Homemade salted caramel ice cream without ice cream maker, ready in five minutes. No eggs, no custard ice cream base, just three ingredients.
How to make no-churn ice cream
You might be familiar with Nigella Lawson’s no-churn ice cream recipe, which she modestly calls ‘embarrassingly simple’: nothing but sweetened condensed milk whipped lightly into double cream, plus coffee or other flavouring.
Because of condensed milk’s high fat and sugar content, it doesn’t freeze. In the content of the condensed milk/cream mixture there’s barely any water that might form those pesky ice crystals which ice cream makers strive to churn out.
That method works fabulously well: see my no churn raspberry ripple ice cream recipe inspired by Nigella. It's a staple and a favourite among my family and friends every summer.
This time I went a step further. Since the Carnation Caramel sold in tins is concentrated, caramelised condensed milk, aka dulce de leche, I concluded it would act both as an emulsifier and flavouring.
And so it does. This must be the simplest ice cream recipe in the world. Made in about five minutes, and the product tastes pretty much like it was made with egg yolks, custard, milk, homemade salted caramel; chilled for hours and churned patiently in a machine. My tasters, not privy to the production process, enthusiastically approved.
Is caramel the same as dulce de leche?
The two are commonly confused though not dissimilar. Basic caramel is sugar heater and stirred to the point when it liquefies and takes on deep brown hue. It may have added butter, milk or cream depending on what use it is meant for: toffee, butterscotch, fudge, caramel sauce or topping.
Dulce de leche must contain milk: it is condensed, sweetened milk heated over a long period of time until it thickens and darkens, intensifying its flavour - simply, caramelising.
My mother and grandmother both used to make caramel by boiling an unopened tin of condensed milk for three or four hours in a pan full of water, swapping anecdotes of exploding caramel tins. It is a complete 'don't do at home' these days, obviously - those ladies in the olden days lived dangerously.
How to make salted caramel ice cream?
It really doesn't involve anything other than whisking the caramel tin contents with double cream and adding salt to taste; no ice cream machine needed. Transferred to a tub, this ice cream needs a couple of hours in the freezer before it's ready to scoop and scoff.
It doesn't even need to stand at room temperature like almost all other kinds of ice cream do - it's scoopable straight from freezer.
I do like to serve it with filo pastry sprinkles that you can see in the pictures. Dive into my recipe for filo cones - it's nothing other than sweetened stacks of filo pastry, baked and smashed.
Who invented salted caramel?
It's a relatively modern invention, by a chocolatier Henri Le Roux in 1977. It was a way to celebrate salted butter from Brittany as well as balance the hint of bitterness that burnt sugar possesses. The rest is history.
If it's not your flavour, make it without salt – it will make the recipe into one of those ‘only 2 ingredients!’ shticks. Add less salt if you’re keen but sensitive to the taste. Finally, add more if, like me and a friend of mine, you’d be happy to crumble crispy bacon into your bowl of vanilla ice.