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Guest Recipe: Tom's Vegan Caramel Ice Cream

Guest Recipe: Tom's Vegan Caramel Ice Cream

A lot of people taking those first tentative steps into following a plant-based diet find that it's the little sweet treats that they miss most – chief among them being ice cream.

All ice creams start life as a custard, yet custard relies on eggs and milk to make a rich and creamy base. Obviously vegan ice cream can contain neither and most dairy-free milk alternatives are naturally low in fat – something that is so vital to ensure a creamy frozen ice cream. Without this fat, the resulting ice cream would be watery and thin.

Help is at hand though…

Birds Custard Powder – that staple of many a family Sunday lunch pudding for generations - is surprisingly suitable for vegans! When combined with rich coconut milk and coconut cream, you'll discover a cheap and easy base for this Vegan Caramel Ice Cream Recipe.

  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes

Serves: 6-8

Category: Dessert,Vegan


  • 180g golden granulated sugar
  • 2 x 410ml cans full fat coconut milk
  • 150ml carton coconut cream
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt flakes
  • 50g Birds Custard Powder


  1. Measure the golden granulated sugar into a clean, dry pan. Place the pan over a medium-high heat and patiently watch without stirring. You want the dry sugar crystals to melt into a caramel – a process which can take up to 10 minutes. When the sugar begins to melt, you can gently swirl the pan to help melt all the sugar together, but avoid stirring until very near the end.
  2. While the sugar is melting, empty the two tins of coconut milk, the coconut cream, vanilla extract and salt flakes into a pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to a simmer while stirring frequently but do not allow to boil.
  3. When the caramel is almost ready, give the pan a stir with a wooden spoon to bring in any remaining sugar crystals. Keep cooking until the sugar mix has darkened slightly to the colour of a cup of tea without any milk. You want the caramel to give off a toasty smell without burning.
  4. Remove the caramel from the heat and carefully pour over the warmed coconut milk mixture. The caramel will fizzle up and set into shards so return the pan to a medium heat and stir until all the caramel and coconut milk is combined.
  5. In a small bowl, measure in the 50g Birds Custard Powder. Take some of the warm caramel milk liquid and stir into the custard powder to form a paste. Pour the paste into the pan of caramel milk and stir quickly to combine. Continue cooking on the heat for a further minute, stirring all the time until the liquid thickens to coat the back of the spoon.
  6. Pour the hot custard through a sieve into a clean jug. Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and wet it under a tap, wringing it out afterwards. Lay this damp paper directly on top of the custard to prevent a skin forming and allow the custard to cool to room temperature.
  7. Once cool, remove the greaseproof paper and pour the cold custard into an ice cream maker (if using) and churn according to the appliance instructions to make ice cream.
  8. Alternatively, pour the cold custard into 1.5l freezer container with a lid and place into the freezer for around 30-45 minutes. After this time, the custard should start to freeze around the edges so remove from the freezer and whisk with an electric beater. You want to prevent ice crystals forming to ensure a smooth, creamy ice cream and this whisking will help this. Repeat this step until the ice cream has fully set (approximately 4 hours) checking every 30-45 minutes and whisking some more each time.
  9. Remove the frozen ice cream from the freezer 15 minutes before serving to make it easier to scoop into dishes or wafer cones.

Tom Frizell-Shackley is a food writer, recipe developer and freelance PR consultant, based in the North of England. He lives with his partner, son, three spaniels and four rescued ex-battery chickens. Since 2019, he has published recipes and kitchen tips for his Kitchen Notes food blog.

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