This is some life changing frozen dairy we’re talking about here. To be honest I was sceptical about how much flavour you could get out of simple unadulterated popcorn but consider me flabbergasted. Feeding this to people without telling them what to expect has to be the most fun I’ve ever had with food. Your brain has trouble reconciling the flavour of popcorn with the texture of silky smooth ice-cream but once it gets there it’s heaven.
It’s tailor made for my sister, who has been know on occasion (frequently) to eat popcorn for dinner and has caramel running through her veins. She actually closed her eyes and did a little happy dance the first time she tasted it. It’s beautiful eaten out of the container standing in front of an open freezer but it really shines served in a crispy waffle cone. This would make a great dessert for a movie night with a twist.
When I first got my ice-cream machine I was obsessed with making egg yolk based Ice-cream which is luxurious and totally worth the effort but the cornstarch based ice-creams are just so ridiculously easy I’m churning out (pun intended) ice-cream almost daily. It’s also nice not to have spare egg whites piling up in my freezer.
Caramel Popcorn Ice-cream
Adapted from Cindy’s Dulce de Leche Popcorn Ice Cream with Almonds and Coconut over at Hungry Girl por Vida.
A note about Caramel Top ‘n’ Fill, it’s a tinned pre-made caramel that is widely available in Australia but I don’t know how popular it is in America or other countries. It’s basically Dulce de Leche in a tin. It tends to hold the shape of the tin but a quick whisk brings it to a nice spreadable consistency.
2 cups thickened cream
2 cups whole fat milk
8 cups popcorn
5 tsps cornstarch
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 tbsp corn syrup
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tin Top ‘n’ Fill (more if caramel is your thang)
The easiest way to make the popcorn is to put 1/4 cup of popcorn in a brown paper bag, fold the top of the bag a few times and for my microwave 2 mins on high was perfect. All together I used a whole cup of popcorn which turned into around 10 cups after I popped it, but who in their right mind would complain about having some extra popcorn to nibble on?
In a medium sized saucepan on medium heat combine the popcorn and cream, bring to a low boil, remove from heat and allow to steep with the lid on for 1 hour.
Sieve through a strainer, pressing with a spatula to extract as much cream as possible.
There should be around 1 cup of popcorn scented cream left. If there is less, top up with cream to bring it to 1 cup.
Mix 1/4 cup of the milk with the cornstarch to make a smooth slurry. Set aside for later.
In a medium saucepan mix together the popcorn cream, remainder of the milk, sugar, corn syrup and salt.
Bring the mixture to a low boil, remove from the heat to add the cornstarch slurry, return to the heat and on a low boil mix for 3-4 mins or until thickened.
Remove from the heat and pour into a bowl.
Chill and mix over an ice bath or cover with glad wrap, placing it directly onto the surface of the ice-cream mix to avoid it forming a skin.
Chill overnight to make sure it is as cold as possible.
Churn in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturers instructions.
In a 1 Litre capacity container alternate layers of ice-cream and caramel, beginning and ending with caramel.
Stash in the freezer for at least 4 hours to allow the ice-cream to firm up, leave it overnight to be safe.