31 May 2011

Røros Butter Caramel Ice Cream – Recipe

You wouldn't know it by looking out of the window these days, but summer is just around the corner in Oslo. So in anticipation of those long balmy days I thought I'd dust the cobwebs off my ice cream machine and fire it up for a metaphorical spin around the block. Plus there was also the non-trivial fact that it was a Sunday and we were clean out of ice cream, and in the Nibbler household we always, but always, have ice cream on a Sunday. It's practically the law.

The last time I used my ice cream machine, I made Norwegian brown cheese ice cream which turned out pretty well, even-if-I-say-so-myself-thank-you-very-much. I loved the addictive juxtaposition of the sweet and salty tastes that the brunost (brown cheese) gave. I wanted to make something else with a similar mix of flavours and happened upon this recipe (quite possibly the most blogged ice cream recipe around) for salted butter caramel ice cream from one of my favourite food writers, David Lebovitz. He proudly makes the claim that it is better than the glace caramel made at the legendary Berthillon ice cream shop in Paris. That's fighting talk there, sir!

The recipe itself is fairly straightforward, although making ice cream is always a bit time consuming. You need to chill the ice cream mix before churning, and although Lebovitz suggests cooling in the fridge for eight hours, I put the mixture in the freezer for an hour or so instead, stirring every now and then so it didn't start to freeze. Also this recipe does involve lots of boiling sugar, which always scares the bejesus out of me, especially when the youngest Nibbler girl (aged 1½ yrs) stops by the kitchen for an inquisitive look.

As always when using so few ingredients (essentially sugar, butter, eggs, salt and cream) it is extra important that you manage to use the best quality stuff you can find. A decent fleur de sel is a must as anything else might be too harsh. I also used some excellent organic salted butter from Røros Dairy, located in a former mining town in central Norway. It has a fantastically rich taste with a hint of sour cream about it and works pretty well in this dish (this was also the same butter that featured so heavily in this dish at Maaemo, one of the most heavenly desserts I've had).
Butter from Røros
Making caramel
Shards of salted caramel, ready to be crumbled into the churned ice cream
Making the caramel base for the ice cream mix
The final ice cream mix ready to be chilled and then churned
The finished product was certainly worth waiting for; sweet, buttery, creamy, and salty all in one go. It never ceases to amaze me just how much better homemade ice cream is compared to anything, and I mean anything you can buy in the shops. And this recipe is no exception to that rule; the dark caramel pieces gave little bursts of bittersweet goodness as well as a pleasing variation in texture. Mrs. Nibbler thought it was maybe too sweet for her (but not for me), so you could reduce the sugar content of the custard by 20% or so if you like.

You don't have to have an ice cream machine to make this either, and Lebovitz also has some handy hints how to make ice cream without one. You simply have to give this recipe a go; I can see why it's so insanely popular. As the sun eventually pokes its head from around the clouds, you'll be glad you've got a tub of this stored in the freezer.


  1. This looks just brilliant and also makes me realise I really need an icecream maker!

  2. Hi GC, it is dangerously good! You can make it without a machine, but having one obviously makes things easier. I wouldn't bother with the ones that freeze themselves - expensive and no better, in my opinion, than the cheaper machines you have to pre-freeze.

  3. Where is the recipe?

    1. The link to the recipe I used is in the article :-)