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Miso Caramel Ice Cream w/ Maple Sesame Swirl

Servings: 1 quart
The Mala Market
Author: Kathy Yuan | The Mala Market | Inspiration & Ingredients for Sichuan Cooking


Miso Caramel Ice Cream Base

  • cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • tablespoons miso white/yellow
  • 4 tablespoons cream cheese approx. 2 ounces
  • teaspoon fine sea salt
  • cup heavy cream
  • ¾ cup sugar

Maple Sesame Swirl

  • 1⅓ tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons Chinese sesame paste
  • teaspoon fine sea salt


PREP — night before

  • Make sure your ice cream churning canister is clean and in the freezer 24 hrs before you plan to churn your ice cream! I also freeze a flat storage container (more surface area = faster freezing and a longer runway for scooping!) so it chills the ice cream faster and helps keep it from melting while packing.
  • In a small bowl, add the cornstarch and mix in just enough of the milk (about 2 tablespoons) to dissolve it into a smooth slurry.
  • In a mixing bowl large enough to hold the entire cooked ice cream base to chill later, smash the miso with just enough of the milk (about 2 tablespoons) until smooth. The flat side of a heatproof silicone spatula is useful for this. Add cream cheese and salt and mix until smooth.
  • Combine the heavy cream and remaining milk. Heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave until warmed (not hot enough to burn your finger).

COOK — night before

  • In a heavy-bottom 2-3 quart saucepan over low-medium heat, dry caramelize the sugar in an even layer, letting it heat slowly without disturbing the pot. 
    When the sugar has melted at the edges and liquid gold begins seeping its way around the pan, gradually draw the melted sugar into the remaining sugar and watch as the pot melts down into sugary lumps. Keep gradually stirring until all the sugar has dissolved and the color changes from light brown to dark amber (like maple syrup). 
    At the point it darkens into a glossy maple brown, just before it burns and turns bitter, take the pot off the heat and slowly pour in a bit of the warmed milk down the side walls. It will splutter and foam on contact with the caramelized sugar, so watch yourself and don't pour in all the milk at once. Stirring while pouring helps dissipate the bubbling.
    If the sugar seizes because the milk was not warm enough, simply wait until the milk heats up again and it will eventually melt back into a uniform mixture. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then simmer for 4 minutes on low. 
    Give the cornstarch slurry a good mix and whisk it into the pot off the heat. Boil and simmer for 1 more minute, stirring well. Let the mixture cool off the heat for a couple minutes, then pour into the miso cream cheese mixture and whisk until smooth. Cover the bowl and chill to your ice cream maker's specifications.
    **For immediate churning, you can also pour the mixture into a gallon Ziplock bag and submerge the sealed bag in an ice bath until cold, about 30 minutes.

FREEZE — day of

  • When you're ready to churn the ice cream, remove your ice cream maker's frozen churning canister from the freezer. Assemble the machine and turn it on while empty. Then quickly pour the chilled ice cream base into the canister and spin until thick and creamy, usually about 22-25 minutes for me.
    During this time, mix together the maple syrup, sesame paste and salt in an easily pourable vessel. A double shot glass will suffice.
  • Remove the frozen storage container from the freezer and pack it with the churned ice cream, one layer at a time. Before/after each layer, drizzle a portion of the maple sesame paste. At the end, swirl a chopstick or knife through the mix to create an evenly distributed ripple effect throughout the ice cream.
    Press a sheet of parchment paper (or plastic wrap) directly against the surface and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours. Serve with any leftover drizzle.


Recipe technique adapted from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts by Jeni Britton Bauer, 2014.