Dec 5, 2012

Caramelized Fruit with Brown Sugar Ice Cream

This dessert was the highlight of one of those great days, which I might even call perfect.
I woke up to a glorious morning, one with a clear blue sky, warm, sunny, a light breeze and most important, a dry day. Mid-morning I met my standing Sunday breakfast date, a friend who walks his dog and then meets me for some coffee and whole wheat croissants.
And being a Sunday there were no work-related issues to attend to, no phones ringing or things to check off a list, not that I'm a list maker but still. 

My kitchen was as tidy as it can be, given the fact that I'm a hoarder of all things food related, from ingredients to gadgets to appliances; and I'm not including cookbooks, magazines, recipes and blogs here because that is a post for another life. Well, it turns out they were pretty organized too.

I had already gone to the supermarket and it was overflowing with fresh cherries, pineapples, plums, peaches, apricots, which then were overflowing my fridge. I was even having a very good hair day.

Then I met another friend for a post lunch coffee and as I was heading home, walking since the weather was perfect, two close friends arranged to come over for dinner at my place. 
A gorgeous warm night, chatting with friends, a glass of wine and some good food was enough to end the day on a high note. And then I remembered I had the brown sugar ice cream in the freezer. Could the day be any better? I was even going to make them a killer dessert.

As bright as these past day and weeks were, my dessert repertoire has included a lot of brown lately. Could it be that brown is the holiday color? Or is it just that in the kitchen brown amounts to unbelievably deep flavor, the kind that makes you think you are on to something?

I started with a brown butter carrot muffin some months ago, not knowing that it, the brown, was going to creep silently behind me and I would be avidly tackling as many recipes with brown in the title as I could, bourbon brown butter pecan pie, brown sugar cheesecake, brown sugar loaf with ginger syrup, brown butter shortbread and now brown sugar ice cream.

And you know what, they are turning out to be crowd favorites. Guess I'm not the only one who's onto something. That happens when you´re late to the brown butter and sugar party. Glad I could make it.

I found this recipe in Bon Appetit, and my idea was to serve it with a peach cobbler. Today there was no time for that and I had so many fresh fruits I wanted to use them all. And I'm on a wok kick, so I used it to make dessert. Fruit in the wok. Caramelized in brown butter. With ice cream.

The ice cream has a very interesting caramel flavor with a molasses undertone, because what is brown sugar if not white sugar with molasses, right? So there is a slight bitter aftertaste in the middle of that sweetness. I guess it's the perfect base to add some spices and make gingerbread ice cream. 

So it seems there is work for the next weeks with the peach cobbler and gingerbread ice cream. And a chocolate bundt cake with a sour cream pecan swirl that got a lot of inquiries in this post. Better start hopping.

So the caramelized fruits with brown sugar ice cream, were the perfect end to a great meal and some well spent hours with dear friends. A perfect day in so many ways. 
Would we feel so grateful for these days if we didn't have crappy ones to compare them to? Don't know. But, if the universe sends me a couple of these every.single.week I wouldn't mind at all. 

ice cream barely adapted from Bon Appetit, august 1996

Makes 4 servings 

I decreased the sugar by ¼ cup and used just a tiny bit of vanilla. Since I was caramelizing the fruit I didn't wan´t the ice cream to be too sweet. And a very small amount of vanilla intensifies the flavor of the caramel without adding another flavor.


For the brown sugar ice cream:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups whipping cream
1 cup packed light brown sugar
6 large egg yolks
¼ teaspoon vanilla

For the caramelized fruit:

1 large peach
3 apricots
1 cup blueberries
3 Tbs butter
2 to 3 Tbs brown sugar

For the assembly:

8 scoops ice cream
Caramelized fruit divided into 4 parts


For the brown sugar ice cream:
Combine milk and cream in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile put brown sugar in a clean saucepan, larger than the one with the milk, and melt over medium heat. It will be grainy at first and will start to come together and deepen in color. Be careful not to burn it. When it's a deep brown, which will be a few minutes since it's already brown, remove from heat and add the milk mixture. It will bubble up furiously. Be careful. Use a wooden spoon with a long handle. Return to low heat and stir until the caramel is completely melted.
In a large bowl whisk egg yolks to mix. Very slowly add hot caramel mixture, just a bit at a time at first, so you don't curdle the eggs. Whisk constantly while adding the rest of the milk mixture and return to the same pan where you made the caramel.
Cook it over low heat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to thicken. Be careful not to let it boil.
Transfer to a clean bowl and let it cool to room tº. Cover and refrigerate until very cold.
Process in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

For the caramelized fruit:
Cut unpeeled peach into chunks. Do the same with the apricots and rinse the blueberries.
Heat the wok and add the butter. It will brown immediately. Add the fruit, sugar and cook, mixing a few times, until it starts to brown and has a bright sheen.

For the assembly:
Divide fruit between four bowls. Top each with one scoop of ice cream


  1. Oh Yum! I don't think I've ever tried brown sugar ice cream! The caramelized fruits sound like a perfect match. :)

  2. Graet and delicious idea, Paula !

  3. Oh Paula, I just love that you love brown sugar and much as I do. What a great ice cream!!! I am saving this recipe.

  4. Seriously, this could turn any bad day upside down - it looks AMAZING! I'm a huge brown sugar-anything fan, but I've never tried brown sugar ice cream. On my list!

  5. Wow - this sounds amazing! I think brown sugar or brown butter ANYthing would work for me. Don't you love perfect days? ~ David

  6. What a gorgeous festive dessert my friend :)

    Choc Chip Uru

  7. you had a fabulous day! that fruit looks amazing. it would be great to have it with a light crisp crumble topping, or even just some toasted flaked almonds.

  8. It's so hot here these days that I would be more than happy to have at least one spoon of this ice cream. Ok, 1 spoon wouldn't be enough, but still.. :D Sounds wonderful!

  9. This looks good! A touch of cinnamon might be a nice addition for the ice cream.

  10. Oh Paula, does this look good! Brown sugar ice cream…yummy!

  11. wow, love all those luscious fruits with your brown sugar ice cream-now I'm missing our summer;-)

  12. I love when a day is pure perfection! I have to admit I'm quite jealous of your beautiful stone fruit. I can't wait until it's summer again here. Too bad I have a long winter to go.

  13. Brown sugar ice cream sounds incredible!

  14. Oh, yum! This whole dessert sounds amazing.

  15. WOW...I love everything about this!!! I must make this when the weather warms up!

  16. Brown sugar ICE CREAM and caramelized fruit? You got me at brown sugar :D

  17. You could have stopped at the brown sugar ice cream and I would have been quite happy! But then you had to go and add the fruit! If I could find fresh fruit this time of year, I'd be making this in today. However, since I have no problems eating ice cream in the winter, the ice cream is still doable. You're friends were quite lucky!

    1. Thank you MJ! Nice to meet you here. This ice cream is really a wonderful find, goes with everything!

  18. I made burnt sugar ice cream not too long ago so I know how amazing it is! The fruit is a really nice addition.

  19. Alas! Ingredients not available in my locality yet I am very curious about mouth watering recipes.


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