THE TAKE-IT-EASY ICE CREAM

No-Stress Caramel Ice Cream
• Philadelphia - style •

No-Stress
Caramel Ice Cream
• Philadelphia - style •

With milk, cream, and sugar.

We find that making caramel ice cream the old-fashioned way is too stressful: first, you turn the sugar into caramel, then you add the cream into the hot caramel. But the melted caramel steams, splashes and hardens upon contact with the cream; and if you do not burn yourself, then you agonise over the stovetop, stirring and wondering if the hardened caramel will ever melt. And if you are not an expert at making caramel (who is?), you cannot be sure if you burned the caramel, which will make the ice cream taste bitter; you will only find out once the ice cream is ready, having wasted your time and your precious ingredients.

To fix all this, we made this No-Stress Caramel Ice Cream recipe, which is as simple as that: you caramelise the sugar, then pour it into a layer and let it cool and harden. You break a piece and taste it; if you like it (and assuming that you do not eat it all), you pulverise the caramel in a food processor. Then you can proceed with the recipe at your own pace; the pulverised caramel will keep in an airtight container for one month. And the ice cream’s caramel flavour? Oh, you will love it, it is out of this world.

About Philadelphia-style ice creams: these are our go-to ice creams when we are short of time yet want to make something that everyone will love. Easy and superb, they are a delightful reminder of how great it is to make our own ice cream at home.

3 more ways to make this no-stress caramel ice cream:

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make and resistant to melting. Perfect for popsicle moulds, too. With milk, cream, sugar, corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but absolutely worth it. With milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to store-bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient. With milk, cream, sugar, xanthan gum.

THE ITALIAN WAY. This is your hot weather ice cream: easy to make and resistant to melting. Perfect for popsicle moulds, too. With milk, cream, sugar, corn starch.

THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM. Rich and velvety, this is a custard-based ice cream; a tad bit tricky to make, but so much worth it. With milk, cream, sugar, egg yolks.

LIKE A PRO. The closest you can get to store bought ice cream with just one extra ingredient. With milk, cream, sugar, xanthan gum.

or see:

The ingredients

Do not reduce or replace anything; everything is there for a reason.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar): it is the only sugar that turns into caramel.

Raw cane sugars like Demerara or Turbinado do not caramelise as they contain impurities that get in the way of the caramelisation process, so do not use them in this recipe.

Also, do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Heavy cream (for double cream read below): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% to 40% fat content. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content. Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in double cream – how to use”.

• Milk: use whole milk; this has approx. 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar): it is the only sugar that turns into caramel.

Raw cane sugars like Demerara or Turbinado do not caramelise; as they contain impurities that get in the way of the caramelisation process, so do not use them in this recipe.
Also, do not use any other sugar or sweetener, natural or artificial, liquid or powder, like honey, stevia, golden syrup, table sweeteners, confectioner’s sugar, etc.

• Milk: use whole milk, with around 3,5% fat. Do not substitute with skimmed milk (lower fat) or non-dairy milk. You need both the fat and the milk proteins for this ice cream recipe.

• Heavy cream (for double cream see scroll to the right): for this recipe you can use heavy cream with 35% – 40% fat. It is ok to use cream suitable for whipping or ultra-pasteurised cream with 35-40% fat content.

Do not use low-fat cream or non-dairy cream.

🇬🇧 For UK readers: if you want to use double cream -which has a higher fat content (50%) than heavy cream (35-40% fat)- stir some milk into the double cream to bring it to the right fat content. Instructions in Double cream: how to use” notes in the recipe.

Overview

This is a quick overview of the recipe. If you are new to ice cream making, do read the recipe before proceeding. 

Cook the sugar until it is a deep brown caramel color.

Pour the caramel on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.

Once cooled and hardened, break the caramel into pieces and pulverise it in a food processor/blender. 

Make the caramel milk: warm the milk until hot and steamy and blend, gradually adding the caramel sugar.

(a no-blender method is also included in the recipe).

Strain through a sieve and into a bowl; add the heavy cream.

Put the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator overnight; or until completely cold.

(a faster chilling method is also included in the recipe).

Churn in your ice cream maker until fluffed up and creamy.

Put it in the freezer for a few hours to set. 

As soon as it sets, you can either serve it from the ice cream maker bowl or transfer to a container and store it in the freezer.

The recipe
No-Stress Caramel Ice Cream | Philadelphia - style

No-Stress Caramel
Ice Cream
• Philadelphia - style •

Ingredients:
Notes:
If you find the heavy cream in this Philadelphia-style ice cream recipe is too much, do not try to reduce it. Instead, make this no-stress caramel ice cream thickened with corn starch, which has the least amount of heavy cream an ice cream can have. 
 
Philadelphia-style, on the other hand, is the easiest ice cream we can make because we do not thicken the ice cream mixture with corn starch/egg yolks /xanthan gum, like in other ways of making ice cream. But we do need to use more heavy cream, mainly to compensate for the lack of body (the ice cream mixture is too thin without it and ) in the ice cream mixture.

When making ice cream we recommend weighing all the ingredients, even the liquid ones. Whenever possible, prefer to weigh any liquid ingredients directly into the bowl/pan as you proceed with the recipe instead of transferring them from one bowl to another because this transfer causes a small -but unwanted- loss of quantity.

If you do not have a kitchen scale, follow these guidelines:

• 1 cup (US) = 237 ml | 1 tablespoon = 15 ml

This recipe makes approx. 1.2 litre/quart ice cream mixture (before churning), perfect for ice cream makers with a capacity of 1.5 and up to 2 litres/quarts (like Cuisinart ice cream makers).

If you need to scale the ice cream mixture up or down, use this ratio of the ingredients (in weight only):

milk 41.7% / heavy cream 41.7% / caramel sugar* 16.6%

in desired total weight of the ice cream mixture.

*This is the caramel sugar you need to make the ice cream mixture. To estimate the white granulated sugar for caramelising, multiply the desired caramel sugar by 1.5.

For example, if you need to make 1000 g of ice cream mixture, you need:

  • 1000 g x 41.7% = 417 g milk
  • 1000 g x 41.7% = 417 g heavy cream
  • 1000 g x 16.6% = 166 g caramel sugar, and to estimate the white granulated sugar you need for caramelisation:
  • 166 g caramel sugar x 1.5 = 249 g; this is the white granulated sugar you need to make the caramel sugar.

You can combine double cream with whole milk to make heavy cream for this recipe.

To make the 500 g (17.6 oz) heavy cream, you need:

  • 350 g double cream (12.3 oz) (with approx. 50% fat)
  • 150 g whole milk (5.3 oz) (with approx. 3.5% fat) *

To make the heavy cream, put the double cream in a medium bowl, then pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring smoothly with a rubber spatula. Avoid whisking, as it may turn into whipped cream.

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe, just as if you had the 500 g (17.6 oz) heavy cream needed. 

*This 150 g (5.3 oz) milk is extra to the 500 g milk (17.6 oz) asked in the recipe. So, if you use double cream, you need in total 650 g of milk (22.9 oz), from which:

  • 500 g (17.6 oz) are for the recipe; and
  • 150 g (5.3 oz) are mixed with the double cream to make heavy cream

A flexible rubber spatula is good for:
-wiping the bottom of the saucepan when you cook dairy on the stovetop.
-scraping residues from bowls, saucepans etc.

If you do not have one, we strongly encourage you to buy one, preferably a flexible one. 

Instructions
Plan ahead:

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator. Alternatively, if you have plenty of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in less than one hour; you will find detailed instructions under step 3.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours.

Step 1: Make the caramel sugar

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place it next to the stovetop. Put two trivets beneath the baking tray to protect the counter from the heat, making sure that the tray is levelled and secure in its place.

Bring the water to a boil: in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan pour the water (250 g; 8.8 oz) and bring it to a boil over high heat (100° C / 212° F / it bubbles up vigorously).

Add the sugar: remove the saucepan from the heat and add the sugar (300 g; 10 oz). Stir for 1 minute and 20 seconds; do not estimate it, time it. This is the time the sugar needs to dissolve; some sugar granules left are ok.

Caramelise the sugar: return the saucepan with the syrup over medium-high heat and cook until it is a deep brown caramel colour (195° C / 383° F if you use a thermometer). Do not stir while it cooks, but as the caramel darkens, do tilt the pan gently  once or twice if you notice darker spots forming, to distribute the heat evenly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the caramel over the parchment paper, scraping with the rubber spatula caramel residues from the saucepan,

Let it cool down for approximately 30-40 minutes or until it doesn’t feel warm to the touch (this is at 27° C / 80° F if you use an infrared thermometer).

Note that the caramel is very sensitive to humidity, so from now on, take care that anything it comes into contact with is completely dry. Don’t leave it exposed to the kitchen’s humidity either; as soon as it comes to room temperature, either proceed with the recipe or put it in an airtight bag.

Break the caramel into pieces with your hands (dry, please) and put the pieces in a (completely dry) blender jug/food processor. Pulse to break the caramel to as fine as possible.

A blender creates a fine powder which dissolves easily. A food processor breaks the caramel into pieces, the size of a rice grain, which just take a little longer to dissolve.

Store the caramel sugar: immediately weigh the caramel sugar (200 g; 7.1 oz; all of it if measuring in cups) you need for the ice cream into a (completely dry) airtight container and close the lid. Proceed with the recipe, or keep it for up to one month. Any leftover caramel sugar can be stored in an airtight container and used to sprinkle over the ice cream or to flavour your coffee.

Step 2: Make the caramel milk

Set up your blender; it should be heatproof and large enough to blend 700 ml of warm liquid. If you do not have a blender, see at the end of this step how to make the caramel milk on the stovetop.

Warm the milk: put the milk (500 g; 16 oz) in a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring often, until the milk is hot and steamy (this is at 75° C / 167° F if you have a thermometer). Do not let it boil.

Pour the warm milk into the blender. With the blender on, gradually add the caramel sugar (200 g; 7.1 oz), blending to dissolve it. 

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl. If any small bits of caramel sugar are left on the sieve after straining, just put them back in the caramel milk; they will gradually dissolve. But if there are large clumps of undissolved caramel sugar left, put them into the saucepan with a splash of the caramel milk and stir over medium heat to fully melt, before adding back to the caramel milk.

In a medium saucepan, put the milk (500 g; 16 oz) and warm over medium heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula.

When it is hot and steamy, add the caramel sugar (200 g; 10 oz) one tablespoon at a time by sprinkling it over the surface of the hot milk and stirring with the spatula after each addition.

While you add the caramel sugar, tap the tablespoon on the saucepan to shake off the caramel sugar that sticks to it. When you finish adding the caramel powder, insert the spoon into the milk and leave it there to allow all residues to melt.

Stir and whisk as needed to dissolve all the caramel sugar.

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl. If there is undissolved caramel sugar in the sieve after straining, put it back into the saucepan along with a splash of the warm caramel milk and stir over medium heat to dissolve it, then pour it back into the rest of the milk and stir.

Step 3: Chill the ice cream mixture

Add the cold heavy cream (500 g; 16 oz) into the caramel milk and stir thoroughly.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to bring the ice cream mixture to room temperature. Let the ice cream mixture cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

If you have plenty of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in less than one hour by cooling it in a super-cold ice bath. Note that the time and quantity of ice given below, are for an ice cream mixture that has been cooled down (it is not hot to the touch).

How to prepare an ice bath for fast chilling:

1. Put the ice cream mixture in a bowl made of heatproof glass or stainless steel; these materials help the mixture chill fast and don’t break in sudden temperature changes. Avoid using a plastic bowl which will take forever to cool, or a regular glass bowl that may break upon contact with the ice bath.

2. Nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a large empty bowl (it should be large enough to fit ice cubes on the sides) and fill the sides of the large empty bowl with ice cubes. How many ice cubes? Well, the more ice you put in, the faster it will chill.

3. Pour cold water into the sides of the large bowl, taking care that no water slips into the ice cream mixture. Pour as much cold water as needed so that the level of the water bath in the large bowl is 2 cm / 1 inch above the ice cream mixture. Add more ice cubes to keep them plentiful in the water.

 For this quantity of ice cream mixture, we started with approx. 500 g; 17 oz ice cubes and less than 1 litre fridge-cold water.

4. Refresh the ice bath with new ice cubes as soon as the older ones start to melt. If you have a thermometer, add enough ice cubes to keep the water well below 10° C / 50° F – take care that you measure the temperature of the water itself, not the ice temperature. The colder the ice bath, the faster the ice cream mixture will chill. You may need to remove water from the ice bath if it starts to overflow; to do so, carefully remove the bowl with the ice cream mixture, pour out the excess water and put the bowl back in. We used approximately 250 g; 9 oz additional ice cubes.

5. Stir often, leaving the spatula in the bowl during the cooling process. The ice cream mixture is ready for churning when it is fridge-cold to the touch (anywhere between 4-12° C / 39-54° F is perfectly ok).

6. Remove the bowl with the ice cream mixture from the ice bath, and wipe its bottom with a kitchen towel. The ice cream mixture is now ready for churning.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

Step 4: Churn the ice cream

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your 

 

finger into it.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

(optional) Blend: give the ice cream mixture a quick blitz with an immersion/regular blender to ensure a smooth texture. If you do not have a blender, whisk it thoroughly.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream. It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave it to churn for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Note that some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

Step 5: Put the ice cream in the freezer to set
Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 
· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine
· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 
· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 
Setting time depends on many factors; see notes below for indicative times.

Serve or store: when it sets, you can serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storage.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to be inserted into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

Storing and serving

Storing: Philadelphia-style ice cream is at its best when eaten the day it is made. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from the freezer’s smells and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11°C / 12°F.

Instructions

The ice cream mixture needs to cool completely before churning, so prepare it in advance (approx. 8 hours before) to give it time to chill in the refrigerator. Alternatively, if you have plenty of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in less than one hour; read A Faster way to chill the ice cream mixture in the questions & troubleshooting section below.

If your ice cream maker has a removable freezer bowl, put it in the freezer for the whole time indicated by the manufacturer before churning, usually 24 hours. 

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place it next to the stovetop. Put two trivets beneath the baking tray to protect the counter from the heat, making sure that the tray is levelled and secure in its place.

Bring the water to a boil: in a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan pour the water (250 g; 8.8 oz) and bring it to a boil over high heat (100° C / 212° F / it bubbles up vigorously).

Add the sugar: remove the saucepan from the heat and add the sugar (300 g; 10 oz). Stir for 1 minute and 20 seconds; do not estimate it, time it. This is the time the sugar needs to dissolve; some sugar granules left are ok.

Caramelise the sugar: return the saucepan with the syrup over medium-high heat and cook until it is a deep brown caramel colour (195° C / 383° F if you use a thermometer). Do not stir while it cooks, but as the caramel darkens, do tilt the pan gently  once or twice if you notice darker spots forming, to distribute the heat evenly.

Remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the caramel over the parchment paper, scraping with the rubber spatula caramel residues from the saucepan,

Let it cool down for approximately 30-40 minutes or until it doesn’t feel warm to the touch (this is at 27° C / 80° F if you use an infrared thermometer).

Note that the caramel is very sensitive to humidity, so from now on, take care that anything it comes into contact with is completely dry. Don’t leave it exposed to the kitchen’s humidity either; as soon as it comes to room temperature, either proceed with the recipe or put it in an airtight bag.

Break the caramel into pieces with your hands (dry, please) and put the pieces in a (completely dry) blender jug/food processor. Pulse to break the caramel to as fine as possible.

A blender creates a fine powder which dissolves easily. A food processor breaks the caramel into pieces, the size of a rice grain, which just take a little longer to dissolve.

Store the caramel sugar: immediately weigh the caramel sugar (200 g; 7.1 oz; all of it if measuring in cups) you need for the ice cream into a (completely dry) airtight container and close the lid. Proceed with the recipe, or keep it for up to one month. Any leftover caramel sugar can be stored in an airtight container and used to sprinkle over the ice cream or to flavour your coffee.

This step requires a blender; if you do not have one, see How to make the caramel milk on the stovetop in the in questions & troubleshooting section below.

Set up your blender; it should be heatproof and large enough to blend 700 ml of warm liquid. If you do not have a blender, see at the end of this step how to make the caramel milk on the stovetop.

Warm the milk: put the milk (500 g; 16 oz) in a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat, stirring often, until the milk is hot and steamy (this is at 75° C / 167° F if you have a thermometer). Do not let it boil.

Pour the warm milk into the blender. With the blender on, gradually add the caramel sugar (200 g; 7.1 oz), blending to dissolve it. 

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl. If any small bits of caramel sugar are left on the sieve after straining, just put them back in the caramel milk; they will gradually dissolve. But if there are large clumps of undissolved caramel sugar left, put them into the saucepan with a splash of the caramel milk and stir over medium heat to fully melt, before adding back to the caramel milk.

Add the cold heavy cream (500 g; 16 oz) into the caramel milk and stir thoroughly.

Cool it down: prepare an ice bath by putting the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a larger bowl and filling the empty sides with ice cubes and cold water. How many ice cubes? A tray of ice cubes (200 g; 7 oz of ice) is enough to bring the ice cream mixture to room temperature. Let the ice cream mixture cool down for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days.

Alternatively, to speed up the chilling process, read A faster way to chill the ice cream mixture in the questions & troubleshooting section below.

Check if the ice cream mixture is cold before churning it: 4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your finger into it.

Prepare the ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

(optional) Blend: give the ice cream mixture a quick blitz with an immersion/regular blender; this helps the ice cream churn more smoothly. If you do not use a blender, do whisk it thoroughly.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream makerLeave to churn until fluffed up and creamy; depending on your ice cream maker, this can take anywhere from 30-60 minutes; read more in How do I know when the ice cream is ready in questions & troubleshooting section below.

Put in the freezer to set: before serving the ice cream or moving it to a container for storing, you have to put it in the freezer to set. To do so, turn off the ice cream maker and: 

· remove the removable freezer bowl (still filled with the ice cream) from the ice cream machine

· remove the paddle, scraping any ice cream attached to it back into the ice cream bowl 

· cover the ice cream bowl and place it in the freezer 

Setting time depends on many factors; read How long does it take for the ice cream to set in questions & troubleshooting below.

Serve or store: as soon as it sets, you can either serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl or transfer it to an airtight container for longer storing. 

Storing: Philadelphia-style ice cream is at its best when eaten the day it is made. If you want to keep it for longer, cover it well to protect it from the freezer’s smell and keep it in the freezer for up to one month.

Scooping: this ice cream, like all artisanal ice cream, freezes hard in the long term. You can make it perfectly scoopable again by putting it in the refrigerator for 45-60 minuter until soft; or until its internal temperature reads -11° / 12°F.

In a medium saucepan, put the milk (500 g; 16 oz) and warm over medium heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula.

When it is hot and steamy, add the caramel sugar (200 g; 10 oz) one tablespoon at a time by sprinkling it over the surface of the hot milk and stirring with the spatula after each addition.

While you add the caramel sugar, tap the tablespoon on the saucepan to shake off the caramel sugar that sticks to it. When you finish adding the caramel powder, insert the spoon into the milk and leave it there to allow all residues to melt.

Stir and whisk as needed to dissolve all the caramel sugar.

Strain the ice cream mixture over a fine-mesh sieve and into a bowl. If there is undissolved caramel sugar in the sieve after straining, put it back into the saucepan along with a splash of the warm caramel milk and stir over medium heat to dissolve it, then pour it back into the rest of the milk and stir.

If you have plenty of ice cubes, you can have the ice cream mixture ready for churning in less than one hour by cooling it in a super-cold ice bath. Note that the time and quantity of ice given below, are for an ice cream mixture that has been cooled down (it is not hot to the touch).

How to prepare an ice bath for fast chilling:

1. Put the ice cream mixture in a bowl made of heatproof glass or stainless steel; these materials help the mixture chill fast and don’t break in sudden temperature changes. Avoid using a plastic bowl which will take forever to cool, or a regular glass bowl that may break upon contact with the ice bath.

2. Nest the bowl with the ice cream mixture into a large empty bowl (it should be large enough to fit ice cubes on the sides) and fill the sides of the large empty bowl with ice cubes. How many ice cubes? Well, the more ice you put in, the faster it will chill.

3. Pour cold water into the sides of the large bowl, taking care that no water slips into the ice cream mixture. Pour as much cold water as needed so that the level of the water bath in the large bowl is 2 cm / 1 inch above the ice cream mixture. Add more ice cubes to keep them plentiful in the water.

 For this quantity of ice cream mixture, we started with approx. 500 g; 17 oz ice cubes and less than 1 litre fridge-cold water.

4. Refresh the ice bath with new ice cubes as soon as the older ones start to melt. If you have a thermometer, add enough ice cubes to keep the water well below 10° C / 50° F – take care that you measure the temperature of the water itself, not the ice temperature. The colder the ice bath, the faster the ice cream mixture will chill. You may need to remove water from the ice bath if it starts to overflow; to do so, carefully remove the bowl with the ice cream mixture, pour out the excess water and put the bowl back in. We used approximately 250 g; 9 oz additional ice cubes.

5. Stir often, leaving the spatula in the bowl during the cooling process. The ice cream mixture is ready for churning when it is fridge-cold to the touch (anywhere between 4-12° C / 39-54° F is perfectly ok).

6. Remove the bowl with the ice cream mixture from the ice bath, and wipe its bottom with a kitchen towel. The ice cream mixture is now ready for churning.

When churning with a domestic ice cream maker, the ice cream mixture must be fridge-cold (4ºC–12ºC / 39ºF-54ºF / it feels fridge-cold when you place your index finger into it).

If the ice cream mixture is not cold enough, the ice cream maker may not be able to churn it to its fullest potential, resulting in a sloppy liquid vs. fluffy ice cream.

This ice cream will expand and fluff up during churning. It is ready when it looks smooth and fluffy, with the consistency of soft-serve ice cream. The total churning time depends on your ice cream maker and could be anywhere from 30-70 minutes.

To evaluate if it is ready, lift a spoonful; it should be thick enough to stand on the spoon, but it will still be soft like soft-serve ice cream. If it looks watery or starts to melt the moment you spoon it, leave it to churn for longer.

In any case, if you feel doubts about the consistency, leave it to churn for ten minutes more. But beware: at this stage, do not expect it to be like store-bought carton ice cream; for now, it should be more like soft-serve ice cream.

It will firm up and become like store-bought ice cream only after it sets in the freezer.

So, stop the ice cream maker when thick and creamy, as described above. If you leave to churn it for much longer, it will start turning grainy.

Note that some ice cream makers are programmed to stop after a specific time, which doesn’t make sense because the ice cream may need to churn for more to reach its fullest potential. So, if you notice that your ice cream maker stops on its own and upon checking the ice cream, you find that it is sloppy instead of fluffy, try to turn the machine on again and leave it to churn until it reaches the desired texture.

The setting time for the ice cream largely depends on the type of ice cream maker you use.

It can take :

  • 3-5 hours for removable freezer bowls (these are the ice cream maker bowls which you should pre-freeze before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

Note: the times given are indicative. Setting time depends on many factors.

Check it occasionally (approx. every 2 hours; or as needed) while it is in the freezer. The ice cream is ready when it has an internal temperature of -11ºC / 12ºF. If you do not have a thermometer, to evaluate if the ice cream has set, insert a round tip knife into it, all the way to the bottom: 

  • when the ice cream is ready, it feels firm as you go down, but at the same time it is soft enough to insert the knife into it; it should have this same firm consistency from top to bottom.
  • not ready yet: it will feel hard on the top and softer as you go down
  • if left in the freezer for too long: it will be too hard for the knife to insert into it and too hard to scoop out of the ice cream bowl. Do not worry, though! Read right below how to soften it.

Straight after churning, the ice cream has a soft-serve ice cream consistency and melts immediately upon contact with anything. This makes it impossible to serve or transfer to another container.

Putting it in the freezer after churning sets it and brings it to the right consistency, similar to that of an ice cream parlour’s.

If the ice cream stays in the removable freezer bowl for too long, it will harden and be difficult to remove or serve.

To make it scoopable again, leave it in the refrigerator to soften. That can take:

  • anywhere from 4 to 10 hours for removable freezer bowls (the ones which need pre-freezing before churning)
  • 1-2 hours for aluminium bowls (these are the bowls from compressor ice cream makers)

(Note: the time given is indicative, time may vary depending on many factors, so do check it occasionally as it sits in the refrigerator.)

When the ice cream is easy to scoop (or it has an internal temperature of approx. -11°C / 12°F if you have a thermometer), you can transfer it to another container and store it in the freezer or serve it directly from the removable freezer bowl.

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