Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Appreciate Salt Now [Salted Caramel Ice Cream]

I heard about the salted caramel trend last year, but it didn't appeal to me until my sister insisted that it was the best thing ever after trying salted caramel ice cream from Bi-Rite. I asked her to describe why it was amazing, but all I got out of the conversation was her "mmmmms" and her om nom nom face. Yes, not helpful at all.

In typical youngest sister fashion, she pleaded and begged me to make her salted caramel ice cream. I ignored her for a bit (say couple of months...) and finally, I relented and made it for her (like a proper older sister). O.O. I have been deprived of a great combination of salty, sweet, and creamy that make my taste buds drool and cry from happiness. Each time I opened the freezer, I had to take a large spoonful of the creamy goodness. I'm pretty sure the electric bill increased that month.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
adapted from David Lebovitz

Makes 1 pint

Note: This recipe very much belongs to David. I halved the ingredients based on what I had in my refrigerator. Since I didn't want to use 3 eggs, I used 2 and added two extra tablespoons of heavy cream to compensate. I personally found the custard quite sweet and flavorful without the addition of caramel pralines so I left it out. I didn't have salted butter so I used unsalted and increased the amount of sea salt. 

1 cup whole milk, divided
3/4 cups (150g) sugar
2 TBSP (30g) unsalted butter
1/2 heaping tsp sea salt
1/2 cup + 2 TBSP heavy cream
2 large egg yolks
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Make an ice bath: fill a bowl a third full of water and add a cup of ice cubes. Place a smaller metal bowl inside, pour 1/2 cup of milk into metal bowl, and rest strainer on top.
  2. In a saucepan, evenly distribute sugar and cook over medium heat until caramelized. (David wrote a fantastic tutorial on making caramel if you need additional clarification.)
  3. Once the proper color is achieved, remove from heat and stir in butter and salt. Once butter is completely melted, gradually whisk in cream. If caramel hardens, return to heat and stir over low heat until the hard caramel bits are melted. Stir in 1/2 cup of milk.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk the yolks. Then gradually pour in some caramel mixture while whisking the yolks. Pour the warmed yolks back in the saucepan and cook the custard using a wooden spoon, stirring constantly. Cook until the custard thickens or until it reads 160 - 170°F (71-77°C).
  5. Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath. Add vanilla and stir until mixture cools down. Refrigerate overnight (or at least 8 hours).
  6. Freeze the mixture according to your ice cream maker.

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