Brown Butter Popcorn Icecream


For someone who has never really been a fan of icecream (in days gone by people, let me finish), I absolutely LOVE making it!  It was always easy for me to resist the tub of icecream in the freezer purchased by my icecream addict husband, because quite frankly, I didn’t think it was that good….not really worth the calories if you know what I mean.  Does that make me sound like an icecream snob?  Maybe, but the beauty of homemade icecream is that you haven’t got all that other stuff in it that the manufacturer’s add to preserve, emulsify, extend the shelf life etc etc - it is literally cream/milk, eggs, sugar and your flavourings.  IT TASTES REAL!  So when I discovered the joy that is the icecream machine, my opinion of icecream drastically changed.  

When it comes to icecream flavours, you are limited purely by your imagination, so do yourselves a favour and get an icecream machine if you haven’t already got one…….you can actually pick one up fairly cheaply these days.  

Inspiration for this recipe comes from 2 recipes which I've married together and then put my own spin on it.......the Brown Butter Icecream from Nick Haddow's book "Milk Made" (which actually comes from Simon Bajada's book "The New Nordic) and Yotam Ottolenghi & Ramael Scully's Popcorn Icecream recipe in their book, "Nopi".  Brown Butter and Popcorn totally belong together!

Begin this recipe 2 days ahead (don’t panic, you’re not going to spend 2 days making it, it just needs time to infuse the deliciousness of the popcorn into the custard and then freezing time of course).

Oh, and my apologies if I have fuelled your icecream addiction!


Mel xoxo


Brown Butter Popcorn Icecream 2.jpg



Brown Butter Popcorn Icecream

makes approx 1 litre





100g uncooked popcorn

30g unsalted butter

1 tbs olive oil


Custard Base

120g unsalted butter

600ml thick cream

250ml full cream milk

7 egg yolks

100g caster sugar

100g brown sugar

1 tsp sea salt flakes


Caramelised Popcorn

40g cooked popcorn (reserved from above quantity)

30g caster sugar

1 tsp liquid glucose

1/2 tsp salt flakes



2 days prior….


Begin by making the popcorn.  Heat the butter and olive oil in a medium sized heavy based saucepan (with a lid) over medium-high heat.  When the butter starts to bubble, add the popcorn and give the pan a shake to coat all the kernels.  Cover and cook for around 4-5 minutes, shaking the pan frequently.  Remove from the heat once the popping stops.  Tip the popcorn into a large bowl, reserving 40g for the caramelised popcorn.  

Custard Base

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a large saucepan, then immediately remove from the heat.  Pour the mixture over the large portion of popcorn and stir well.  Cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate overnight to infuse.

the next day….

Custard Base

Melt the butter in a medium sized heavy based saucepan over low-medium heat and cook for around 5 minutes.  You will find that the butter will come to a rapid boil and then it will suddenly stop boiling and begin to froth - this is when it is almost ready.  Give it a stir to check the colour and if it is amber/light brown, remove it from the heat (don't let it go dark or burn!).  Strain the butter through a fine mesh metal sieve to remove the solids.  Set aside until required

Remove the cream, milk and popcorn mixture from the fridge and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a large saucepan, squeezing all the flavour and liquid out of the popcorn before discarding the popcorn (my hens greatly appreciated this soggy popcorn!).   Heat the cream mixture over low-medium heat until it comes to a simmer and remove from the heat.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugars and salt until pale, thick and creamy.  Gradually add the brown butter and whisk until well combined.  

Slowly whisk the hot cream mixture into the egg yolk mixture then return it to the pan.  Cook over low-medium heat for around 5-6 minutes or until the mixture reaches 80C.  Strain the custard into a large bowl, place clingfilm directly over the surface of the custard and refrigerate until chilled.  If you want to get your icecream churning straight away, you can speed this process up by placing the bowl over a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and stirring until chilled.

Once chilled, churn the custard in an icecream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Transfer the icecream to an airtight container and freeze overnight, or for at least 4 hours.

Caramelised Popcorn

Line a baking tray with baking paper.  Place the sugar and glucose in a medium heavy based saucepan on medium-high heat.  Cook for around 5 minutes, gently shaking the pan from time to time but not stirring, until the sugar has melted and turned light amber in colour.  Lower the heat and carefully add the reserved popcorn and the salt.  Gently stir to coat evenly, remove from the heat and spread out onto the baking tray and set aside to cool.  Once cool, the popcorn can be stored in an airtight container until required.  Do not refrigerate otherwise the caramel will melt.

To serve, scoop the icecream into bowls or waffle cones and sprinkle with the caramelised popcorn.  

Mel Amos