Thursday, November 3, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

The calendar said October 28th, but that's no reason to put away the ice cream maker. I knew there'd be no shortage of amazing autumnal appetizers and entrees at the Slow Food October Potluck, so I decided to make ice cream and pumpkin bread. A perfect combo and nice to go alongside my neighbor Marie's apple and pear crisp.

I like Ina Garten's recipes but they serve 5-6 and I needed at least 8 servings of the 2 flavors I wanted to make...Salted Caramel and Vanilla. You can't just "double" an ice cream recipe (at home, anyway!) because only so much base will fit in the ice cream maker. The mixture needs room to expand as it chills and churns.

I was not 100% in love with the texture of the Sweet Corn and Raspberry ice cream I made in Sept ("Jeni's Splendid" at-home recipe), which used cornstarch and cream cheese rather than eggs. It was very smooth, but a tad rubbery. My friends disagreed with my assessment, and raved over it. I'm curious to try "Jeni's Splendid" commercial brand, which just became available at a gourmet shop nearby. It's probably excellent...and I'll attempt it again at home. She's wildly successful for a reason! And I will always be a home cook, for a reason...experimenting on my family and friends.
I decided instead to go the old fashioned route, and make an egg custard base. I turned to Jacki Passmore's Ice Creams & Sorbets, published by HP Books in 1986.  I found a recipe for Caramel Ice Cream, and just added a bit of sea salt for Salted Caramel. Salty sweet is all the rage!

6 egg yolks (reserve the whites for an omelet, or to make merengues...)
1 cup sugar
2 cups whole milk
1 cup light (or heavy!) cream
Vanilla extract, to taste
(1 tsp sea salt)

Read through the recipe thoroughly and get all the ingredients, bowls and utensils ready. Timing is everything and you'll need to have your bowls and pans ready--for the ice bath, for scalding the milk, for making the caramel, the double boiler for beating the egg yolks and sugar. Ina's always watching, saying "What could be easier than that?"  ;-)

To make the custard: In a stainless steel bowl or the top of a double boiler, beat egg yolks and 1/3 cup sugar until thick and creamy. In a small saucepan, scald the milk. Pour milk carefully into the eggs...making sure to stir and temper the mixture, so the eggs don't scramble. Place bowl over simmering water. Stir slowly and continually for 10 minutes or until the custard slightly thickens.

To make the caramel: In a small saucepan, cook the remaining sugar (stir!) over low heat until it's golden brown. Remove from heat and slowly add the cream and vanilla extract until well mixed. Pour caramel into the custard, stir until the caramel is dissolved. (Add the sea salt here, if desired.)

Pour into ice cream maker. Freeze in the ice cream maker for about 30 mins or until it's the consistency of ice cream~~melty but creamy. Spread into a pyrex baking dish, cover with plastic wrap, and freeze for 2 hours to let the flavors and texture develop.

Here are some pix of the process:

Egg yolks and sugar, mixed.

Custard comes together in 10 minutes.

Sugar ready on a low flame, for caramel.

Sugar cooked down and ready for cream and vanilla!

Caramel poured into custard and mixed, then cooled over an ice bath.

Happy with this texture after 30 minutes in the ice cream maker.

Same method for the Vanilla...
I will refrain from licking the monitor now!

Put plastic wrap on top before freezing to set.

Serve over pumpkin bread, or pound cake, or with ginger cookies, or tuiles...or on it's own. Either way, it won't last long. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. Will you make us some when I visit this week? ;-)