Saturday 18 November 2017

Smack, crack and pop popcorn ice cream

Popcorn has always been one of the holy grails of ice cream because of its propensity to soften.

However, in the summer of 2011 we made a mix for fun and everybody devoured it in seconds. We christened it Smack, Crack and Pop.

Makes: 400g/14oz.

Preparation: One hour and 10 minutes.


250ml/8fl oz full-fat milk

125ml/4fl oz double cream

2 egg yolks

88g/3¼oz caster sugar

Large pinch of sea salt

75g/3oz Butterkist toffee popcorn, plus extra for decorating

1 handful mini butterscotch chips

20ml/¾fl oz Dulce de Leche caramel sauce, warmed (see below) For the Dulce de Leche caramel sauce 400g/14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Sea salt

Ground cinnamon (optional)


Pour the milk and cream into a large saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally, until the mixture begins to steam but not boil.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until pale and slightly fluffy.

Gradually and slowly, pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking continuously to prevent the eggs scrambling.

Return the mixture to the saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring frequently until the custard thinly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Do not allow to boil.

Add the popcorn, blend with a stick blender, then sieve the custard through a strainer.

Pour back into the bowl and set aside for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooled to room temperature.

For more rapid chilling, half-fill a sink with cold water and ice and place the bowl of mixture in it for 20 minutes. Never put the hot mixture straight into the fridge.

Once cooled, cover the mixture and refrigerate, ideally overnight, but at least for six hours, until thoroughly chilled (at least 4°C).

Pour the chilled mixture into an ice-cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.

When the churning is completed, fold a handful (or as many as you want) of the butterscotch chips into the ice cream.

Use a spoon or spatula to scrape it into a freezer-proof container with a lid.

Freeze until it reaches the correct scooping texture (at least two hours).

Drizzle each portion with a little warmed sauce (see above) and decorate with the extra popcorn before serving.

To make the sauce: Heat the oven to 200°C/Gas Mark 3. Pour the condensed milk into a small, shallow baking dish and add a little sea salt.

Place the dish within a larger dish and fill with enough boiled hot water to reach about halfway up the sides of the small dish.

Cover with foil and bake for one hour, until browned, checking occasionally and adding more water to the large dish if required.

Remove from the oven and allow the small dish to cool for five minutes before whisking the contents until smooth. Dust lightly with cinnamon (if using), then serve with ice cream.

The sauce will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator. To warm, put in a heatproof bowl and flash in a microwave for a few seconds on high, or warm in a bain-marie.

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