The last time I bought a can of dulce de leche, I just used a couple of tablespoons, and then I poured the remainder into a jar, stuck it in the back of the freezer and kind of forgot about it. When I started cleaning out my freezer recently, I wondered what I could do with the dulce de leche. No-churn ice cream came to mind because it’s quick and simple, and I could use up all the dulce de leche! It had also been a few months since I made No-Churn Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream, so here was my excuse to try out a new flavour!
The basic recipe for no-churn ice cream is super easy and really only requires 2 ingredients, if you don’t want any additions – whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. I just replaced the latter with dulce de leche. Alcohol is optional, but I like to add a little to make the ice cream a tad bit softer and easier to scoop out. I’d recommend using vodka, which is the most neutral, in terms of taste. However, I actually used spiced rum, just because that was what I had, and honestly, it didn’t affect the taste.
Because I like a bit (actually, a lot!) of crunch in my ice cream, I also added crushed pecan nougatine (caramelized pecans). Since dulce de leche itself is also caramelized, this ice cream is essentially made of cooked sugar, which means rich, nutty flavours and nothing short of amazing!! I’m almost tempted to say this could possibly be the best no-churn ice cream I’ve ever made!
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DULCE DE LECHE ICE CREAM WITH PECAN NOUGATINE (makes 8-10 servings)
1 can (300 ml) dulce de leche
1-2 tablespoons vodka or rum
2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream
1. Prepare a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, or just place a piece of parchment paper on the work surface.
2. Make the pecan nougatine first by heating the sugar in a skillet or wide saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally until all the sugar dissolves and turns into a golden caramel colour (be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn). Remove from heat.
3. Add in the pecans and stir to coat with the caramel. Pour out onto the parchment paper and immediately spread it out into a single layer to cool.
4. Once cooled, use a rolling pin to crush the pecans into small pieces. Set aside.
5. Using a mixer with a whisk attachment, whip the whipping cream on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
6. Pour the dulce de leche into a medium bowl (Optional: you may reserve 2 tablespoons to drizzle onto the surface of the ice cream at the end). Add in the vodka or rum. Add in a little of the whipped cream and mix to lighten up the dulce de leche. Pour mixture into the bowl of whipped cream.
7. Add in the crushed pecan nougatine (Optional: you may reserve some to use as garnish). Using a spatula, gently fold the mixture just until incorporated. Do not overmix.
8. Pour into a 8.5″ x 4.5″ (21.5 x 11.5 cm) loaf pan.
9. If you reserved some of the dulce de leche, drizzle it over the surface, then use a knife to swirl it around. Garnish with any leftover pecan nougatine. Place a sheet of wax paper on top to prevent ice crystals from forming.
10. Freeze for at least 6 hours (or preferably overnight). The ice cream is best consumed within 1 to 2 weeks.