base.
Alternatively, first nest the bowl with the ice cream base into the empty larger bowl. Fill the sides with ice cubes and cold water, taking care not to let any water spill into the bowl with the ice cream base. This is my preferred method, as sitting directly on the bottom of the bowl is more stable, rather than sitting on ice cubes, .
When the ice cream base has cooled, put a mesh strainer over a container and pour the ice cream base through the mesh strainer into the container.
In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:
If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and churn the ice cream immediately, you can put the ice cream in a sealable bag, place it in a large container, fully cover it with ice and let it chill for a few hours ( it may take up to 3 hours to properly cool ).
The downside of this method is that you will need lots of ice. And you will definitely need a thermometer to check if the temperature has reached the desired 4º C ( about 39º F ).
Step 5 – Churn the ice cream
Prepare the ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. With the machine running, pour the chilled ice cream base through the canister and into the ice cream machine. Leave to churn until nice and fluffy.
When it has reached its maximum volume, add the rest of the caramel powder through the canister, a spoonful at a time. When you are done, give the ice cream maker a full minute to incorporate everything and stop the machine.
Remove the machine from the container and place the container, along with the ice cream and the machine’s lid or a plate to cover, into the freezer. Leave for 3-4 hours for the ice cream to set properly, before serving or removing to another container.
Storing the Ice Cream
This Caramel Ice Cream, like all artisanal ice creams, freezes hard in the long term.
To soften it before serving, remove from the freezer and put it in the refrigerator for half an hour.
It is at its best for one week in the freezer. After this, its texture starts to deteriorate. Discard after one month.