Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Caramel Ice Cream

A another huge thanks to Audra at the Baker Chick for drawing my attention to yet another amazing recipe.  She makes no secret about her love of salty caramel concoctions.  My affair with salted caramel is a little more closeted.  But this recipe needs to have its praises sung.

The caramel ice cream is also my first attempt at the more decadent, thicker custard-style ice cream.  In addition to the richer consistency, the custard-style has the benefit of leaving me with several egg whites on hand.  A pavlova or meringue may be in the future.

adapted from Gourmet's and  David Lebovitz's recipes via the Baker Chick

yields about 5 cups

The Ingredients:
For Caramel Praline:
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon sea salt, such as fleur de sel

For the Ice Cream Base:
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 tsp flaky sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks

The Process:
for the caramel praline:
Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, lightly misted with cooking spray.  Set near at hand.

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, sprinkle the sugar in an even layer.  Heat the sugar over medium-high 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.  Continue to gently stir toward the center, until all of the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar becomes a deep amber color and begins to smoke, immediately remove from heat and sprinkle with salt.  Do not stir.  Pour the liquified sugar onto the prepared baking sheet.  Tilt and swirl the baking sheet to coax the liquid into a thin and (mostly) uniform layer.  Set aside to harden and cool. Once cool, peel the hardened candy off of the foil,  place  a large bag and crush into tiny bits by hand or with a rolling pin.

for the ice cream base
Distribute 1 cup sugar evenly over the bottom of a large heavy bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.

Add 1 1/4 cups cream (caramel violent bubble and steam, and will seize up).  Cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Stir.  And stir some more.  The lump of caramel will dissolve eventually. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, Add milk, remaining cream, and remaining sugar to a small, heavy saucepan.  Over medium high heat, bring the mixture just to a boil  stirring occasionally.

Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl.  Add half of the hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard thickens and coats back of spoon (do not let boil, you don't want scrambled eggs in your ice cream!). Pour custard through a fine sieve into a large bowl.  Add the cooled caramel and stir until well dissolved.

Chill custard for  3-6 hours or preferably overnight.   Freeze custard in ice cream maker according to manufacturers directions.  After 10-15 minutes, add the praline pieces. Continue to freeze as per your ice cream maker.  Transfer to an airtight container overnight to further freeze the custard.

The Review:
Izzy's ice cream has an incredible following here in the Twins Cities.  Their salty caramel is one of the hottest sellers...wonderfully and richly sweet with that divine burnt sugar taste.  Yet with a surprising burst of salt to off set the sweet sweet ice cream.

Sadly I have never tried Izzy's salted caramel.

If this homemade ice cream is any resemblance of Izzy's, no wonder the flavor is so popular!  It was so rich; one scoop a serving was more than enough to sate a sweet craving.  The praline bits added a wonderful bit of crunch.  Dulce de leche comes to mind.  It is pure bliss...

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