On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place


Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I know, I know. It’s Autumn. What am I thinking making ice cream.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I hadn’t planned to make ice cream. The pie made me do it. And before the pie, it was learning it was Caramel Week that lead to the pie.

The pie, a Caramel Apple pie, will be made tomorrow. And the ice cream will be consumed with it.

Oh how I love caramel. And how glad am I that there’s a week in the calendar dedicated to caramel. A very worthy food item to claim a spot on the foodie calendar.

I guess we’re working backwards. I’m posting about the ice cream. The pie might be tomorrow. But I started on Friday making the pie dough. And there’ll be a post on that too. It’s a very unique method of making dough which had caught my attention many many months ago, and I promised myself I’d give it a crack.

Caramel Custard

Oh, before I forget, my flash arrived this week. I had ordered it a couple of week ago on eBay and I was so happy when it arrived. That photo of the ice cream is taken in the kitchen at 8:15pm. The flash is making a noticeable difference and it means that I can bake at night and take photos. I had often wanted to jump up and get busy in the kitchen but the poor lighting always put me off. I like to share photos of the whole process. I’m sure you’ve noticed.

While I LOVE caramel, I’ve had a bad run of trying to make caramel sauce. It wasn’t pretty. I actually tried twice in the same day. The first attempt was tossed out. I burnt it. The second time I was too scared and I didn’t quite get there with cooking the caramel long enough. I think this time I did much better. I put it down to using a bigger pot, cool but not cold butter and I’d warmed up the cream.

Caramel Praline

So encouraged was I, I went on to make the Caramel Praline that was part of this ice cream recipe.

I love that taffy look, the little fine strands standing proud.

I’ve stuck with David Lebovitz as the master of all things ice cream. And while I’ve not waited for the ice cream to properly freeze, I’ve had a small sample. Just enough to get the gist of what this ice cream will be like. I’ve had a few bits of the praline too. But I don’t need to tell you that, you already knew Smile

Salted caramel

Look at those flecks of Maldon salt. Given I’m a lover of caramel, I’ve never really quite “got” the whole salted caramel thing. I know it’s all the rage but I’ve not found anything salted that has tasted like this caramel praline. And I am now a convert. If only all “salted caramel” this and that I tried tasted like this.

Mr Fussy was very gracious. I need his help when I made ice cream because of tempering the egg yolks and trying to pour slowly from our pots, which are nothing like your traditional pot with a long handle. They are awkward to pour from because they are too heavy and don’t have a sensible handle that fits nicely in your hand when you’re pouring.

And I needed help with the caramel praline, for much the same reason. I needed to quickly pour it out of the pot and tilt the baking sheet to get the caramel to move around and settle into a thin layer.  Mr Fussy is very handy to have around, and a good sport since he had been watching a movie and had to pause it to come to my aid.

Crushing the caramel praline

David, in his notes, suggested using a Pestle and Mortar to crush the caramel praline. It worked well. But by the time I got to crush the praline, while the ice cream was churning, it had become a little sticky, so it clumped a little. I hoped it wouldn’t clog up the ice cream maker. It didn’t. Phew.

Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream by David Lebovitz


For the caramel praline (mix-in)

  • ½ cup (100 gr) sugar
    ¾ teaspoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel

For the ice cream custard

  • 2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, divided
  • 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
  • scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract


  • I’m giving this a big swerve. David has good instructions and due to copywrite I don’t know how to explain them any differently, so I’m sending you to the post to follow.

My Notes:

  • I warmed the cream in the microwave until it was warm.
  • The butter was cut up into small squares around 1cm in size. The butter wasn’t straight from the fridge, it was cool but not cold.
  • I covered the bowl the custard was in, but even so there was a thick-ish layer over the top. I tossed it all into the ice cream maker and it incorporated completely.
  • I made an ice bath as David describes in his instructions, which I’ve not done in past recipes I’ve made, but I recommend it if you’ve got ice handy. It certainly cooled the custard quicker and I had totally cold custard in 6 hours. I hadn’t checked any earlier.
  • The ice cream is described as a really creamy ice cream, and I think this is part of the reason it takes a long time to churn. It was around 50 minutes before I added the crushed caramel praline.

Ice cream maker

Because the ice cream never totally freezes in the ice cream maker it’s a lot easier to scrape out (almost) all of it.

It tastes good. I can’t wait for tomorrow. Even if the pie and flaky pie dough don’t live up to all the accolades they’ve received respectively in the blog posts, the ice cream is a winner.


Leave a comment

Ice Cream, Lemon Curd and a Chocolate Sauce

This morning started with putting our house back to pre-Christmas. We’d moved our wrought iron liquor stand out to the garage and had to take all the bottles of alcohol off. That thing is heavy without several dozen bottles of booze.

While we were moving things out and bringing things back Maranello was whinging to go outside. Finally I organised him to go outside (our cats are indoor cats but have harnesses and leads so they can go outside, somewhat restricted, when we’re home – I wont be surprised if you think we’re bonkers).

At the same time the washing machine was just revving up for the spin cycle and with several bottles of alcohol on top they began clinking together. Maranello, who could saunter out the back door, instead headed to the bedroom and hid in the wardrobe. I was at a loss for words. He’d been harping (meowing) on about going outside and now he was hiding.

It took me some time to figure out what had happened. During the Christchurch earthquakes we’d had bottles of alcohol sitting on the beer fridge in the laundry and I imagine the sound of the bottles clinking on the washing machine (it’s a front loader) reminded him of the terror of the earthquakes. I’ve heard of so many pets been left traumatised by the earthquakes. Once I shifted the bottles Maranello was quick to head out the door and have a taste of the outdoors. And life resumed.


The chocolate sauce I made late this afternoon had a splash of alcohol in it. A choice of Whiskey (we don’t have any), Cognac or Rum. I chose Rum (recently purchased for the Rum & Raisin Ice Cream I made).

The sauce was really easy to make. I used a recipe from David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert, a recipe I’d taken a copy of when I’d borrowed the book from the library.

Rich Chocolate Sauce by David Lebovitz


  • 340gm dark chocolate (with at least 45% cocoa solids), chopped
  • 180ml water
  • 180ml double cream (I used standard cream which has 35% fat)
  • 2 teaspoons whiskey, rum or cognac

* Variation – for a slightly richer sauce, stir in 2 tablespoons unsalted or salted butter, at room temperature, along with the whiskey, rum or cognac


  • In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate, water, and cream.
  • Warm over low heat, stirring gently until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth.
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Stir in the whiskey, rum or cognac
  • Serve the sauce warm


The other day I made Scottish Shortbread. I froze some of it, and used some crumbed up in Lemon Truffles and then added some of the crumbled up shortbread in the Ice Cream along with the Lemon Curd I’d made.

I’m getting to be so good with freezing things and then reusing them in new ways.

The Ice Cream I made was based on the same recipe I used for the Strawberry Ice Cream, a recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.

I really enjoy making Ice Cream. I love watching it being churned. I know some people are mesmerised by watching flames in a fire, but I have a similar draw to watching churning ice cream. And I haven’t heard of that leading to any other devious behaviour.


I didn’t measure the amount of crumbled shortbread or how much Lemon Curd I added. I just did what felt right.

Mr Fussy has admitted that the Ice Cream, despite adding a biscuit, is just fine.

Isn’t Ice Cream great, you can just add any sweet left over to create something a little bit special and unique to what you’d find in the supermaket.


As for the chocolate sauce with the ice cream, it was nice but nothing I’d call out of this world, but it’s really straight forward to make and for that it’s a winner. Only Mr Fussy got a hint of the rum, I wasn’t aware of it at all, other than smelling it in the kitchen while I was making the sauce.

Unfortunately the Whittaker’s chocolate wouldn’t completely blend. I don’t know why. It hadn’t burnt, and when I touched the little globs they were soft and flattened without any pressure, but why they wouldn’t completely blend into the sauce I’m unsure.

David suggests the sauce being served with a Chocolate Cake.

I had made a Devil’s Food Cake (guess whose recipe?!), covered it with a White Chocolate Cream Cheese frosting and added crushed up candy canes around the bottom and served that during afternoon tea yesterday. Lots of my extended family aren’t into heavy fruit cake and I didn’t want them missing out. Yes I’m a star and all round good guy.

When I mentioned to Mr Fussy that the sauce was recommended to have with chocolate cake he asked after the cake I’d made yesterday. Unfortunately for him what hadn’t been eaten was divided up between my two sisters. Imagine pouring warm chocolate sauce over a cake smothered with white chocolate cream cheese frosting. If that doesn’t make your teeth hurt I don’t know what would. However he’s turned down my offer to make another chocolate cake.


I’ve got lots of cream left over from what we expected to use at Christmas, I wonder if I should make another ice cream. Mr Fussy is keen to use it to make cocktails on New Years Eve. Who will win?

1 Comment

Strawberry Ice Cream–the real deal


In New Zealand we’re pretty spoilt with Tip Top ice cream. Actually there’s loads more companies now producing top quality ice creams. Our dairy industry is romping along. Although the carbon emissions aren’t something we want to acknowledge and deal to, as a country.

The quality of our dairy products are supreme. And that means that any ice cream you make is going to taste really good. Adding fresh fruit just makes it a little more special and adds that little extra oomph to the luxurious taste and texture of creamy ice cream.

Although we’re seeing strawberries make an appearance in the supermarkets, it’s really a little early in the season to get those really sweet juicy strawberries. But it wont be long now, and then the supermarkets will hike the prices up just in time for Christmas Day. Now there’s a surprise.

I admit that of the two punnets of strawberries I bought, the 4 strawberries I left aside and ate a la natural caused my face to twist in an unnatural way, just a little.

That aside, the ice cream is really great. If there’s one changed I’d make (and I’m sure I’ll make this ice cream again) is to pulse the food processor a few more times for the strawberries I added during the last 5 minutes of making the ice cream.


This was the second time I used the ice cream maker. The first was with the Rum & Raisin ice cream. That refused to thicken and freeze thanks to the abundance of alcohol in the recipe. But it wasn’t a waste and I revived it.

Rum and Raisin ice cream isn’t really to my liking. But this Strawberry ice cream sure is.

I started out with a vanilla ice cream from David Lebovitz’s website and changed it, then changed it a bit more by adding pureed strawberries and chopped strawberries. This is another custard based ice cream and this time I felt like I got to the right place with “coat the back of a spoon”. It did take a lot of time I felt. I think that’s down to our pots. They are induction pots. Fantastic for even cooking and induction cooking, not so good for making custard. As I found out when I made what was meant to be the “consistency of pudding” for the Black Forest Cake.

Strawberry Ice Cream – inspired by David Lebovitz


  • 250ml milk – blue top
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 500ml cream – 35% fat
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 punnets fresh Strawberries – around 500gm, 350gm pureed, remainder chopped
  • 2 dessert spoons icing sugar
  • Squeeze of lemon juice


  • Heat the milk, salt, and sugar in a saucepan.
  • To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2 litre bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
  • Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
  • Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool, add the vanilla extract, then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
  • Hull the Strawberries and place 350gm into the food processor with the 2 dessert spoons of icing sugar. Puree.
  • Strain the puree to remove the pips and put the puree into the fridge to chill.
  • Put the remainder Strawberries into the food processor and pulse to the desired size. Squeeze some lemon juice over and stir. Then place the chopped Strawberries into the fridge to keep cold.
  • Right before making the ice cream, stir the pureed Strawberries into the custard.
  • Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Add the chopped Strawberries 5 minutes before the ice cream is finished churning.


Serve the ice cream as you please. I’m going to try some of the Strawberry and Champagne Chocolate sauce.

But for tonight we just tucked into the Strawberry Ice Cream as it came out of the container.

The ice cream straight from the maker wasn’t hard enough for my likes so it was put into the freezer overnight. Then I tested it this morning. Mr Fussy was laughing at my choice of “breakfast”. But the teaspoon of ice cream I took was purely for quality control.


I’m just sad we don’t have enough freezer space to make more ice cream. We have two upright freezers and still don’t have enough room. Don’t ask where we’ll be putting a Turkey.



Leave a comment

Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

I’ve been looking at ice cream makers for months now. In the beginning I would look every day at the same website. I wanted one bad.

Then Chris visited Christchurch and we dawdled our way around The Homestore at Merivale Mall and I saw the ice cream maker. And it was very plastic-y looking. The coloured units were much worse.

Then I started to get email updates from the website I’d been looking on a daily basis. And they had the next model up on special. But still I didn’t get it.

But I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner for a Cuisinart Ice Cream maker, so I’ll have to find something else to drool over on a daily basis (I’ve got a list!).

In anticipation of getting an Ice Cream maker I’d been pinning a few recipes. I found one during the week for Rum & Raisin Ice Cream. I know it’s a favourite of Mums, and Mr Fussy is very keen on Whittaker’s Rum & Raisin chocolate so he must therefore be a fan of those flavour combinations in ice cream, right?


There’s two camps when it comes to making the base of an ice cream, and I chose the more fiddly custard ice cream. I’m not easily put off the perceived trickier road.

However having never made a custard base for an ice cream I had to hope the instructions, and more importantly, my interpretation of them, were correct.


I had my handy dandy thermometer to use to ensure the custard reached 170-175 deg F. But I never quite felt like I got the “coat the back of a spoon” visual. But I soldiered on.


I put the custard into the fridge and went out, and Mr Fussy and I bought a car. You know, something to help pass the time of day while you wait for your custard to get cold.


Now came the most anticipated moment. Getting to use the new Ice Cream maker. It said 25-35 minutes. I could be that patient. But at 45 minutes when there was no sign of a single icicle I decided my ice cream was doomed. And as I read the instruction book and found those words that basically forbid adding alcohol (until the last 5 minutes) I knew why it just wasn’t to be.

However I wasn’t prepared to toss it all down the drain without seeing if I could rescue the custard.

So having checked online and found nothing in my brief moments of searching I poured it into the mixing bowl and spent 15 minutes whipping it, and finally we had enough air whipped in there that I had hope it wasn’t completely doomed. And I know you’re all quite observant and noticed the photo at the top, you can see that it sort of came out OK.

I used this recipe on the Saveur website.


We weren’t out of the woods though. I knew I’d have to take a peek several hours later to see if it was going to freeze, or would I be left with a thickened cream. And if so, what would I use it with?

After 4 hours it was starting to show promise. I gave it a stir.

This morning I was hoping for great things. All the raisins had sunk, that didn’t surprise me but it wasn’t really hard enough. I gave it another stir, sort of folding it to get those drunken raisins to incorporate better.


And there they are, peeking through what ended up being a little bit icy. Despite having pat it all down to make it flat and even on top I suspect folding the almost ice cream put enough air between the folds that it iced a bit.

I’ve never had Rum & Raisin Ice Cream, though I’ve shared a few cakes of Whittaker’s Rum & Raisin chocolate before.

Mum said it was really nice and commented on the taste of rum and that the raisins were whole. Mum said usually the raisins have been chopped. I had some jumbo raisins in there.

Mr Fussy said there was a very distinct flavour of rum given he knew there was vanilla in there. Talking of which you can see those little vanilla beans in the melted ice cream.


So it’s back to the drawing board for me. I’m keen as to use the Ice Cream maker ASAP to prove that it was the alcohol and not a malfunction of the machine. I’ve discussed adding the top of the Christmas Cake (I need to slice a bit off to make it flat) but Mr Fussy screwed his nose up not understanding why you’d make Cookies and Cream ice cream, so why would you add bits of cake.

Something fruity then? Maybe I can pick up some cheap strawberries again.

If you’ve got a favourite recipe let me know. I’m happy to work my way through a list.

Leave a comment

Lemon and Ginger Ice Cream

I want to make ice cream so bad. Almost weekly I scour the interwebs checking to see if anyone local has Cuisinart Ice Cream makers for sale, and I really mean, on special.


My brother and sister-in-law make ice cream and very successfully. They use up any leftovers and have loads of fun making and eating ice cream.

Mostly I like the idea of knowing what’s in my food. Another reason I’m “pro” making my own bread.

But there’s no ice cream maker for me, not this month anyway.  I can blame a rather stupid mistake that resulted in an unexpected bill. That’s gobbled into my ice cream fund, but has not diminished my desire to make ice cream.

When I saw Annabel Langbein’s pin on Pintrest for Lemon and Ginger Ice Cream I knew that would fill the need, momentarily at least.

I wont go into the recipe since I didn’t change anything. Well I did, but it was one of those “oops, is that what the recipe said. Oh well”.

One of my famous blunders that, thankfully, didn’t result in a horrible mess and waste.

Let’s say that you can make this with Icing Sugar, you know, if you happen to mis-read the ingredients.

Oh, there was a very tiny change, I used Honey Greek Yoghurt. It was another one of those rare (cough) moments when I didn’t read properly. I was sure I had picked plain Greek yoghurt off the supermarket shelf.


Lemon and Ginger Ice Cream by Annabel Langbein.



I’ve decided that Mark will from now on have the title of “Mr Fussy”.

The first and lasting comment when he tasted the ice cream was how tart it was. It’s definitely got a big citrus hit.

How much of that is influenced by using icing sugar instead of castor sugar I don’t know.

We’ve just finished the last of the ice cream, and the Ginger Cake I’d made the same day. Because of the tartness of the ice cream, serving it with something, like the cake, helps to mellow the flavours. Though we are big citrus fans.

Here’s Mr Fussy about 40 years ago, and as he is today. Still tucking into ice cream. At least he’s no longer eating ice cream in his jammies. Actually, maybe it’s not pj’s, maybe that was the ‘fashion” back then for little boys. After all, how naughty it would be to eat ice cream for breakfast, or still be mooching around in your pj’s at lunch time.  Ok, so we all wish we could do that. Being a “grown up” can be dull.


Yes, I ask myself the same question, what happened to all that curly hair. Mr Fussy will tell you marriage has a lot to do with it Winking smile