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Portrait image of a glass of Ponche Frozen Custard next to a brown bottle of malta india on a purple surface,

Ponche Frozen Custard (Mantecado de Ponche)

This frozen dessert is a fun spin on the malta and egg beverage many of us drank as kids. Begin a day ahead for best results.
Course Dessert
Cuisine Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Keyword frozen custard, ice cream, malta, ponche
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
aging the custard 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 616kcal


  • ice cream maker
  • quart-size containers


  • 2 24 ounce bottles (710 milliliters) Malta India (or similar malt beverage)
  • 2 cups (500 milliliters) whole milk
  • 1 cup (250 milliliters) heavy cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Prepare the Malta Syrup (Up to 1 Week Ahead)

  • Pour the malta into a 3-quart saucepan.
    Bring the malta up to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat. Cook the malta for 40 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the water has mostly evaporated and the liquid has reduced by a little more than half.  
  • Remove the pot from the stove and allow it to cool completely at room temperature*.
    Once cool, store the malta syrup in the fridge until you're ready to use. The syrup can also be chilled quickly. Simply set the pot in a shallow pan of ice water to cool it faster.

Make the Ponche Custard Base

  • In a 3 or 4-quart pot, stir together the whole milk, heavy cream, and salt. Slowly bring the mixture to a steaming point over medium heat.
  • While you're waiting for the dairy to come up to steaming, in a mixing bowl, use a balloon whisk or an immersion blender to whip together the egg yolks and sugar for 2-3 minutes.
    By now, the dairy in the pot should be steaming. Turn off the stove, so you don't scorch the milk or feel pressured to rush the following step.
  • Set the bowl of egg yolks over a damp kitchen towel. This will keep the bowl in one spot while you temper the egg yolks.
    Scoop a ladleful of the hot milk mixture out of the pot and, while whisking constantly, drizzle the hot milk into the egg mixture to gradually heat the eggs and keeps them from curdling.
    Repeat this step with another ladle of hot milk. 
  • Next, pour the tempered egg mixture back into the pot of milk the same way; slowly drizzle the tempered eggs into the pot of milk, whisking constantly.
    When the tempered egg mixture is added to the pot, turn the stove to medium and slowly heat the custard base.
  • The base will develop a foam on top because of the sugar.
    Heat the custard slowly, frequently stirring to keep the custard from sticking to the sides and bottom of the pot. Use a rubber spatula to occasionally scrape the sides of the pot as well. 
  • Allow the custard to heat for 5-6 1/2 minutes. In this time, the foam will dissipate, and the final result will be a thick custard that should coat a rubber spatula or wooden spoon.
    If it doesn't thicken, continue cooking the base for another 3-4 minutes.

Cool, Age, then Churn the Custard

  • After the custard has thickened, allow it to cool completely to room temperature. This should take about 30 minutes.
    Once it's reached room temperature, whisk in the cold malta syrup. 
  • Transfer the mixed ponche custard base to a bowl, cover the bowl and refrigerate the custard overnight. 
  • Before pouring the base into the machine, give it a vigorous whisk or stir to combine everything together again. Once the mixture looks homogenous, pour it into your ice cream machine.
    If your ice cream maker has a gelato setting, use that setting to churn the custard. If it doesn't, churn the ponche custard base for 20-25 minutes, or until it resembles soft-serve ice cream.
  • Spoon the frozen custard from the ice cream maker and into reusable freezer tubs or a metal bread loaf pan.
    If you're using the tubs, press the lid on and flip the tub upside to down freeze. This eliminates excess air, which can alter the taste of the ponche frozen custard. If you're using the metal pan, press a sheet of wax paper onto the smoothed-out custard's surface.
  • Store the Ponche Frozen Custard for 2 months in the freezer.
    Enjoy as desired.


*To prepare the Malta Syrup ahead:

  • Reduce the malta to a syrup as instructed. 
  • Allow the syrup to cool completely. 
  • Pour the malta syrup into a mason jar (or a similar container with a tight-fitting lid) and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week. 
  • Use as instructed.

Troubleshooting, Tips, and Tricks:

  • If you got a little trigger-happy when adding the hot liquid, your eggs might curdle. Strain custard with small lumps (smaller than cottage cheese curds), through a fine-mesh sieve. If the custard has clumps of egg that look like scrambled eggs, then you need to dump it and start over again. 
  • This recipe makes just a smidge over 1 quart of frozen custard (or 8 servings). Spoon the small amount of leftover soft-serve custard it right into your mouth after you've filled your tubs.
  • Avoid storing any ice cream or frozen custard in glass containers. They can shatter or crack in the freezer or while you're scooping the ice cream. Since glass is clear, it's not easy to see shards of it, which is dangerous.
  • Homemade ice creams, frozen custards, and gelatos melt at a much faster rate than their commercial counterparts because they don't contain stabilizers. 

To Prepare Traditional Ponche (de Malta or Uva):

1 large egg yolk
1-2 tablespoons granulated sugar (or condensed milk)
7 ounces (207 milliliters) Malta India (or Welch's grape juice)
splash of vanilla extract (optional)
  1. In a small pitcher or bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar (or condensed milk) until foamy. Pour this into a tall glass filled with ice.
  2. Pour the malta (or grape juice) over the egg mixture and add the vanilla (if you're using it).
  3. Use a straw to combine the malta with the egg mix and enjoy cold. 


Calories: 616kcal | Carbohydrates: 100g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 186mg | Sodium: 277mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 82g | Vitamin A: 814IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 154mg | Iron: 2mg