Thursday, August 12, 2010
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Let me share a true conversation between The Boy & The Nephew (soon to be 8 years old).
“Did it hurt when you got that tattoo?”
“Because they use a needle to put the ink in your arm.”
“Oh. Why would you do that when you can just go to the store & buy one from the machine, and peel it off, and take a rag and get it wet, and put it on your arm? And then just not take a bath.”
Hahahaha… Oh the mind of a 7-almost-8 year old. You know I guess a stick-on tattoo might sound less painful than a real tattoo. But it won’t be personal & meaningful, the way The Boy has his late mother’s name tattooed on him. And it won’t make a lasting impression if it only lasts until the next bath.
I guess just going to the grocery and purchasing some ice cream would be easier & less time-intensive than making your own. After all, first you make the caramel, then you let it cool to room temperature. Then you make the custard, and let it cool more than a few hours in the refrigerator, usually overnight. Then you churn the ice cream. And then, you let it firm up in the freezer for at least a few hours before you can eat it. But if all you did was pick some up from the grocery, I guarantee it won’t have the same incredibly rich, smooth, sweet, and salty flavor that this one has. Plus, when you make your own, you can adapt it to your very own tastes. If you want more salt (yes please!) do it; if you wanted to add bits of candy in the churning process, do it; a ripple of fudge, do it. No matter how you design your ice cream, it will definitely make you glad you made it yourself. In the same way one might prefer the customization & permance of a real tattoo vs a stick-on!
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet 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 a 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.
Ice cream keeps 1 week.