Friday, June 29, 2012

Salted Caramel Pecan Ice Cream

When we were in Paris 4 years ago I had the most amazing caramel I've ever had in my life, it was buttery, sweet and had fleur de sel in it, which gave it a little bit of saltiness, it was indecently awesome. I bought a jar and brought it back I admit I did cry a little when it was gone. I tried to look on line at the company`s website to see if they would ship it to me, it was that good. I would have paid for the overseas shipping, no questions asked. So, when I first saw this recipe I knew I had to try it. The original recipe does not call for pecans, but I think they are the perfect touch. You can leave them out if you would like. This recipe would be heavenly over a warm brownie.
This ice cream is incredibly smooth and delicious, but highly annoying to make.
 Here are my tips:
Use the biggest saucepan you have for melting the sugar. I used a 10-inch pan and it took a really long time to melt -- forty five minutes! Forty-five minutes of stirring and swirling got really old -- really fast.
Really wait until the sugar is turning liquid before starting to swirl. I jumped the gun a little bit and ended up with big sugar chunks I had to break (read: chisel) apart.
My caramel seized when I added the cream, I'd even heated it up to try to avoid this, but my efforts did not work. But if you keep stirring it will eventually start to turn liquid. I did, however, have to fish out about 3/4 c. of melted sugar that would not incorporate into the cream.
My ice cream was a little too salty. I didn't have any flaky sea salt, just regular sea salt. I'm not sure if having the flaky variety would have made it less salty. (I do like salt, but it just seemed a little off.) The next time I make this I'll try adding a little less sea salt.

For the Caramel:
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. flaky sea salt

For the Ice Cream Base:
1 c. whole milk
4 large egg yolks
3/4 c. sugar
2 c. heavy cream

1 Tbsp. vanilla extract

1/2 c. chopped pecans, toasted

For the Caramel:
Heat the sugar in a dry, heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat.  Stir with a fork to heat the sugar evenly.  Once it starts to melt, stop stirring and start swirl the pan to melt the sugar until it reaches a dark amber color. 
Carefully (it will splatter) add the heavy cream; cook, stirring until the sugar has fully incorproated.  Transfer to a heat proof bowl and stir in the sea salt.

For the Ice Cream Base:
Heat the milk in a medium sauce pan over medium-low heat.  Prepace an ice bath by setting a 2-quart bowl over a larger bowl partially filled with ice water.  Set a strainer over the smaller bowl; set aside.
In a seperate bowl, whisk the eggs yolks and sugar until they are pale yellow and the sugar is dissolved.  Very slowly pour the heated milk into the egg mixture whisking constantly to avoid cooking the eggs.  Pour back into the orginal pan.  Cook for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly, until the custard coats the back of a wooden spoon.
Strain the custard into the top bowl of the ice bath to stop the cooking process.  Add the heavy cream and stir over the ice until cool.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate thoroughly (preferably over night).

Follow your ice cream maker's instructions on chilling the freezer bowl.  Pour the ice cream base, vanilla, and caramel into your chilled bowl and freeze according to directions.  When ice cream is about 5 minutes from frozen, add the pecans until well incorporated.

No comments: