It’s ice cream season again at Tea with Mum! Kicking off this year is a delicious and simple ice cream that uses one of our favourite ingredients – tea – to give it a lovely earthy flavour. Introducing our rooibos ice cream with caramel tea swirl.
What is rooibos tea?
Rooibos (aspalathus linearis) is a native plant of South Africa. Rooibos is actually Afrikaans for red bush. The tea is known as rooibos, rooibosch, bush tea, red tea and reddish tea (especially in the UK).
The tea has been popular in Southern Africa for generations and is now found throughout the world. It is served in a similar way to black tea: with a little milk and sugar, or with lemon.
Rooibos tea has an earthy flavour, which makes it perfect for toning down the sweetness of the caramel in this rooibos ice cream and caramel tea swirl.
What makes this recipe simple?
This rooibos ice cream recipe has four main parts:
1. Making tea – strong tea.
The tea has to be cold before it can be used in this rooibos ice cream. It won’t matter then, if you forget it and leave it there for a few hours. Just don’t forget it while it is still on a hot stove!
2. The caramel
This recipe is really simple. Seriously. And you are going to love this caramel tea swirl, even on normal store-bought ice cream. It is so smooth and has a really lovely flavour.
However, if you are strapped for time – because life is like that – you can make something similar using a thick, good quality, store-bought caramel sauce and about a quarter of a cup of rooibos tea. Let a cup of tea steep for about 10 minutes then allow it to cool (in the fridge if you need to speed up the process – speed it up even more by only cooling the amount you need). Simply pour – or hopefully spoon – some of your caramel sauce into a bowl, add the tea and mix well to combine.
3. The ice cream
This part is so easy, our 4 year old did all the heavy lifting.
Put the ingredients in the blender and blend. Make sure your tea is cold. Use a can of sweetened condensed milk (don’t worry about measuring) and don’t bother measuring your cream either. It will not matter if you put a little more or less in the blender. Use whatever works to make it easy. I used 925mL because that was what was in my cream containers. Close enough is good enough.
A little tip: The easiest way to clean your blender is to add dishwashing detergent and about a cup of hot water to the blender and blend. Make sure the lid is on properly. Discard suds, rinse and you are done.
4. The freezing
This is a no-churn recipe. If you want to put it in your ice cream maker to speed up the process, be wary of how much you are putting in. This recipe makes more than most ice cream makers can handle.
This recipe is better without an ice cream maker! Pour the mix into a large flat baking pan or baking dish (the lids will be handy on this one), or into two dishes even. Make sure you give yourself enough space to add the caramel later without slopping it everywhere and making more mess to clean up (cause who needs that?). Cover with a lid or plastic wrap.
Place the container flat in your freezer – if your freezer is like ours, you might have to play a little freezer Tetris to get it to fit in. Take it out after an hour (approximate time), and give it a good stir. Return it to the freezer and repeat an hour or so later. When it has thickened – but not so much that you can’t stir it – add the caramel and swirl through.
A note on the ingredients for this rooibos ice cream
I actually used a caramel rooibos tea – from Twinings. It seems to be a common flavour to add to rooibos tea, not that I knew that when working out this recipe. Still, it makes it perfect to use here!
If you would like caramel rooibos ice cream and not just caramel swirl, replace the condensed milk with caramel cream. Sometimes, you can buy a caramel condensed milk. For UK readers, Nestlé Carnation makes some. In the US, it is marketed as Dulce de Leche. Bon Maman, known for its jams in Europe, also makes a caramel spread which works. I used a brand called Muh-Muhs. Basically, it is the caramel toffees that the company makes, in a glass to spread on bread. I really can’t stomach the thought of it on bread though.
Finally, we again have the issue of Germans and their cream. For anyone in Germany trying to make this recipe, I used 4 pots of normal cream (Schlagsahne) and one of Creme Double. Worked a treat!
Of course, you will need a second pot of Creme Double for the caramel tea swirl. If you can’t get Creme Double, try using organic cream instead (bio). The heavy cream tends to separate to the top and you can scoop it off to use it here.
What else can you make with rooibos tea?
Unless it’s something you regularly drink, you are unlikely to have a packet of rooibos tea lying around in your cupboard. So, once you’ve made your rooibos ice cream with caramel tea swirl, what can you do with the leftover rooibos tea?
- Make iced tea! Great with lemonade and raspberries or mango!
- Make a cocktail: The South African Rooibos Tea Council suggests you make it with rooibos tea, cranberry juice, vodka, limoncello. Yum!
- Try a rooibos tea cake
- Make our tea panna cottas, replacing the English breakfast tea with rooibos.
- I’ve also found a recipe for white chocolate and rooibos fudge that I am going to try – I’ll let you know how it turns out!
Rooibos ice cream with caramel tea swirl
For the ice cream
- 3 rooibos tea bags
- 1 ½ cups of water
- 1 can condensed milk
- 950 mL whipping cream
For the caramel
- 1 cup white sugar
- ¼ cup rooibos tea
- 6 tablespoons salted butter
- ½ cup heavy cream 35% fat
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the ice cream
- Bring the water to the boil and steep the teabags for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a strong brew. Allow the tea to cool for at least 10 minutes.
- Place 1 cup of the tea, the condensed milk and the whipping cream in a blender and whisk to combine. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick.
- Pour into a baking tin or other freezer-proof container and freeze for at least 2 hours. Remove after one hour and give the mixture a good stir. Return to the freezer. Remove again after another hour and stir again.
For the caramel
- Add white sugar and ¼ cup of the tea to a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved and melted and the mixture thickens. Mine was paler, frothy and syrupy. Be careful not to burn the sugar or yourself.
- Add the butter, stirring as you do. Be careful as the mixture will bubble rapidly and can burn. Continue to stir for about 2 minutes or until the butter has completely melted.
- Remove from the heat and add the double cream to the mix, stirring continuously. Once the mixture is smooth, return it to the stove and bring the mixture to the boil. Allow it to boil for 1 minute. Keep an eye on it and remove it from the heat and stir if it threatens to bubble over.
- Remove from the heat, add salt and stir well. Allow to cool down before using and tasting else you will burn your tongue!
- When the caramel has completely cooled, remove the ice cream from the freezer. Drizzle the caramel over the top and swirl through.
- Return to the freezer to freeze for a further hour before serving.
Simple, delicious rooibos ice cream with caramel tea swirl
Do you find some caramels are too sickeningly sweet? This rooibos ice cream with caramel tea swirl is perfect for you! The earthy taste of the rooibos tea add depth and prevents the ice cream and the caramel from becoming sickeningly sweet. Delicious caramel without the gag.
Best yet, this rooibos ice cream with caramel tea swirl is simple and definitely delicious. Four simple, quick steps are all it takes, and you have time in between while the tea or caramel are cooling or the ice is freezing to catch up on the rest of life. Then you just need to sit back and enjoy!
Have you tried rooibos tea? Do you like caramel ice cream? This is definitely the recipe for you!
Try some of our other ice cream recipes too!
Raspberry tea sorbet (Also uses tea!)