This is the ultimate decadent grown-ups ice cream and I will readily admit, I love it. It has the best of both worlds, the lush smoothness of ice cream and the heady, intoxicating nature of fine dessert wine.

Sauternes is a region near Bordeaux in France that lends its name to this particular wine. It is made from semillon grapes that have been infected by the Botrytis cinerea fungus in late autumn. Botrytis is a fortuitous infection that creates tiny holes in the skin of the grapes and it is through these holes that pure water escapes. What is left behind is intense grapiness, the sugars and acids are still in balance, albeit at an insane level that provides an almost overwhelming experience in the glass. Just wait until you try it in ice cream.

Sauternes is now a forbidden word on wine labels that are not made in the Sauternes region of France, but similar styles are made in Germany, Australia, California, Hungary and other wine making regions around the world. What to look for are white dessert wines labeled "noble rot", "late harvest" or "Botrytis". Grapes varieties used can include semillon, riesling and even sauvignon blanc.

Anyone who has placed a bottle of vodka in the freezer and has been surprised that it has not frozen will understand that alcohol has an effect on freezing properties, as does sugar. Hence this ice cream recipe has much less sugar than normal. The dessert wine provides most of the sweetness and a divinely soft texture that needs to be tasted to be believed.

This recipe is based on a classical French dessert called Coup Andre. It differs from regular ice cream in that it is baked rather than cooked on a stovetop, like regular custard. It is also very forgiving for the novice cook, so if you own an ice cream churner, get to it.


  • 500 ml (2 cups) cream (35% butterfat)
  • 500 ml (2 cups) dessert wine (Sauternes style)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 100 gm (4 oz) caster sugar
  • 100 gm (4 oz) caster sugar, extra


In separate saucepans, heat the cream and dessert wine. In a large bowl, beat together the yolks and 100 gm of the sugar. Place the other 100 gm of sugar into a third saucepan with 2 Tbs of water. Place over high heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. As soon as the sugar has dissolved, stop stirring and let the syrup simmer. Select a shallow sided oven tray and have ready near the stove. Go back to the syrup and watch as it browns to a caramel. Just as it has reached a deep brown caramel, remove from the stove and pour into the tray. Be Careful! Toffee is extremely hot. Pick up the tray and swirl the still hot toffee to coat the entire base of the tray.

When the cream and dessert wine has come to the simmer, pour first the cream, then the wine onto the yolks and whisk immediately. Do not hesitate here as the heat of the liquid may set the yolks. Pour this mixture into the toffee lined tray and place in a 180°C (360°F) oven for 40 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool. Pour the whole lot into a cocktail blender and whizz until smooth. Churn in an ice cream machine using the instructions that came when you purchased it.

At work we serve this ice cream with coffee cream filled profiteroles, but it is so heavenly all you will need at home is a spoon and a few minutes to yourself, oh, and of course, a glass of dessert wine.

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