6 September 2010

Caramel Ice-cream

A few weeks ago I made Nigella Lawson's caramel croissant pudding for the first time. Wow, that is a serious pudding! One of those where you cannot help but run your finger round the bowl to scoop up every last morsel of sauce. Oh yes, it is very good indeed. But ever since I made it a thought has been circling in my brain: wouldn’t the caramel custard used in this pudding make a fantastic ice-cream?

I have never made ice-cream before and I do not have an ice-cream maker, so I set off on my ice-cream adventure with high hopes but little confidence. And I am so glad I did, because the resulting ice-cream was a huge triumph. It was sensational! I knew the taste would be good from all of the ‘quality control’ mouthfuls I had while getting the custard just right. But I was worried that the texture would be disappointing. Never fear - perhaps because this ice-cream uses a custard base the texture was silky smooth, luscious, and creamy. And what’s more, I was surprised at how easy it was to make. OK, you do need a bit of time, but it’s perfect for a lazy day spent pottering round the kitchen with a brief spell of whisking every hour or so. I will definitely make this again, and am going to experiment with lots more ice-cream recipes too. There's no stopping me now!

Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure of the quantity of caramel I used. When you make the caramel custard it goes through a stage where the caramel harden and clings stubbornly to your whisk. That’s fine, you just keep whisking and it eventually melts back in. The beauty of this was that it allowed me to control the sweetness of the custard. As soon as I thought it was sweet enough I just lifted the remaining lump of hardened caramel out. I think I used between half to two thirds of the caramel, so I have based this recipe on roughly 2/3 of the amount of sugar stated in Nigella’s caramel-croissant pudding recipe. I certainly don't think it needs any more, and you might want to use less depending on your personal taste.

If you like, you can also add a slug of your favourite tipple. I added about 1tbsp of amaretto to get a slight almond vibe. But your only limitation is your imagination - I've made the croissant pudding with baileys before and think that would make an awesome ice-cream, especially with some chocolate chunks thrown in! Happy experimenting!

Caramel Ice-cream

125g caster sugar
2 tbsp cold water
250ml double cream
250ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
1 egg
2 egg yolks

  1. Place the sugar and cold water in a heavy-based saucepan, swirling to help the sugar dissolve.
  2. Let the caramel bubble away over a high heat until it turns a dark amber colour. This will take at least 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the cream and milk. The whole thing will spit and sputter, but it will calm down! 
  4. Whisk the mixture constantly- to start with a lot of the caramel will harden and cling to the whisk but don't worry - just keep whisking and the heat will gradually dissolve the caramel mixture. 
  5. If you are adding any alcohol, add it now to taste. 
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. 
  7. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and egg yolks together, then slowly pour them into the caramel custard whisking all the time.
  8. If you like you can heat the custard gently for a minute or two to thicken it slightly, but be gentle so it doesn't curdle!
  9. Pour the mixture into a plastic/tupperware box with a lid. A shallow layer will freeze more easily. 
  10. Freeze for 2 hours until the edges start to harden. Remove the ice-cream from the freezer and beat/whisk it vigorously to break down any ice-crystals. 
  11. Repeat this step every hour for three hours. Then leave the mixture to freeze for several hours or overnight. 
  12. Move from the freezer to the fridge for 10 minutes before serving.


  1. I know the formatting on this post has gone horribly wrong - I'm trying to fix it! Aaaagh, web gremlins are at work!

  2. I'm a willing taste tester for the baileys ice cream on our next visit...and seeing as we donated the baileys it seems only fair !!!!

  3. Hi Mandy,

    Ice cream looks fab! My mum always makes her own ice cream although she doesnt have an ice cream maker. She does it slightly different, she doesnt make custard, but whisks egg and sugar until pale and stiff, then adds double cream and whisks further and then flavours with vanilla pods. I have also seen a different method (here: http://cookingatmarystow.blogspot.com/2010/08/super-creamy-vanilla-ice-cream.html )
    which I am quite keen to try as it looks very easy.

    Take care,


  4. What a glorious idea Mandy:) I dunno, I find it hard to make things too sweet for my family! LOL They'd have been vying for the lump of hardened caramel you pulled out;) I am so in agreement with you on the machine front. I DO have one, but all it does is safe a little effort. We can get by without:) Tessa Kiros has a lot of great machine free receipes too - but I look forward to your future creations Mandy, I'm already salivating at the thought:D

  5. It looks so yummy... I want some now :) how did you keep you spoon out of it while you were making it?

  6. hey mandy... shall we link up?? Forizon here :)