Monday, June 22, 2009

Two words

Un-freaking believable! Or is that considered three words? Either way, the salted caramel ice cream turned out absolutely AMAZING. Smooth, rich, creamy, buttery, caramel-y goodness on a spoon. I shared a bowl with Troy last night, and I'm currently resisting the urge to go dig into it with a spoon right this second because once I start, I don't think I'll be able to stop. This is up there with Haagen Dazs Sticky Toffee Pudding ice cream, which is pretty much my all-time favorite (non-chocolate) ice cream.

I only have a few very minor critiques. I think making the salted caramel praline a day ahead is a mistake. By the time I went to break it up and mix it in with the ice cream, it had absorbed moisture from the air and it was sticky and hard to work with. I lost a fair amount to the aluminum foil that I'd covered the pan with. In retrospect, I probably should have sprayed the foil with oil and/or used parchment. So rather than smushing it up into confetti-like pieces with a rolling pin, I ended up breaking the caramel up as best as I could by hand, and chunking them in all willy-nilly. Next time, I'll make it while the ice cream base churns.

I'm also not super happy with how the salt did not distribute very evenly, so I had some pieces that had large chunks of sea salt and others that had none at all. I did use Sel Gris (French sea salt), but I'm wondering now if maybe I should have pulverized it so it was finer and dissovled more easily in the finished caramel.

I churned the ice cream base until it was slightly softer than soft-serve consistency. I've found that with my machine, that's about as firm as it ever gets and I did not want to overmix the base. Then I quickly poured the whole thing into a wide, shallow tupperware (I usually go for a deeper one, but it was the largest clean one I had on hand), and let it chill in the freezer some more.

When I served it about 4 hours later, it was still pretty soft, but had a very silky smooth texture (thank you, mesh strainer). I had expected the candy pieces to soften up into ribbons of gooey caramel (as mentioned in the recipe), but I'm not sure they had enough time to absorb moisture. Instead, they were more like crunchy shards. Not terrible, and in fact I sort of dug the texture it added, but it was not quite what I expected.

T loved the ice cream too and pronounced the flavor "very intense." I had mentioned the option of adding some espresso powder to the mix (as suggested by the author), but he thought that would be overkill. I think it'd be really good that way though. And I wouldn't mind adding nuts next time as well, just to add another layer of texture, especially if the caramel bits do end up going soft, as they're supposed to. This would be super killer on an apple pie or tart, and if I weren't trying to clear out my fridge in anticipation of going on vacation soon, I'd be baking one right now.

If you own an ice cream maker, you must make this.

1 comment:

  1. thank you for justifying my need to buy an ice cream maker! this looks heavenly!!