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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

I felt a little like Goldilocks trying to make this ice cream. I tried several different recipes to get it "just right". I was trying to re-create the type of caramel ice cream I had while I was in San Francisco. There was the Salted Caramel from Bi-Rite and then the Burnt Caramel Ice Cream from Perbacco that was served with Pignoli cookies. They were both quite rich in texture. I wanted to create a salted and burnt caramel flavor. In the end it wasn't the flavor as much as the texture I really struggled to achieve. The first recipe I tried was way too soft. I think the caramel texture makes it difficult for the custard to set up. The second batch as you might have guessed was too hard. Neither batch was quite rich enough for my taste. When I stumbled across Thomas Keller's recipe for caramel ice cream in Ad Hoc at Home and saw that it had 10 egg yolks I figured it would at the very least it would be rich enough, and it was. This recipe was "just right" in texture and flavor. I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to making caramel, so mine could have afforded to be cooked just a bit longer to get a true burnt caramel flavor, but it very much tasted like the one I had from Bi-Rite and there is nothing wrong with that.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
adapted from ad hoc at home

1 3/4 cups granulated sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
2 cups whole milk, warm
2 cups heavy cream, warm
10 large egg yolks
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus additional to taste
coarse Hawaiian Sea Salt for sprinkling, optional

In a heavy, deep saucepan or dutch oven add 1 1/2 cups of sugar plus 2 tablespoons. Stir in the water to moisten the sugar. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Once sugar has melted let simmer without stirring for 15 minutes. Watch pot closely and remove from heat when desired color is achieved. Most prefere a nice amber color, I prefer my caramel on the slightly burnt side. Keep in mind the pot will remain hot even after removed from heat.
Remove pan from head and stir in milk and cream slowly, and carefully. Mixture will bubble up and steam, take caution not to burn yourself. If your caramel hardens, return to heat until dissolved.
Whisk egg yolks with remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar in a medium bowl until slightly thickened. Slowly, while whisking constantly add a small amount of the hot liquid to egg yolks, slowly add a little more until about one cup has been added in total, then whisk in the remaining liquid. Set a fine mesh strainer over a medium saucepan and strain the liquid into the pan.
Prepare an ice bath by adding ice and water to a large bowl, then set a medium size bowl on top.
Place the saucepan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly. MakeWi sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan often. Continue until the custard thickens to coat the spoon and steam rises from the surpace. Place a fine mesh strainer over the medium bowl and pour mixture through strainer and into bowl. Add 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, and let cool.
Refrigerate overnight.
Taste the custard. Add additional kosher salt to taste. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according the manufacturer's directions. Transfer to a storage container and freeze two hours to harden. Serve with a sprinkling of coarse Hawaiian Sea Salt and a Pignoli Cookie.


  1. You had me at Salted Caramel Ice Cream - but why the burnt?
    I might have to go get an icecream maker for this one.

  2. Oh you are totally killing me with those pictures of your ice cream. I love ice cream more than anything in this world and the idea of a salted caramel flavored one makes my mouth tingle with delight. I hope you'll come by and link it up to Sweets for a Saturday #6.

  3. Thanks for this recipe. Can't wait for some warm weather to use my ice cream freezer.

  4. Allison-It adds a little extra something to the flavor, a richer, nuttier taste. Some people don't care for it. I really enjoy a caramel bordering on burned.

    Lisa- Thanks. I did link up a recipe from earlier this week.

    Nellie- Did you know that Alaska is consumes the greatest amount of ice cream per capita. If we waiting until summer to start eating, we would never make our mark. Ice cream is great all year long, I say get that ice cream maker out now!


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