This is the no-churn version of my original Caramel Ice Cream.
The No-Churn Caramel Ice Cream has a rich caramel taste and a stable body, which means that apart from scooping, it is ideal for using as a filling in ice cream tortes.
As in the churnable Caramel Ice Cream recipe, the method used for making caramel is not the usual one: instead of adding the cream into the hot caramel and stressing over it melting, I caramelise the sugar, let it harden and then pulverise it before proceeding with the recipe. This procedure is not only more relaxing, but it also guarantees perfection. It is also convenient if you are busy and want to make the caramel beforehand and complete the remaining steps later.
For more information on how this procedure affects the outcome, read about the technique and its why’s here.
No-Churn Caramel Ice Cream
This recipe works thanks to its fat percentage. Do not attempt to use “light” versions of cream. Accurately weighing your ingredients is the only way to ensure the outcome of the recipe, so do use a digital scale.
You do not have to worry about eating raw eggs in this recipe. By pouring the right amount of the boiling cream into the right amount of chilled eggs, while whisking vigorously, you bring the total mixture to a perfect 79º C (174º F).
hand-held mixer (stand mixer is fine, too)
digital kitchen scale
At a glance:
- Make the caramel and let it cool for one hour.
- Pulverise the caramel and make the custard base. Chill the custard base in the fridge for 12 hours.
- Whip the custard base and put in the freezer for 6-8 hours to set.
Yields 1 L ice cream
- 180 gr regular white sugar ( about 6.4 ounces )
- 100 gr egg yolks, cold from the fridge * ( from about 5-6 large eggs; 3.5 ounces )
- 500 gr heavy cream 35% fat ( 17.6 ounces )
* egg yolks make for a velvety ice cream which stays perfect in the freezer for a long time. You can use whole eggs (100 gr, 3.5 ounces, about 2 eggs) instead, just make sure to consume the ice cream within a day or two after it is made, as its texture will quickly deteriorate.
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. Caramelise it until it turns a deep amber colour.
If new to caramelising, click to see detailed instructions:
Place the pan with the sugar over medium to high heat and keep an eye on it.
When some of the sugar at the centre of the pan begins to caramelise, the upper surface of sugar cracks and the first caramel bubbles appear, reduce the heat to medium and remove the pan 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.
From now on 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 uniform caramel colour.
When all the sugar has melted and the caramel flows back beautifully each time you scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula, remove from the heat.
Immediately pour over the parchment paper, scraping the pan with the silicone spatula.
Leave the caramel to harden and cool, about one hour. Putting it on a wire rack helps it cool faster.
Prepare ahead: you can make the caramel the day before and up to 10 days before. To store, place sandwiched between two sheets of parchment paper in an airtight bag, to protect from humidity. If you have made the caramel ahead of time, you will have to 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 small pieces and pulverise it in a food processor, which should be completely dry and free of humidity.
In a dry bowl, put the 130 gr of caramel powder (4.6 ounces), which you will be using in step 3 and cover immediately with a plate.
Place the rest of the caramel powder (about 50 gr; 1.7 ounces) into a small, airtight and completely dry container and seal well. This will be used later, in Step 5.
Step 3- Prepare the Custard base
Put the cold egg yolks in a large heatproof bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Put them back in the fridge, keeping the whisk in the bowl.
In a medium saucepan, place the heavy cream and salt. Warm over medium heat, stirring often with a silicone spatula.
When it is nice and steamy, switch the spatula with a whisk and start adding the 130 gr caramel powder (4.6 ounces) a tablespoon at a time, by sprinkling it over the surface of the hot milk and whisking immediately before adding the next tablespoon.
The caramel powder will be prone to sticking to the tablespoon as you go; to make things easier, tap the spoon on the saucepan to remove some and when you are done with adding the caramel powder, leave the spoon in the saucepan to let any residues melt in the cream.
When all the sugar has melted, remove the spoon and increase the heat to high.
Remove the egg yolks from the fridge and leave the whisk in the bowl
When the cream comes to a full boil, let it boil for 10 seconds.
Remove 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.
While the mixture is warm, use the spatula to thoroughly scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl, where residues of egg yolk lie.
Step 4 – Cool the Custard Base
The mixture is hot and you have to stir it often with a spatula, to prevent a film from forming on the surface.
When it is no longer hot, place in an ice bath and let cool completely.
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, rather than sitting on ice cubes, is more stable.
When the custard has cooled, pour it through a mesh strainer into a sealable container.
Cover with the lid and leave in the refrigerator overnight to cool, or read the instructions below for shortcutting the process.
In a hurry? Here is how to speed things up:
If you want to bypass the overnight refrigeration process and whip the ice cream immediately, you can put the custard 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 ).
Also, note that the flavour of the ice cream is better if the custard is left to chill in the refrigerator overnight. However, to most peoples’ palate, this flavour improvement goes unnoticed. So go on and choose the cooling method you prefer.
Step 5 – Whip the Custard Base
Remove the custard from the fridge. It has to be thoroughly cold, or else it will not whip.
Pour it into the bowl of a stand or hand-held mixer. Start beating at low speed and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until soft peaks form and it is two twice its volume. It should hold its shape when lifted with a spoon.
With the mixer running, add the rest of the caramel powder, a spoonful at a time, trying to avoid throwing it on the whisk attachment. When you are done, stop the mixer and gently fold the custard with a spatula a few times, to ensure the incorporation of the caramel powder.
Step 4 – Freeze
To use as scoopable ice cream: transfer it to a freezable container. Cover with cling film and let it set. Setting will most likely take 6-8 hours. You will know it is ready when you insert a knife in it and it does not feel softer at the lower level than it is at the top.
To use as a filling in ice cream torte, use directly after whipping. Leave the torte in the freezer to set overnight. Before unmoulding, check for firmness, especially for silicone moulds.
How to store the No-Churn Caramel Ice Cream
To serve, leave for half an hour in the refrigerator to soften.
For long-term storage, cover with cling film touching the surface of the ice cream and then with aluminium foil for extra protection.
It is at its best for one week in the freezer. After this, its texture starts to deteriorate. Discard after one month.