...(with fleur de sel), making a buttery caramel sauce...
EQUIPMENT: A heavy gauge metal pot works best for making caramel. I had success with my non-stick dark bottomed pot, but I finally invested in an All-Clad 2-quart Saucier Pan. I love it!
You'll also need an ice cream maker. A fine-mesh sieve is important for making ice cream (you'll soon see why). A silpat mat is perfect for pouring the hot caramel that will become the salted pralines.
My personal advice on making caramel:
- Read the directions a few times and rehearse the steps in your mind.
- Have everything ready, because once you start to work with hot sugar, you can't stop to measure or look for something.
- Use common sense, in working with hot sugar. It's sticky and is extremely hot! Tempting as it is, don't dip your finger into the caramel sauce to taste it. You'll end up with severe burns!
- Silicone based spatulas worked best in stirring the sauce.
- When adding butter, milk or any liquid-- it's going to bubble up! Don't panic. Long sleeves are a good idea, just in case there is splatter.
I'll have a printable recipe card, at the bottom of this post. Or, you can go directly to David Lebovitz's website, where he has posted the recipe for all the world to see (so, I'm not breaking any copyright infringement, for the record).
Singing Dog Vanilla. You'll need to separate the egg yolks (I never waste egg whites, and I have a recipe coming up for those). The yolks will give a beautiful texture to the ice cream custard-- and this is my favorite way to make ice cream. You'll need to set up an ice bath by filling a bowl with ice cubes and enough water to make the ice float. Pour one cup of whole milk into a the smaller bowl, and nestle it into the ice bath. Set a fine mesh strainer on top. Done!
Heat the sugar over moderate heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heatproof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center, stirring, until all the sugar is dissolved.
Set aside to harden and cool.
I was surprised just how easy this was to do. Amen. Set aside.
These are highly addicting, I warn you! The sweet and salty is such a great combo. But, there's more work to do. It's time to make the buttery caramel sauce. Again, we begin by melted sugar. I made a classic mistake that I want to share with you. See all those chunks of sugar?
This is where you start to work fast. Stir in the butter and salt, until the butter is melted, then gradually whisk in the cream, stirring as you go. However, the caramel just might harden and seize. Sure enough, mine did!
Simply return it to the heat and continue to stir over low heat until any hard caramel is melted. Stir in 1 cup of whole milk. Remember the egg yolks? Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and gradually pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, stirring constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the saucepan and cook the custard using a heatproof utensil, stirring constantly (scraping the bottom as you stir) until the mixture thickens. (If using an instant-read thermometer, it should read 160-170 F (71-77 C).)
Yes, I pilfered a few more bites!
So, here I have four cups of chilled ice cream base.
... and I admit, I was a bit worried that the ice cream was so thin!
I was so relieved to find that the ice cream had frozen to a solid texture. What a relief!
My caramel loving heart began to pick up a quicker beat...
Just look at the praline pieces that are starting to soften and become a bit gooey. Oh my!
I really wanted to set up some nice props and folded napkins all that photog stuff. But, you know what? The ice cream starts to melt very quickly, and I had waited long enough. I took my first taste...
TASTING NOTES: While I thought that the Lemon Curd ice cream I created was a masterpiece-- I immediately exclaimed this ice cream to be the Holy Grail! I'm serious. The ice cream texture was over-the-top creamy. The caramel flavor was buttery, and just the right amount of sweet. Then, you get a surprise crunch of the praline, and a small burst of salt. I bow down and give Mr. Lebovitz my gratitude for sharing this recipe on his website. It's "da bomb"! If I had a food truck, I think I would make a fortune selling this very ice cream flavor.
Yes, this recipe takes a bit of time and effort. But, it will blow away your friends and family when you serve this. I have to make more, because you see-- um, I've become very stingy with this ice cream. I've eked out eating very small portions of this. It's so freakin' good!
I know that this post is long, and loaded with lots of photos. I'm so glad that I have confidence in making caramel sauce. David Lebovitz has a great tutorial on his blog, by the way. It's here. If you want a printed recipe, it's at the bottom of this post.
Thanks for visiting my blog!