Salted Caramel Ice-Cream

And my love story with caramel continues. I feel caramel is to this winter what basil meant to me this summer. Not that I’m over basil. I still crave Caprese sandwiches and salads even on cold winter days, when I should be craving warm soups. Either way, any new year’s resolutions about fitness can quickly go astray when there is either caramel or mozzarella involved. Anyway, with this ice cream, I actually inaugurated my brand new Cuisinart ice-cream, gelato and sorbet-maker, which I got as a Christmas present!

icmaker

Verdict: delicious ice-cream, cannot wait to try other delicious and novel flavors! (Though I do see a tiny glitch with this recipe. The ice-cream does not stay hard beyond a few minutes after being taken out of the freezer, and I’m wondering whether the sea salt is lowering the freezing point of this custard. Thoughts? Similar experiences?) Still, it’s barely worth complaining as I love that soft-serve like texture!

Recipe from Epicurious. Please read the full recipe before starting, as many hours of cooling the custard are required, and this is not kind of ice-cream you can whip up in just an hour or two.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon (with 3/4 teaspoon, the salt flavor is pretty pronounced, which I like. If you like a more subtle salt flavor, reduce it to 1/2 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • Equipment: an ice cream maker, instant-read thermometer

Directions

  1. Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.
  2. Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.

    Preparing the cream and caramel mixture

    Preparing the cream and caramel mixture

  3. Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.
  4. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl, then stir in cooled caramel.
  5. Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 5- 6 hours (though I actually left it overnight in the fridge to chill).
  6. Freeze custard in ice cream maker for around 25-30 minutes (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.

    Salted caramel ice-cream

    Salted caramel ice-cream

 

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Apple Tart with Salted Caramel Glaze

I’m watching beef ice-cream being made on Iron Chef America (Battle Ground Meat between Bobby Flay and Viet Pham) right now and I think I might be scarred for life. Before I get put off from desserts and ice-creams entirely, I decided to just post this quickly. Nothing spells warm and winter like apples and caramel. I know most people wouldn’t think that way when they’ve just made their new year’s resolutions and are on a healthy-eating streak. But this dessert can be easily cut into small squares, so portion control is really easy.

After this summer got over, and I realized that my neighborhood Italian grocery store stopped selling fresh dulce de leche gelato, I was constantly on the lookout for incorporating some form of caramel into my desserts. I made this for Christmas, but really, I can have it throughout the fall and winter.

atart5

Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

INGREDIENTS

Tart base

  • 14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted in fridge overnight
  • 3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small bits

Salted caramel glaze

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or half as much table salt)
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Ideally you would use a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan. A smaller pan will make a thicker tart (and you might need fewer apples). In a larger pan, you can still fit a 10×15-inch tart.
  2. Lightly flour your counter and lay out your pastry. Flour the top and gently roll it until it fits inside your baking sheet, and transfer it there.
  3. Peel the apples and cut them in half top-to-bottom. Remove the cores and stems. Slice the apples halves crosswise as thinly as you can with a knife. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, fan the apples around the tart in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles — each apple should overlap the one before so that only about 3/4-inch of the previous apple will be visible — until you reach the middle. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the first two tablespoons of sugar then dot with the first two tablespoons butter.

    Lay out the apple slices on the dought in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles

    Lay out the apple slices on the dought in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles

  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are brown and the edges of the apples begin to take on some color. If you sliced your apples by hand and they were on the thicker side, you might need a little more baking time to cook them through. The apples should feel soft, but dry to the touch. If you puffed pastry bubbles dramatically in any place during the baking time, simply poke it with a knife or skewer so that it deflates.
  5. Meanwhile, about 10 minutes into the baking time, make your glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your last 1/4 cup sugar; this will take about 5-10 minutes. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color, another minute or two. Off the heat, add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts and is incorporated. Add the heavy cream and return to the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until you have a lovely, bronzed caramel syrup, just another minute, two, tops. Set aside until needed. You may need to briefly rewarm it to thin the caramel before brushing it over the tart.

    Making the salted caramel glaze

    Making the salted caramel glaze

  6. After the tart has baked, transfer it to a cooling rack, but leave the oven on. Using very short, gentle strokes, and brushing in the direction that the apples fan to mess up their design as little as possible, brush the entire tart, including the exposed pastry, with the salted caramel glaze.

    With a pastry brush, put the salted caramel glaze on to the baked apples

    With a pastry brush, put the salted caramel glaze on to the baked apples

  7. Return the apple tart to the oven for approximately 10 more minutes, until the caramel glaze bubbles. Let tart cool complete before cutting into 12 squares. Serve plain, or if you’re in a decadent mood, with some ice-cream and leftover caramel glaze.

    Warm from the oven! Cup up into squares and serve with ice-cream!

    Warm from the oven! Cup up into squares and serve with ice-cream!