Caramel Popcorn Sundaes

86 Popcorn ice cream sundae

Down to the nation’s capital for the Turner and Tate exhibition, and we needed somewhere to eat on Saturday night. It’s been a long time since I’ve visited Canberra, and while there are plenty of old favourites, I wanted something new.  Not expecting to get in, I called up for a booking at relative newcomer, 86 in Braddon.  Sure, the Weekend Australian ranked it in its top 50 hottest restaurants and it scored 14.5 in the  SMH 2014 good food guide , but let’s be honest: I was really there for this dessert.  A late booking for four? No problem! I still don’t know what good karmic deed I had done to make this possible, but I don’t really care; we had a restaurant booking for Saturday night, an art gallery crawl ahead, and a Caramel Popcorn Sundae in my future.

The place was packed, loud, and I’m not sure high-volume hip hop was exactly what my dining companions were after on such a Capital-C Cultural weekend. But the food was really pretty good, with an amazing delicious pumpkin tortellini the standout; while the much-lauded ghetto beef was good it didn’t actually have me on the floor writhing in ecstasy. But dessert did not disappoint. The creamy salty sweetness! The fluffy popcorn and crunchy peanut brittle! Caramel Sauce! I thought I might die from the gorgeous retro kitsch of it all.

I’d already planned to give it a bit of a go when I got back home, so imagine my excitement when I discovered the Caramel Popcorn Sundae was not only on the cover of this month’s Gourmet Traveller, the recipe was inside … oh happy day! Despite being an ice-cream-making virgin, I was determined to finally use the ice-cream attachment on my Kitchen Aid in the service of this, possibly my favourite dessert evah. I’m actually tempted to throw a dinner party soon, just to serve it up and spread the word.

One warning though: you need to start the recipe a day ahead – and you need to actually decide to do it two days ahead, unless you have a super schmick automatic ice cream maker that doesn’t need the churning bowl to be frozen for at least 15 hours before use.

86’s Caramel Popcorn Sundaes

Makes 8

  • Unknown-18 small waffle ice cream cones
  • Icing sugar, to serve

Buttered Popcorn Ice Cream

  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 40 grams popping corn80grams butter, melted
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) pouring cream – abt 35% fat
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 8 egg yolks

Caramel Sauce

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp liquid glucose
  • pinch cream of tartar
  • 30 grams of butter
  • 160ml pouring cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


  • 2 tsp grapeseed oil
  • 40 grams popping corn
  • sea salt

Peanut Brittle

  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup liquid glucose
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts
  • 5 grams butter
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

86 Interior 3 (Pic Melissa Adams)To make the Buttered Popcorn ice cream …

  1. Heat oil in a saucepan to medium-high heat, add one corn kernel – when it begins to spin, add the rest and cover with lid. Once popping begins, lift pan from flame and shake – this helps ensure you won’t burn the popcorn. Popping should cease in about 5 minutes.
  2. Drain popcorn on absorbent paper, place in a bowl and pout melted butter over; toss to combine.
  3. Bring milk and cream to simmer in a saucepan, then pour it over popcorn and refrigerate overnight to infuse the flavour.
  4. The next morning return to stovetop, bring to the simmer over medium heat and then strain, pressing the solids to extract the liquid. Discard the solids.
  5. Return to pot and add vanilla before bringing back to a simmer.
  6. Whisk sugar and egg yolks in a bowl until pale and thick.
  7. Add milk mixture in a steady stream, whisking until incorporated.
  8. Pour into (yet another!) saucepan and stir over medium heat until the mixture thickly coats the back of a wooden spoon. Go easy on the heat here – one thing you don’t want in this ice cream is scrambled egg yolks. The recipe says this should take about 6-7 minutes; I’m a scaredy cat so it takes me longer.
  9. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate until chilled.
  10. Churn in an ice cream maker and freeze until required (at least 3 hours as the ice cream needs to “bloom”, according to my Kitchen Aid instruction book …)

To make the Peanut Brittle …

  1. Combine sugar, glucose, and 60mls water in a saucepan over medium heat, shaking to dissolve the sugar.
  2. Increase heat to high and cook to 127°C on a sugar thermometer (about 4-5 mins).
  3. Add peanuts and cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches 148°C (6-8 mins).
  4. Remove from heat, then stir in butter, bicarb and vanilla.
  5. Carefully pour onto a lightly oiled baking tray and spread thinly with a metal spatula.
  6. Set aside to cool, then break into small pieces.
  7. Store in an airtight container until required (up to 2 weeks).

popcorn icecream sundayTo make Caramel Sauce …

  1. Stir sugar, glucose, cram of tartar and 60mls water in a saucepan over medium heat until sugar dissolves (3-4 mins).
  2. increase heat to high and cook, swirling pan occasionally and brushing down sides with a west pastry brush as required, until golden caramel in colour (5-6 mins).
  3. Remove from heat and add butter, then cream in a steady stream, stirring to combine.
  4. Add vanilla and 1 tsp salt; stir and set aside.

To make buttered popcorn …

  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan to medium-high heat, add corn and stir until it begins to pop.
  2. Cover and shake until popping stops (5-6 minute).
  3. Drain on absorbent paper, transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with sea salt.

To Serve … finally!

  1. Drizzle caramel sauce (you may need to reheat slightly if it has thickened too much) into the base of serving glasses
  2. Scatter with peanut brittle and popcorn.
  3. Top with two scoops of popcorn ice cream.
  4. Drizzle sparingly with more caramel sauce.
  5. Scatter peanut brittle crumbs over the top.
  6. Finish with a waffle cone and a dusting of icing sugar.
  7. Serve and enjoy!

Gus Armstrong and Sean Royal (Pic Melissa Adams)86 Owners Gus Armstrong and Sean Royal
Pic Credit (for this and other restaurant shot, above)
Melissa Adams.


~ by swalloworspit on September 14, 2013.

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