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Red Wine Ice Cream {Helado de Vino Tinto}

I have food issues. Let’s just keep it real, 100% and honest. I love to eat. And I have an evil sweet tooth that’s alive and well. It likes to settle at the most inopportune time. And sometimes even when it’s most wanted, it’s not a good time. I’m either on a slim-down track where I can’t come near empty calories, or while I’m traveling. Those are the most dangerous times. My mind gives my body full license to indulge in anything with the justification that I don’t eat like that while at home. It never fails. Especially when traveling involves visiting baker friends.

That’s how it went down last week in Cali’s Bay Area. My old and entirely too sweet of a friend, Christina, had all kinds of fancy treats waiting for me when I arrived at her quaint front door in San José. Truthfully,  I knew she’d boast endless hours of baking for a friend, but nothing like I laid my eyes on.

Eight carrot cake cupcakes, ten chocolate cookies and two solid pints of this glory, hallelujah awesomeness: red wine ice cream. Yea, exactly.

Chris first made this for me about 5 years ago while we were both living in Atlanta. She blogged about it on her site, Melecotte. But it’s been that long since I’ve had anything quite like it. The last time I was really able to go all in some her creations was when we collaborated and made the unforgettable truffle caramel ice cream together, but that was years ago, too. I was overdue.

This helado is the closest thing you’ll have to freezing a bottle of red wine and enjoy an icee. Sounds sacrilegious, right? Well, use a table wine, one that’s already open and used in your robust meat dishes. Please keep the really good bottles reserved for a sexy evening with friends far away from the ice cream machine.

Her lovely creation has a true and purposeful but sweet taste of red wine. The aroma, nutty (or bitter) notes of your wine is on the top layer. The cream makes it a seductive version of a tall glass on your most exhausting weeknight. It’s that good. That perfect. That awesome. My only problem is that I’m not humble enough to make it for myself. It’s that one thing I like receiving as a gift. Just because. Well, really it’s about my inability to exercise any kind of adult control if I had two pints in my freezer. It would simply melt away in my mouth in about two days. It did while visiting her. She left for work, making kids’ lives better, and I went to work in her kitchen… eating melty bits and photographing this creamy goodness.

I assure you it will melt away in no time when you make it.

Make friends like her! These are the ones I want in my life… they know and support your vices and then lend a couch full of therapy sessions while you loath yourself for being gluttonous.

Check out Christina‘s recipe below and visit her blog! And stay tuned for a new site she’s working on, full of whisk(ful) delectables, most key her wedding cakes. 


Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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RED WINE ICE CREAM Slighted adapted from Food and Wine


  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • pinch kosher salt
  • ¾ cup good quality red wine*


In a heatproof bowl, whisk together the egg yolks; set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisk together cream, milk and sugar. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar and vanilla, about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. (An instant read thermometer will read 170 F.)

Remove mixture from heat to temper the egg yolks. Pour about ½ cup of the hot milk mixture into the yolk mixture and whisk rapidly. Return the milk-egg mixture to the saucepan and whisk to combine. Cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until the custard base thickens and the instant read thermometer reaches 185 F; about 5 minutes. The custard will be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. (Run your finger along the back of the spoon.  If the streak remains without the running, the custard is ready.). Do not let the custard boil or it will curdle.

Remove the custard base from the heat. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a clean, glass bowl. Stir in the red wine. Chill ice cream base completely in an ice bath, stirring the occasionally; this should take about 1 hour. If possible, for maximum flavor, allow the ice cream base to refrigerate overnight before churning in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If not waiting overnight, churn after the first chilling phase.

Cover and store in the freezer until serving time.

*The original recipe called for a sweet red wine, such as Moscato Rosa, Sagrantino Passito or Recioto di Valpolicellaused. I have used Cabernet, which is closer to a full-bodied flavor profile than others, and supports fruity characteristics. This time, since I now live in Northern California, and have recently visited Sonoma Wineries, I used a 2012 Malbec from St. Francis Winery. The full-bodied, red wine’s “deep aromas of sandlewood, ripe plum and blueberry jam are matched with flavors of fresh blueberry, cardamom and clove with a touch of smoke.”

Note: When I added the wine to the custard, the mixture turned into a gray-ish, muddy-like color. First thing that same to mind was to add beet juice for color, but I didn’t have any.  So, I used a few drops of purple gel coloring.

55 thoughts on “Red Wine Ice Cream {Helado de Vino Tinto}

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