• Wattleseed and vanilla ice-cream (Karen Sheldon Catering )Source: Karen Sheldon Catering

Acacia Victoriae wattle is a native Australian tree that produces a seed with an aroma similar to coffee or fortified wine that is most often used in sweet dishes. Here, it adds flavour to creamy ice-cream.






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To draw out the flavour, the small dark brown seeds are roasted then ground into a powder. Wild-harvested in Alice Springs, in the southern states they can be found at specialist stores that sell native Australian food products. This ice-cream is a wonderful accompaniment to pies and desserts, including Karen's bush apple bundles.


  • 2 tsp wattleseeds (must be Acacia Victoriae variety – see Note)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk 
  • 4 egg yolks 
  • 110 g (½ cup) caster cup sugar
  • 250 ml (1 cup) pouring cream 
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste or extract 

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling/freezing time: 4 hr

1. Place the wattleseeds in a dry frying pan and shake over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to make popping sounds. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool. Grind the cooled seeds in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder until they are the size of caster sugar granules.

2. Place the milk and ground wattleseed in a saucepan and bring just to a simmer over medium heat.

3. Meanwhile, place the egg yolks and sugar in a separate saucepan and whisk over low heat just until thick and pale, then remove from the heat. Whisking continuously, gradually add the hot milk to the egg mixture, then stir over low heat until it reaches 74˚C but do not let it boil. As soon as the custard reaches temperature, remove from the heat and pour through a fine sieve into a bowl to remove the crunchy parts of the wattle seeds. Place the bowl in a larger bowl of iced water and stand until cool, stirring occasionally.

4. Refrigerate the cooled custard until chilled to at least 18˚C. Stir in the cream and vanilla paste, then churn the custard in an ice-cream machine according to manufacturer’s instructions.



• There are several kinds of wattleseed available. Other varietals of wattleseed are more suited to savoury dishes.


Explore a Taste of the Territory with Jimmy Shu on SBS Food and On Demand.