Thursday, May 2, 2013

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Salted caramel is one of the best inventions of all time. Whoever came up with the idea of sprinkling a bit of salt on caramel is a genius. Salted caramel macarons, salted caramel frappuccinos, salted caramels, period. I just can't get enough.

So when I was reading a blog and found a recipe for salted caramel ice cream, I stopped everything I was doing and saved the recipe right away.

This is by far the most involved ice cream recipe I've ever made, but it was definitely worth all the effort. Plus, I may or may not have licked off all the spoons, whisks, bowls and pans that came into contact with that luscious salted caramel. It helps with the cleaning process.


1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs

1. Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring to heat sugar evenly until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling until it is dark amber.
2. Add 1 1/4 cup cream (be warned, mixture will splatter) and cook, stirring, until all the caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
3. Bring milk, remaining cream and remaining sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.
4. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then temper with half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over low-medium heat, stirring constantly until custard coats the back of a spoon and registers 170F on an instant-read thermometer (do NOT let boil).
5. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.
6. Chill custard, stirring occasionally until very cold (3-6 hours). Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put it in freezer to firm up.

When I made this ice cream, I used a different recipe. However, I ran into a few hitches using that original recipe. For example, the sugar for my caramel didn't completely dissolve and some of it eventually hardened onto my pan while I made the caramel. Then, I was instructed to heat the custard base to 185F, which in my desperate troubleshooting after the custard curdled, I learned was a sure-fire way to curdle custard.

If I ever attempt making this ice cream again, I'll be using this (above) recipe instead - it's basically the same but uses whole eggs, 1 less cup of milk and tells me not to let the custard boil. I need good instructions like that.

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