THE FRENCH-STYLE ICE CREAM

No-Stress Caramel Ice Cream
• with egg yolks •

No-Stress
Caramel Ice Cream
· with egg yolks ·

With milk, cream, sugar, and egg yolks.

This is a French-style ice cream which means that it contains egg yolks cooked with milk over the stovetop to make a custard. Making a custard is a little tricky but worth the effort for the velvety ice cream it creates.

This is not your typical caramel ice cream: this is our No-Stress version that we created because we find the old-fashioned way of making caramel ice cream 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 in 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 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.

Want something eggless instead? See 3 more ways to make this no-stress caramel ice cream:

THE EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With milk, cream, sugar.

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.

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 EASY! Crowd-pleasing and easy to make. Eat now, thank us later. With milk, cream, sugar.

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.

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.
Other sugars, like raw cane sugars (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.

• Egg yolks: we use eggs in the range of 65 – 75 gr; 2.3 – 2.65 oz (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell) , but it is ok to use larger or smaller ones. It’s easier to separate the egg yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold.

• 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.

Sugar: use regular sugar (white granulated sugar): it is the only sugar that turns into caramel.
Other sugars, like raw cane sugars (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.

• Egg yolks: we use eggs in the range of 65 – 75 gr; 2.3 – 2.65 oz (this is the weight of a whole egg, in its shell) , but it is ok to use larger or smaller ones. It’s easier to separate the egg yolks from the whites when the eggs are cold.

• Heavy cream (for double cream scroll 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”.

• 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.

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.

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. Strain into a saucepan.  

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

Make the custard: warm the caramel milk til hot and steamy and pour over the egg yolks, whisking contintuously.

Return to the heat and cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring continously.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve and into a bowl with the heavy cream.

Cool down over an ice bath.

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

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 | with egg yolks

No-Stress Caramel Ice Cream|
• with egg yolks •
Ingredients:
Notes:

When making ice cream, prefer to weigh all the ingredients, even the liquid ones. We also recommend – whenever possible – to weigh the 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 39.9% / heavy cream 36.6%  / caramel sugar * 16.8% / egg yolks 6.7%

in desired total weight of 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 (approx. 1 litre before churning) of ice cream mixture, you need:

  • 1000 g x 39.9% = 399 g milk
  • 1000 g x 36.6% = 366 g heavy cream
  • 1000 g x 16.8% = 168 g caramel sugar,
  • 1000 g x 6.7% = 67 g egg yolks

and to estimate the white granulated sugar you need for caramelisation:

  • 168 g caramel sugar x 1.5 = 252 g; this is the white granulated sugar you need to make the caramel sugar for this batch of ice cream

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

To make 435 g (15.3 oz) heavy cream, stir together:

  • 305 g double cream (10.7 oz) (with approx. 50% fat)
  • 130 g / ml whole milk (4.6 oz) (with approx. 3.5% fat) -note that this milk is extra to the 475 g; 16.8 oz asked in the recipe-

The resulting heavy cream has 36% fat, perfect for this ice cream. Proceed with the recipe just as if you had the 435 g (15.3 oz) heavy cream needed. 

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. 

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 (650 g; 23 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 back into the saucepan you used to warm the milk (no need to rinse).

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 another 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 (475 g; 16.8 oz) and warm over medium heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula.

When it is hot and steamy, add the caramel sugar (200 g; 7 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: Make the ice cream mixture

Place a rubber spatula and a whisk on a plate next to the stovetop to have them ready to use interchangeably.

Pour the heavy cream (435 g; 15.3 oz) into a large bowl and set a fine-mesh sieve over it; set aside.

Prepare the egg yolks: put the egg yolks (4 egg yolks) in a medium bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Set the bowl next to the stovetop.

Warm the caramel milk: place the saucepan with the caramel milk (from step 2) over medium heat, and warm until it is hot and steamy.

Temper the egg yolks: remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour roughly half of the warm milk over the egg yolks with one hand while whisking them vigorously with the other hand to temper them.

Cook until thickened: pour the tempered yolks & milk back into the saucepan and over medium-high heat. Cook, constantly stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the custard from scalding. Maintain a medium temperature, do not let it come to a boil.

Remove from the heat when the custard starts to thicken (82ºC / 179 ºF / when it thickens to coat the back of a spoon / when you tilt the saucepan, a layer of thickened custard appears to form on the bottom).

Pour the thickened caramel milk through the fine-mesh sieve and into the heavy cream; stir to combine.

Step 4: Chill the ice cream mixture

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 cool down the ice cream mixture: we just need to cool it down until it is no longer warm to the 

touch so that you can safely put it in the refrigerator. This will take approx. 30 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. This time is also necessary for a custard-based ice cream to mature and its flavours to develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

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 index finger into it.

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

Stir: give it a vigorous and thorough stirring; this will allow it to churn for longer and fluff up. If it is too thick, give it a quick blitz with the immersion blender.

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 6: 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: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

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.

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. 

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.

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 How to make the caramel milk on the stovetop without a blender below.

Warm the milk: put the milk (475 g; 16.8 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 back into the saucepan you used to warm the milk (no need to rinse).

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 another saucepan with a splash of the caramel milk and stir over medium heat to fully melt, before adding back to the caramel milk.

Place a rubber spatula and a whisk on a plate next to the stovetop to have them ready to use interchangeably.

Pour the heavy cream (435 g; 15.3 oz) into a large bowl and set a fine-mesh sieve over it; set aside.

Prepare the egg yolks: put the egg yolks (4 egg yolks) in a medium bowl, and whisk them lightly to break them down. Set the bowl next to the stovetop.

Warm the caramel milk: place the saucepan with the caramel milk (from step 2) over medium heat, and warm until it is hot and steamy.

Temper the egg yolks: remove the saucepan from the heat and slowly pour roughly half of the warm milk over the egg yolks with one hand while whisking them vigorously with the other hand to temper them.

Cook until thickened: pour the tempered yolks & milk back into the saucepan and over medium-high heat. Cook, constantly stirring with a rubber spatula and scraping the bottom of the saucepan to prevent the custard from scalding. Maintain a medium temperature, do not let it come to a boil.

Remove from the heat when the custard starts to thicken (82ºC / 179 ºF / when it thickens to coat the back of a spoon / when you tilt the saucepan, a layer of thickened custard appears to form on the bottom).

Pour the thickened caramel milk through the fine-mesh sieve and into the heavy cream; stir to combine.

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 cool down the ice cream mixture: we just need to cool it down until it is no longer warm to the touch so that you can safely put it in the refrigerator. This will take approx. 30 minutes; do stir occasionally.

Chill until completely cold: cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 3 days. This time is also necessary for a custard-based ice cream to mature and its flavours to develop, so do not rush the cooling process.

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. 

Stir: the ice cream will thicken after chilling; give it a vigorous and thorough stirring to loosen it; this will allow it to churn for longer and fluff up. If it is too thick, give it a quick blitz with the immersion blender.

Churn: with the machine running, pour the ice cream mixture through the canister and into the ice cream maker. Leave 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 below.

Storing: in the freezer for one month, covered well to protect it from absorbing the freezer’s smells. 

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 (475 g; 16.8 oz) and warm over medium heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula.

When it is hot and steamy, add the caramel sugar (200 g; 7 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.

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.

Warning: 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 store-bought ice cream.

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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