Brown butter ice cream, rhubarb & pepitas

Brown butter ice cream, rhubarb & pepitas

The New Nordic
Simon Bajada

It is said that the Vikings taught the French how to make butter. I’ll say no more! Certainly, the interest in all forms of butter and the methods of its preparation are strong across all the Nordic countries. In the Basics chapter I mentioned the current popularity of serving whipped butter in restaurants and cafés. Also popular is the use of brown butter in cooking. Its sweet, nutty characteristics impart a unique flavour on food that is hard to replicate any other way. In this ice cream it provides a sweet umami flavour without the obvious sweetness that a caramel would provide. I don’t think I’ve ever tried an ice cream flavour that I don’t like, but this is definitely up there as one of my favourites. You will need a kitchen thermometer for this recipe.


Quantity Ingredient
3-4 rhubarb stalks, chopped into 2 cm cubes
75g caster sugar
100g pepitas

Brown butter ice cream

Quantity Ingredient
100g unsalted butter
500ml thick cream
250ml full-cream milk
6 large egg yolks
80g caster sugar
80g muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes


  1. First make the ice cream. Melt the butter in a saucepan set over a low–medium heat and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the butter turns a light amber colour. Be careful not to let it burn. Strain through a fine sieve into a small bowl.
  2. Bring the cream and milk to a simmer in a large pan, then remove from the heat.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks, both sugars and the salt in a large bowl until thick and well combined. Add the browned butter and whisk together.
  4. Gradually whisk the hot cream mixture into the brown butter mixture, then return to the pan. Stir the mixture over a low–medium heat for 5 minutes, or until a kitchen thermometer reaches 80°C. Strain the custard into a clean bowl and set this over a larger bowl of iced water. Stir until the custard is cold.
  5. Process the custard in an ice-cream machine, according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a suitable container and freeze for at least 4 hours.
  6. When ready to serve, toss the rhubarb in 1½ tablespoons of the sugar. Warm through in a saucepan, with the lid on, over a low heat for a few minutes, until the rhubarb collapses. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  7. Meanwhile, line a baking tray with baking paper. In a non-stick pan gently heat the remaining sugar until it begins to caramelise. Quickly stir in the pepitas, then pour on to the prepared baking tray and leave to cool and set.
  8. Spoon the ice cream into bowls, top with a dollop of the stewed rhubarb and break shards of the pepita brittle over the top.
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