Helado de Cajeta / Cajeta Ice Cream

7 Sep

Guest blog by Raul Castanon

Cajeta is a a traditional Mexican confection of thickened syrup made by simmering milk and stirring frequently until it becomes very viscous due to evaporation of water, and caramelized. Goat milk is the most usual base in Mexico; it is also known as leche quemada or dulce de leche (Argentina) and can be used as a spread or filling for breads and pastries, such as churros and as a topping for ice cream.

Cajeta is my favorite ice cream flavor! I found this recipe on line and practiced a few variations until I found one that I liked. This variation has about 2/3 of the cajeta in the original recipe, which works better for me, not only calorie-wise, but flavor-wise as well.


  • The recipe uses a basic custard base, adding cajeta for flavor. You can find cajeta in the International food/Latin section of your supermarket, or you can substitute for regular caramel.
  • If you have a couple hours to spare, you can make your own cajeta simmering a can of sweetened condensed milk.
  • Using whole milk and heavy cream will give your ice cream a nice creamy texture. If you want to reduce fat, use 1 cup heavy cream with 3 cups skim milk, this should still give you a creamy texture. You can also use 3 cups rice, almond milk or soy milk (unsweetened, unflavored works best) but you will need at least one cup of heavy cream for a decent texture!

Preparation time: 1.5 hours

Chill time: 3 hours

Freeze time: 20 minutes in ice cream machine

Ingredients (yields approximately 2 liters)

2 cups whole milk

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8 egg yolks

1/3 cup brown sugar

½ cup Mexican cajeta (or substitute ½ cup caramel)

  1. In a heavy saucepan, combine milk and 1 cup of heavy cream with vanilla extract. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edges of the pan, stirring frequently.
  2. While cooking the milk mixture, combine egg yolks, sugar and remaining cream in a bowl, and whisk until smooth sugar dissolves.
  3. Soften the cajeta by heating in the microwave for about a minute. This will make it easier to incorporate into the custard.
  4. Whisking constantly, gradually add about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture. Pour slowly so as not to cook the egg mixture. Wisk until smooth, then pour egg mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. It is ready when it is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in the warmed cajeta, and whisk hard until smooth. To cool mixture, it helps if you keep a bowl in the freezer while you’re cooking and use it to transfer this mixture.
  6. Cover with plastic wrap directly touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until chilled, minimum 3 hours. For best results, chill in the refrigerator overnight.
  7. Pour the custard into ice cream maker and freeze. Transfer to a plastic container and freeze ice cream until firm, or overnight, before serving.


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