24 June 2010

Recipe: Salted Caramel Ice Cream

This is based on the recipe at Epicurious.

Heat 1 c. sugar in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Stir continuously with a wooden spoon until it melts and gets to a dark brown

The dark brown stage is important - you want a good, strong caramel flavor because ice cream is cold, which dulls flavors.  Burn it?  Start over.  But be bold.  Much like roux, the trick is knowing the difference between something that's burning and something that's burnt.

Add 1 1/4 c. heavy cream a bit at a time, stirring continuously

Pour the cream in a little at a time.  It will bubble up BIG TIME.  Keep the heat to medium high, but take your time adding the cream.

Pour the sugar-cream mixture in a bowl and stir in 2 Tbsp. vanilla extract and 2 Tbsp. flaked sea salt

It doesn't have to be flaked sea salt, but flaked dissolves easier.  Make sure your bowl is on some sort of trivet or hot mitt (like in the photo).  Before you ask:  yes, this is a lot of salt.  Remember in the Food Lab: Milk post how I mentioned that this doesn't really freeze solid like you'd expect ice cream to do?  It's the salt content.  But the thing is, if you want salted caramel that actually tastes salty, you need to go there. 

In the meantime, make your custard.

Whisk 5 egg yolks in a heat-proof bowl and keep ready

What to do with all those egg whites?  Make Ramos Gin Fizzes, of course.

Bring 1 c. milk, 1 c. heavy cream, and 1/4 c. sugar to a boil in a small heavy saucepan.  Just when they reach a boil, remove from heat and add at least half the hot dairy mixture to the eggs, stirring continuously.

Why do you do this?  You're tempering the eggs.  If you just dump those yolks into the hot dairy mixture, they will scramble.  Which will be tasty, but not what you're after.

Pour the tempered egg/dairy mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 170 degrees F.  Do not boil.

OK, the reason the recipe says "do not boil" is that if you do, the egg yolks will scramble regardless of the tempering.  Actually, they might scramble anyway.  As long as you follow the next step carefully, it really won't matter either way.

Strain the custard through a very fine meshed sieve into a large bowl, then stir in the caramel.

If the custard scrambles, you're not screwed.  Just make sure that sieve is REALLY fine, and use a metal spoon to press the custard through.

Chill the custard overnight.  Process in an ice cream maker for at least an hour.  Transfer to an airtight container and store in the freezer.

Given the salt content, this ice cream is never going to get really firm.  It doesn't matter.  It's the bomb-diggity (at least if you like salty/sweet things).


Liam O'Malley said...

This sounds awesome.

Ever since I started writing about food (and consequently reading far more food blogs than ever before), I keep coming back to the fact that I desperately need to own an ice cream maker. Like big time.

I don't know if I'll make it through the Summer without one.

Anonymous said...

It is so delicious it's not even funny. Go get yourself an ice cream maker - you won't regret it.