El Caballero sundae

El Caballero sundae

The Desserts of New York
Alicia Taylor

The only thing better than a New York ice cream is a sundae. As you’d imagine, they’re epic. Think Davey’s five-scoop, four-toppings banana split in a waffle cone boat, Morgenstern’s Japanese raw milk ice-cream toast dripping with honey, Big Gay’s soft serve Apple Gobbler, Quality Eats’ Birthday Cake complete with a candle, and much, much more.

Likewise, this sundae starts with elegant individual components – salted caramel ice cream, dulce de leche, whipped cream, hot churros and orange-flecked chocolate – that are layered, swirled, drizzled and stacked into a sundae-slashbonanza. I’ve dubbed it El Caballero, the Spanish cowboy, because no New York sundae is complete without a cool name. If you don’t have time to make your own you can substitute store-bought dulce de leche, churros or cinnamon doughnuts, and caramel or vanilla ice cream, and it’s just as good.


Quantity Ingredient
395g dulce de leche, see tip
600m thickened cream, whipped to stiff peaks with 2 tablespoons icing sugar
100g fine dark chocolate bar, such as Lindt Orange Intense, broken into squares

Salted caramel icecream

Quantity Ingredient
330g caster sugar
60g unsalted butter, chopped
250ml pouring cream
1/2 teasapoon fine salt
500ml milk
6 egg yolks


Quantity Ingredient
canola oil, to deep fry
25g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons caster sugar, plus extra to coat
1 pinch fine salt
125ml water
75g plain flour
1 egg


  1. Prepare an ice bath in the sink or in a large heatproof bowl.
  2. To make the ice cream, place the sugar in a saucepan over medium–high heat and cook, stirring often, until the sugar is completely melted. Cook, without stirring, until it turns a light-to-medium caramel colour (this will happen quickly, so watch closely; you don’t want a dark caramel flavour for this ice cream). Immediately reduce the heat to medium and stir in the butter (be careful as it will bubble up and spit), then continue stirring until the mixture is smooth and combined. Stirring constantly, gradually pour in the cream (be careful as it will bubble up and spit again), then stir until combined. Stir in the salt and milk.
  3. Whisk the egg yolks in a heatproof bowl until well combined. Whisking constantly, gradually add 125 ml of the milk mixture and whisk until well combined. Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture in the pan and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until the mixture reaches 75°C or is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  4. Transfer the pan to the ice bath and cool, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, then strain through a fine sieve into a container and refrigerate for 2 hours or until cold. Churn in an ice-cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, then transfer to a container and freeze for 3 hours or until frozen. Makes 1 litre.
  5. To make the churros, fill a deep fryer or saucepan one-third full of canola oil and heat over medium heat to 180°C. Place the butter, sugar, salt and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to the boil, stirring to melt the butter. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2–3 minutes or until the mixture comes together in a ball. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat for 2 minutes or until cool to the touch, then add the egg and beat until well combined. Transfer to a piping (icing) bag fitted with a 1.5 cm star nozzle.
  6. In batches of four or five, pipe 10 cm lengths of dough into the oil and cook, turning occasionally, for 3 minutes or until golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel. Pour some extra sugar into a shallow bowl, add the churros while still hot and toss well to coat. Repeat with the remaining dough and sugar to make about 15 churros.
  7. To assemble the sundaes, generously drizzle dulce de leche around the sides and over the base of serving glasses. Dollop a little whipped cream in the bottom, top with a scoop of ice cream, then drizzle with dulce de leche. Repeat this layering, finishing with whipped cream and dulce de leche. Place the churros down the sides, then top with a couple of squares of chocolate and serve immediately.


  • To make dulce de leche, remove the label from a tin of sweetened condensed milk, then place the unopened tin in a saucepan and cover completely with water. Cook over medium–high heat for 2 hours, topping up with water so the tin is completely covered at all times (or it may explode!). Cool completely, then open the tin to reveal the dulce de leche.
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