A lady told me on the weekend that she could take this Ice cream to bed. Read in to that what you will but I am thinking it is for it’s comfort, it’s silky texture and the fact that if she snuck off quietly enough, she might not have to share it with anyone else. I hear you. I feel that way too.
Many have been enjoying this ice cream as a little bonus at the end of our classes of late. Never intended as part of the course material so no recipe to offer at the time but there has been much demand since and lots & lots of lovely emails. A great lady, named Joanne, came to one of our classes earlier this month. I got a very funny email from her on the weekend. Joanne’s email was completely dedicated to her first mouthful / taste of this Ice cream. I have even been informed by a few guests that they have since purchased an ice cream machine after experiencing the joys of this wonderful frozen custard. Hurrah! You will not look back if you buy an ice cream machine (except perhaps if you go through the stage, like I did, when my backside seemed to extend a little further than desirable). Nothing beats the texture of a freshly churned silky ice cream.
My flavour obsession lately might just be the queen of all ice creams. For some of our class guests lately, I have been making this salted caramel ice cream. It started with our Vietnamese class a month or so ago. In this class we don’t usually serve a typical dessert but late in the day, at the usual time that I have a yearning for sugar, I decided it was the perfect class to share this obsession with our guests / students. In case I have lost you and you are asking yourself what salted caramel Ice cream has to do with Vietnamese cookery, please stick with me. Due to the French colonization of Vietnam, which began in the 16th century and ended in the middle of the 20th century, the French have had a deep influence on Vietnamese cuisine. As a result, caramel dishes (mainly savoury) are often cooked and are a wonderful inclusion to a Vietnamese banquet. My other reason was all about restraint. If I knew I was preparing and then serving this Ice cream for dessert, it wouldnt be looked upon as a good thing to eat a litre of ice cream, on my own, pre class. No really, this salted caramel ice cream is too lethal to enjoy on ones own so yes, our customers have been enjoying the results of the afternoon churning activities of ‘Relish Mama’ as a little unexpected bonus.
They say that love and happiness is the key to a happy heart! I love this ice cream and man, does it make me happy! Please just make this and ignore the bathroom scales. It’s enevitable with Christmas coming so start early with the blowout this year. This ice cream is worth every pound!
Tip – For the caramel, you need to cook it far enough so it’s very-slightly burnt; otherwise it will just taste like a sugar syrup.
Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream
Recipe from David Lebovitz ‘The Perfect Scoop’
Makes approximately 1 litre
For the caramel praline (mix-in):
½ cup (100 gr) sugar
¾ teaspoon sea salt (do not use table salt. I used Murray River but you can use another good quality salt)
For the ice cream custard :
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk, divided
1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted butter
scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cups (250 ml) heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the caramel praline, spread the ½ cup (100 gr) of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, unlined heavy duty saucepan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or brush or spray it sparingly with unflavored oil.
Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved (or most of it—there may be some lumps, which will melt later).
Continue to cook stirring infrequently until the caramel starts smoking and begins to smell like it’s just about to burn. It won’t take long.
Without hesitation, sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon salt without stirring (don’t even pause to scratch your nose), then pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet and lift up the baking sheet immediately, tilting and swirling it almost vertically to encourage the caramel to form as thin a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.
To make the ice cream, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding a cup or so of water so they’re floating. Nest a smaller metal bowl (at least 2 quarts/liters) over the ice, pour 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk into the inner bowl, and rest a mesh strainer on top of it.
Spread 1½ cups (300 gr) sugar in the saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, until caramelized, as per method above.
Once caramelized, remove from heat and stir in the butter and salt, until butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go.
The caramel may harden and seize, but return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup (250 ml) of the milk.
Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F (71-77 C).
Pour the custard through the strainer into the milk set over the ice bath, add the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into very little bits. You could use a mortar and pestle or you could also use a rolling pin to belt around a little.
Once your caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.
Note: As the ice cream sits, the little bits of caramel may liquefy and get runny and gooey, which is what they’re intended to do.