Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Dessert Party - Salted Caramel Ice Cream

This is just one of a two-part post dedicated to all the amazing treats I got to taste this weekend! I think I'm still on a sugar high.

I've wanted to make salted caramel ice cream for the longest time and when the opportunity presented itself, I was beyond thrilled! Kristin and Kate so generously let me in on their dessert-making party where the homemade ice cream would be the star feature, alongside an insanely decadent molten chocolate cake (that's tomorrow's post!). Let me tell you, it was everything I expected - AND MORE. The ice cream alone was just perfect. Silky, creamy, rich... my, it's getting hot in here. ;) The flavor was beyond: the depth of caramelized sugar married perfectly with the occasional savory nod from the luxurious Maldon sea salt. Heaven.

Seriously, I am already looking forward to my next homemade ice cream project. We even got to sample Kristin's previous experiments with chai (AMAAAAAZING) and a bourbon-pecan (was it?) with a major kick.

Please, can we just look at the marvelous light in this kitchen? If I had lighting like this, I would cook at LEAST 3x more often than I do now - which I think is saying a lot! Check back tomorrow for more photos of the ice cream paired with the lava cake...

Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Courtesy of Gourmet (R.I.P.)

1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon (I think I'll up this next time)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs

Equipment: an ice cream maker

Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet (wok was perfect this task) over medium 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 (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.

Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of 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 coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.

Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours.

Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.

Cooks’ note: Ice cream keeps 1 week.


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