At long last I present Salted Caramel Ice Cream produced by Yes!Chef! and myself! Ta Daa! Yes, it was a collaborative work. It got a little dicey a couple of times during the process, but the end result was great.
I started out by making the caramel. I got a little nervous when the sugar and butter seized up, but the recipe I followed said they had the same problem, so I maintained a calm, but whiny, composure. That may have had something to do with the sometimes tense atmosphere in the kitchen. But, when I poured in the cream, the caramel became all smooth and creamy, albeit a bit runny (IMHO) for caramel.
Yes!Chef! made the custard and it was smooth and creamy and not too sweet. It reminded me of the frozen custard that you find all over the place in Wisconsin. I lived in Wisconsin for about 3 years when I was in my 20’s and fell in love with the frozen delight. I remember asking a native Wisconsian (Wisconsinite?) if frozen custard was like our soft serve ice cream. The look that he gave me was not something I want to see again. At any rate, I haven’t found anything like it here in California except for this recipe, before we added the caramel.
My biggest surprise with this recipe was that the caramel never got very thick, so instead of being able to swirl in the caramel, it just kind of mixed altogether. That was okay (although it didn’t look very pretty) because it tasted swell! All custardy and carmely and a little salty. Everyone in the family loved it (even more than my homemade Funfetti cupcakes.)
For photography purposes (and the sanity of my family), I didn’t try to photograph the ice cream until the day after the birthday party. Ice cream is not very easy to photograph because it melts so fast and this ice cream melted even a little faster because the caramel kept it rather soft. My first attempt was to show the flavor by bringing in some of the elements.
I liked the way this came out but I wanted something different. So, the next day I tried again. Amazingly, the ice cream turned a little darker. So, now I was up against photographing brown ice cream (and brown food is never very attractive in photos.)
I got out some blue material and ribbons and napkins because I always like brown and blue together. My first couple of shots were not good. Oh, the styling was really pretty, but it was still a bowl of brown ice cream. Then, I added some colorful sprinkles and that seemed to do the trick.
I added the colorful lights in the background because it reminded me of the sprinkles.
Here’s the recipe from One Lovely Life
- For salted caramel:
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 3/4c sugar
- 1c cream
- 1tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla
- For ice cream:
- 2 1/2c cream
- 2/3c sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanillaInstructionsFor the salted caramel:
- Melt butter in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Stir in sugar and continue cooking over medium heat, stirring regularly until golden brown (it should be a little darker than peanut butter). Remove from heat.
- Stir in half of the cream (be careful–this can cause the caramel to bubble and sputter). Stir in the remaining cream, salt, and vanilla. Your caramel may have seized (mine did) and clumped up. Don’t panic, it’s still okay. If you have any lumps remaining, return pan to very low heat and stir until smooth. If there are any remaining small clumps, you can seive them out.
- You should have about 1 1/4c caramel. Refrigerate until ready to use.For the ice cream:
- In a large saucepan, combine cream and sugar. Heat to a simmer over medium heat.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and salt. Whisk about 1/2c of the cream mixture into the egg mixture to temper the eggs. Continue whisking, and pour in the remaining cream mixture in small increments.
- Pour the custard back into the large saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until thickened slightly. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until completely cooled.
- When custard is chilled, pour into an ice cream mixer and process according to manufacturer’s directions (for my Cuisinart, I churned the ice cream for 30 minutes). Pour ice cream into a freezer-safe container and pour salted caramel over all. Swirl caramel into the ice cream with a butter knife. Cover and freeze at least 3 hours, or until firm.
- Makes about 1 1/4 quarts.Salted Butter Caramel recipe adapted from David Lebovitz.