Dulce de Leche Ice Cream

Nigella Lawson made this ice cream on her TV series some months ago and I made a mental note to give it a try. She says it’s the ice cream she makes (and eats) the most.

It’s very quick and easy, using roughly equal quantities of Dulce de Leche or Nestlé’s Caramel Top ‘n Fill and cream. A splosh of bourbon, rum or brandy is optional – and best left out if you’re serving this to kids. There’s no churning required and when ready to serve the ice cream is not rock hard, so you don’t need to take it out of the freezer ahead of serving time, the way you do with most home made ice creams.

Dulce de Leche (known as Manjar in Chile) is basically condensed milk cooked until it turns into a thick brown caramel. It’s not difficult to make from condensed milk in a pressure cooker and this is what you had to do in Australia before Nestlé’s Caramel Top ‘n Fill came on the market.

Nigella says this ice cream goes well with Sticky Toffee Pudding. She also suggests adding brandy instead of whisky and serving it with Christmas Pudding. I have served it with Sago Plum Pudding.

1 can Nestlé’s Caramel Top n Fill (380g) or equivalent in Dulce de Leche*
300ml whipping cream
1-2 Tbs Bourbon, rum or brandy (optional)
½ tsp Maldon sea salt flakes, or to taste
To serve (optional):
½ cup pecan nuts or walnuts
Maple syrup or golden syrup or honey

Place dulce de leche or Top ‘n fill in a bowl and mix with electric beaters until smooth. Add the cream and continue whipping until thick and smooth. Gradually mix in the alcohol, if using and salt to taste. Scrape into a container with a lid, then freeze for 8 hours or overnight.

Optional topping: Place pecans or walnuts in a small frying pan and stir over moderate heat until lightly toasted, then chop roughly.

Serve ice cream topped with the nuts and a drizzle of maple syrup, golden syrup or honey.

Serves 8

*or Bonne Maman Caramel Spread

Peanut Butter Ice Cream with Chocolate Sauce

When the kids were growing up I used to make a quick and easy chocolate sauce with a recipe from my mother in law. It goes well with ice cream, waffles and pancakes and disappeared faster than I could make it.

On a recent trip to Denmark  we spent a delightful weekend with our dear friends Vickie and Frants on the island of Fyn. Vickie served a delicious chocolate sauce with ice cream and when she explained the recipe I realised it was almost identical to mine, which I hadn’t made in ages.

Last weekend I went on a bit of a cooking spree and made a few things for the fridge and freezer, including peanut butter ice cream and chocolate sauce to serve with it. For Matthew, not the kids who are long gone. The recipe makes about a cup of sauce, so if you have a house full of kids you might like to double it. If you can’t find golden syrup, honey or maple syrup should work. The ice cream is very quick to make and you don’t need an ice cream machine.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream:
1 cup peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
A generous ½ cup of sugar
600 ml cream
125 ml milk
1 tsp vanilla essence
A pinch of Maldon salt flakes
Chocolate Sauce:
½ cup water
½ cup sugar
4 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs Golden Syrup
A piece of butter the size of a walnut
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the ice cream, use electric beaters to mix the peanut butter with the sugar until smooth. Gradually beat in the cream and milk and continue beating until thick. Add the vanilla and salt, then scrape into a plastic container and freeze.

For the sauce, place all ingredients except the butter and vanilla in a large saucepan, as it tends to bubble up. Heat, while whisking until smooth, then boil at a steady boil without stirring for 4-5 mins. Remove from the heat, add the butter and vanilla. Serve immediately or store in the fridge, covered and reheat in the microwave for about 30 secs. If it gets a bit thick add a tablespoon or so of water before heating. And if it’s too “dark” add some cream.

Serve ice cream topped with the sauce.

Makes about 1 litre of ice cream and 1 cup of sauce



Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream Cake

The December/January edition of Delicious magazine had a photo on the front of a really quick and easy Mango and Passionfruit Ice Cream Cake which was just perfect for a recent birthday party we hosted.

The recipe uses a bought pavlova so it’s only possible for readers who live in Australia, where you can buy a pavlova base in any supermarket. Readers elsewhere will have to make their own pavlova or modify the recipe and mix 500g of broken up store-bought meringues into the ice cream. The recipe also uses a four litre carton of store-bought ice cream. Easy peasy.

It was absolutely delicious, but a number of variations occurred to me, so I have listed them below. You will no doubt come up with a few of your own.

If you use homemade ice cream rather than store-bought you will need to take the cake out of the freezer 10-15 minutes before serving because homemade ice cream always freezes much harder than store-bought and the cake will be too difficult to slice.

1 x 500g store-bought pavlova base
4L vanilla ice cream
12 passionfruit
A few drops of yellow food colouring (optional)
1/3 cup whisky or water
½ cup sugar
300ml whipping cream
2 ripe but firm mangoes, thinly sliced

You will need a springform cake pan 25cm in diameter with a clip closure – i.e. the same diameter as the pavlova. Choose a flat serving plate which will fit in the freezer. Place the pavlova on the plate then undo the springform pan and take out the base, which you don’t need. Place the ring over the pavlova so it sits down on the plate, then close it.

Spoon the ice cream into a large mixing bowl and let it stand for a few minutes to soften slightly while you add the pulp of 8 of the passionfruit and, if liked, a few drops of yellow food colouring. Mix gently but thoroughly then spread on top of the pavlova, smoothing the top. Freeze overnight – no need to cover.

Place whisky or water, sugar and pulp from the remaining 4 passionfruit into a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, till sugar has dissolved then simmer for 6-8 minutes or until thickened, then cool. Can be made ahead and kept in a jug or jam jar.

To serve, whip cream until stiff and slice mango thinly. Remove ice cream cake from freezer. Briefly hold a tea towel wrung out in very hot water around the sides, run a thin knife around the outside of the cake, then release the clip and lift off the tin. Spread whipped cream over the top, cover with sliced mango and drizzle with passionfruit sauce. Serve immediately.

Serves 16

Four Variations: 

  • Use chocolate ice cream, cover the whipped cream with strawberries, whole or sliced if large, then drizzle with chocolate ganache
  • Use plain vanilla ice cream or Quick Raspberry Ice Cream, cover the whipped cream with fresh raspberries, then drizzle with raspberry coulis
  • Dissolve 4 Tbs instant coffee in 2 Tbs hot water then mix thoroughly into the ice cream, mix about 200g broken up Halva into the whipped cream and drizzle with chocolate sauce
  • Use caramel or salted caramel ice cream, cover the whipped cream with sliced bananas and toasted macadamias or peanuts (optional), then drizzle with caramel sauce


Mango Kulfi

To make traditional Indian or Pakistani ice cream, known as Kulfi, you begin by cooking sweetened flavoured milk over a low heat, stirring continuously to stop it from sticking and burning, until the volume is reduced by half. The milk takes on a distinctive flavour due to the caramelization process and this is the base you use to make the ice cream.

Having read a few articles and recipes online, I decided to replace the cooked milk with what is called Manjar or Dulce de Leche in South America. If you can’t find this use a can of Nestle Caramel Top n Fill, which is readily available in Australian supermarkets.  Kulfi can be made in any flavour, but mango kulfi is very popular in India, so as I had a packet of frozen mango in the freezer I thought I would give it a try.

This method of making ice cream in a food processor with frozen fruit virtually turns your food processor into an ice cream machine. As the frozen fruit breaks up it freezes the other ingredients. As you can see from the photo of the Kulfi when it was ready to go into the freezer, it already had the consistency of ice cream. Quick Raspberry Ice Cream is another recipe on this blog which uses this speedy food processor method. You can use any frozen fruit but the pieces must be fairly small or the motor will struggle.

250g Dulce de Leche or Manjar (or 1 can Nestle Caramel Top n Fill)
300ml cream (thickened, whipping, double)
1kg frozen mango pieces (I bought mine at Aldi)
Ground cardamom to taste
Pinch of salt
Grated rind and juice of 1 lime (save a little zest for garnish)
Lime Syrup to serve (optional)
Juice of 1 lime
½ cup water
¼ cup sugar
Lime zest

Place Dulce de Leche or Caramel topping in food processor with cream. Process until mixed and then, with the motor running, slowly add the mango cubes through the feed tube. Depending on what size food processor you have, you may need to make the Kulfi in two batches. Mine was just big enough. Keep mixing until all the mango cubes have been pureed, stopping to scrape down the sides with a spatula from time to time. Add cardamom (half a teaspoonful then mix and taste and see what you think), the salt and the lime zest.

Scrape Kulfi into a plastic container, cover and freeze for 3-4 hours or overnight. Remove from freezer 15 mins before serving. Scoop into bowls, drizzle with lime syrup and garnish with a little lime zest.

Lime Syrup: Place lime juice, water and sugar in a small saucepan and heat to dissolve sugar. Continue cooking until reduced by a third to a half and syrupy. Cool.

Serves 8-10

Vanilla Ice Cream with Toasted Macadamias and Caramel Sauce

I was inspired to create this recipe after eating nut ice cream with caramel sauce at Pomegranate Restaurant in Canberra.

Ice cream made with glucose (corn) syrup is alleged to be softer and smoother, so I decided to see if it was true. It was one of the best vanilla ice creams I have made with a very smooth and creamy texture. I didn’t use an ice cream machine but you can if you prefer.

4 eggs
1 cup sugar
½ cup glucose (corn) syrup
1½ cups cream
1½ cups (unsweetened) evaporated milk
2 tsp arrowroot
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ tsp salt
1 cup whipping cream (extra)
Caramel Sauce:
½ cup cream
½ cup brown sugar
50g butter
To serve:
Macadamia nuts, lightly toasted then roughly chopped

Place eggs, sugar, glucose/corn syrup, cream and evaporated milk in a heavy-based saucepan and mix well with a balloon whisk. Place over medium-low heat and cook, whisking constantly until you have a custard which coats the back of a spoon. Be careful it doesn’t burn or get too hot. Mix the arrowroot with 1 tablespoonful of water and mix into the custard with the vanilla and salt. Remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve. Cool then chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Whip the extra cream until soft peaks form and fold into the chilled custard.

Churn ice cream in an ice cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions, then scrape into a container and store in the freezer. If you don’t have an ice cream machine, pour into a shallow container and freeze until almost frozen but not rock hard, scrape into a food processor and process very briefly till smooth, then freeze again.

Caramel Sauce: place cream, brown sugar and butter in a saucepan and heat over moderate heat, stirring till dissolved. Allow to simmer for about 3 minutes then cool and serve at room temperature.

Remove ice cream from freezer and place in the fridge for 15-20 mins before serving, to make it easier to scoop. Serve the ice cream with the toffee sauce and the toasted macadamia nuts.

Makes about 1.5 litres


  • use 3 cups cream and omit the evaporated milk.
  • use 8 egg yolks instead of 4 whole eggs. This makes the ice cream richer.
  • If preferred, fold the toasted nuts into the ice cream when you mix in the whipped cream.
  • use toasted walnuts, pecans or almonds instead of macadamias

Deconstructed Ice Cream Sundae with Popcorn & Salted Caramel Sauce

The idea for serving an ice cream sundae with a crunchy cone stuck on top, like a hat, came from the fairly new and very popular Canberra bistro called Eightysix. The idea for making a 2 litre container of bought vanilla ice cream more exciting, by adding halva and other ingredients came from Maggie Beer. I put these two ideas together for a quick and delicious dessert. Matthew said he wasn’t very hungry and would “share” mine. But after a few mouthfuls I knew I wouldn’t be able to leave half, so I told him to get his own.

If you can’t find halva – a Middle Eastern sweet made from nuts and sugar which tastes a bit like nougat – you could chop up a couple of Crunchie bars. The fresh mint really makes a difference, helping to cut through all that sweetness. If preferred you can leave the salt out of the caramel sauce. For an even quicker version of this dessert, just use plain vanilla ice cream.

Deconstructed Ice Cream Sundae with Popcorn & Salted Caramel Sauce

Ice Cream:
2 litres bought vanilla ice cream
125g halva, chopped
2-3 Tbs finely chopped fresh mint
½ cup lightly toasted nuts (pistachios, slivered almonds or pecans)
Salted Caramel Sauce:
½ cup sugar
½ cup cream
60g butter
½ tsp salt
To serve:
1 pkt waffle ice cream cones
1 pkt caramel popcorn

Remove ice cream from the freezer and after 15 minutes scrape it into a large bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix through. The ice cream needs to thaw just enough to allow you to mix them in but don’t let it soften too much. Put back into container and into the freezer. For the sauce, melt the sugar in a small heavy-based pan until melted and dark caramel colour. Add cream and butter and mix until smooth. Put aside and warm slightly to serve.

To serve, fill ice cream cones generously with ice cream then place upside down in serving dishes. Sprinkle a few popcorn around and drizzle with the warm caramel sauce.

Serves 6 or more

Berry Meringue Ice Cream Slice

Not everyone likes Christmas pudding, so I like to serve two desserts on Christmas day, so people can choose. This Bill Granger recipe for an easy ice cream slice full of berries and chunks of meringue appeared in the December issue of Delicious. We have raspberries in the garden at the moment, so it was perfect.

Some people, who shall remain nameless, had both the Christmas pudding and the ice cream slice. They blamed this indulgence on me saying it was too hard to choose.

Berry and Meringue Ice Cream Slice

350g berries (I used raspberries)
600ml thickened cream or whipping cream
2 Tbs icing sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
50g bought meringues broken into chunks
To serve:
Runny honey and extra berries (I used a mix of raspberries and halved strawberries)

Grease a 1.5L loaf pan and line with plastic wrap or use a silicone pan which doesn’t need to be lined. Drop some berries into the loaf pan – these will be the top of the slice. Whip cream with sugar and vanilla to soft peaks then fold in berries and meringue. Pour into pan, shake to remove any air bubbles, and smooth top. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3 hours or overnight.

Remove from freezer 20 minutes before serving. Tip out and garnish with extra berries, drizzle with honey and cut into slices to serve.

Serves 8-10

Note: frozen raspberries are fine for the ice cream, but if you can get them fresh ones are best for the garnish. Mango and passionfruit could be used instead of berries.

Coffee & Halva Ice Cream Cake with Hot Chocolate Sauce

This cake makes a great dessert or birthday cake to serve a crowd.  It can be made a few days ahead and is always popular.  The coffee and halva flavours might be a bit sophisticated for small children, although our two and a half year old granddaughter Natalia loves olives, artichokes, radicchio and rocket, so you can never tell.  The recipe is adaptable – instead of coffee you could add chocolate chips and instead of halva you could add crumbled honeycomb or violet crumble bars.  Use your imagination.

Halva is a dense, crumbly Middle Eastern sweet containing nuts – a bit like a cross between fudge and nougat.

The chocolate sauce uses ingredients everyone has in the pantry (so you don’t need to rush out and buy a bar of chocolate) and keeps for at least a week in the fridge.  If preferred you can make a sauce by heating a cup of cream to boiling point, then removing from the heat and adding about 200g chocolate (milk or dark), broken into squares.  Stir till dissolved.

Coffee and Halva Ice Cream Cake with Hot Chocolate Sauce

4 large egg whites at room temperature
pinch salt
250g caster sugar
½ cup slivered almonds (optional)
Coffee Ice Cream:
2 litres good quality vanilla icecream (bought or home-made)
2 Tbs instant coffee powder dissolved in 1 Tbs hot water
Halva Ice Cream:
2 x 300ml sour cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
¼ cup icing sugar
250g (approx) halva (from delis and specialty shops)
Chocolate Sauce:
½ cup sugar
¾ cup water
4 Tbs cocoa powder
2 Tbs golden syrup
1 Tbs butter
1 tsp vanilla essence
½ cup cream
To serve:
Cocoa powder

Meringues: Line two baking sheets with baking paper and turn oven to 150°C.  Draw a 20 cm diameter circle on each sheet of paper.  With an electric mixer whip egg whites with salt until they hold their shape, then gradually add the sugar, beating constantly, until you have a thick glossy meringue.  Spread meringue evenly onto the circles you have drawn, leaving a little space all around as they will expand in the oven and you want them to fit into a 20 cm tin.  If liked, sprinkle almonds over one then bake the meringues for about an hour until firm but pale in colour.  Turn off the oven and leave them to cool in there.

Coffee Ice Cream: Remove ice cream from the freezer and let it soften for about 10 minutes then tip into a large bowl and stir until smooth.  Thoroughly mix in coffee mixture, then put back into container and refreeze.  Halva Ice Cream: Mix sour cream with icing sugar, vanilla essence and roughly crumbled halva.  Tip into a plastic container with a lid and freeze.

Remove the two ice creams from the freezer about 10 minutes before assembling the cake.  Place the meringue layer without the nuts in the bottom of a 20 cm springform cake pan, bottom-lined with baking paper.  If too big, carefully trim off the edges with a sharp knife and keep testing, till it goes in.  Spread a layer of coffee ice cream over the meringue.  There will be more of this ice cream than the halva one, so you may decide not to use it all.  Sprinkle the meringue trimmings over the ice cream – unless you’ve already eaten them – then spread evenly with the halva ice cream.  Top with the other meringue, nut side up and trimmed to fit.  Press down gently.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in the freezer for up to 3-4 days.  Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving so it’s not rock hard.  Run a knife dipped in boiling water around the outside of the cake to enable you to remove sides from cake tin.  Dust top of cake with cocoa powder through a sieve.  Slice cake with a knife dipped in boiling water and serve with the sauce.

Sauce: Choose a large pan because this recipe will boil over if the pan is too small.  Place all ingredients except butter, vanilla essence and cream in pan.  Mix then simmer for 5 mins without stirring.  Cool for 10 mins then stir in butter and vanilla.  When almost cold mix in the cream.  Serve warm with ice cream.  Keeps for at least a week in the fridge – reheat in the microwave and allow to cool a bit.  If piping  hot it will be too runny.

Serves at least 12

Variation: if preferred divide meringue into three to make three thinner layers.  This allows you to put one between the two flavours of ice cream.

Raspberry Cake with Raspberry Coulis: leave the first layer of ice cream plain vanilla, leaving out the coffee.  For the second layer place the two packets of sour cream in food processor with 2 cups frozen raspberries, 300ml cream and icing sugar to taste.  Blitz enough to combine but leaving the raspberries a bit chunky.  Serve cake with Raspberry Coulis instead of Chocolate Sauce.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream Cake with Hot Chocolate Sauce: Instead of slivered almonds on one meringue layer, use skinned and lightly toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped.  Instead of the coffee and halva ice cream layers, use three 470ml tubs of Connoisseur Murray River Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Coated Hazelnuts.  Remove from the freezer to soften slightly then mix them in a bowl then spread over the first meringue layer.