Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Sea Salted Caramel Ice Cream

It's definitely ice cream season, right? It's hot and sticky out and the best way to cool down is to enjoy some frozen treats. I always enjoy setting up the ice cream maker and churning out a few homemade flavors every summer. This year, the first flavor I made was a sea salted caramel ice cream.

Salted caramel has become really popular in the past few years. It totally makes sense because the balance between sweet and salty is so satisfying. Obviously there are perfectly good store bought salted caramel ice creams available, but I wanted to see if I could make a more flavorful version and to be frank, I just wanted to see if I could make this deliciousness myself.

And if I'm allowed to brag, I think I did a great job.
Ingredients [yields 2 pints]:
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon fleur de sel
1 cup + 1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
4 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

To start, you need to make a really delicious caramel. I think that a combination of regular white sugar and brown sugar is the best way to accomplish this. Brown sugar is just white sugar with a bit of molasses, which gives it a nuttier, warmer flavor.
Pop it onto a low heat and stir gently until the sugar melts.
Once the sugar has melted, drop in a good sized knob of butter and a good spoonful of salt and stir it all in. Then, pour in 1 cup of heavy cream.
At this point, the caramel will seize but that's all right, the cream will warm up and bubble and turn lovely and smooth, at which point, the caramel can be taken off the heat to cool a little. I decided to pop the scraped vanilla pod into the caramel just after I poured in the cream, just to coax out some more vanilla flavor, but this bit is optional.
While the caramel is coming together, whisk together the egg yolks, 1 cup of heavy cream, and the scraped vanilla caviar together.
To cool the caramel down even more, pour in one cup of milk and stir to combine and then use the warm caramel to temper the egg yolk mixture.
Pour the custard back into the saucepan and heat over a low flame, whisking continuously, until it's thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Pour the custard into a container, let it cool to room temperature, cover with cling film, and then pop in the fridge to chill completely.
Stir a little vanilla extract into the custard and then pour it into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions. Honestly, the unchurned custard on its own is fantastically delicious too. It would make an amazing caramel creme anglaise to drizzle over bread pudding or as the soaking custard for french toast or hear me out, as a sauce to drizzle over ice cream. I know, I know! Ice cream base as a sauce for ice cream; am I crazy? But seriously, snag a spoonful and you'll be nodding your head in agreement.
Scoop the ice cream into air tight containers and chill for a few hours before serving.
I used some leftover store bought gelato containers. I love the screw tops.
This ice cream is soft and velvety and creamy and delicious. There's a distinct buttery toffee flavor from the caramel and the sea salt adds a nice balance. All in all, it's just awesome. My sister took a bite and went wide-eyed from the astonishment that something could be so delicious.
Check out those vanilla bean specks!
Here's the recipe page:

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