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blood orange granita and caramel custard ice cream

a very grown up creamsicle.

this granita is so tasty and so easy. the same recipe can also be used as the base for a sorbet or fantastic popsicles. but something about the crunchy, melty, juicy granita pairs exceptionally well with caramel custard ice cream.

maybe because everything pairs well with custard ice cream. if you're serious about making (and eating) delicious ice cream, you have to master the basics of making custard. yes, it's a way bigger pain in the buns. but the results are overwhelming- and after a few batches, you won't be able to go back to regular ice cream again.

the biggest procedure in making custard, is heating the milk and add it slowly to the eggs and sugar. this brings the eggs up to the temperature of the milk without scrambling.

it takes some coordination to use both hands at the same time, and splashing and general mess making can occur. using the kitchen aid mixer to whip up the eggs and sugar, and then adding the hot milk slowly while the machine is running works just the same.

the final step of pouring the custard through a sieve is just an extra insurance to catch any egg bits that scrambled, or milk skin floating around in there. the basic custard base can be flavored with anything at this point. but when you have delicious caramel on hand, the choice is easy. if this wasn't being served with the granita, i'd throw in a teaspoon of fleur de sel and get crazy.

blood orange granita and caramel custard ice cream

  • 3 cups blood orange juice (roughly 10 oranges)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pint of cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup good quality caramel sauce, melty


  • for the granita: add 1/2 cup sugar to a small saucepan and cover with just enough orange juice to wet all of it. turn on the heat to low and stir around the mixture until all the sugar has completely dissolved. take it off the heat, and let it cool down. add it back to the rest of the juice and stir to combine.
  • pour the juice into a 13x9 glass baking dish. stick in the freezer for about an hour and a half. pull it out and with a fork, gently scratch any crystals that have formed around the surface and sides of the dish. put it back in the freezer for another hour and half. repeat scratching and freezing until the entire mixture is a flaky, crumbly, crystalized, scoopable mass, about 4 or 5 scrapings should do it.
  • for the ice cream: add milk and cream to a large pot and bring to a scalding point (little bubbles will form around the edge of the pot and a noticeable steam will rise from the surface), but do not simmer or boil. stir every so often to prevent a skin forming on the surface. when it's hot enough, take it off the heat. while the milk is coming to temperature, add the 1/2 cup sugar and egg yolks to a large bowl. whisk them together until the sugar has dissolved, and the eggs are pale yellow and doubled in volume.
  • take a ladle full of hot milk and pour it into the egg mixture while whisking. go slow, so as to not scramble any eggs. keep adding the milk one ladle at a time until about 2/3 of it is in whisked into the eggs. pour the whole thing back into the pot and turn the heat on medium. while stirring continuously, cook until the custard is thick enough to coat a spoon- a finger drawn across the back of the spoon should leaves a noticeable path. it usually takes about 10 minutes.
  • when the custard is finished, pour it through a large sieve into a clean bowl. while it's still hot, add the vanilla extract and caramel. whisk to combine everything thoroughly. cover the bowl and chill in the refrigerator for at least 5 hours, but overnight is best. chill in ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

makes approximately 6 servings

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