I am not in a fall funk anymore, I have embraced the fall fruits to the fullest, and am getting excited by the endless possibilities. Last night I needed an ice cream to go with an apple tart Tatin I made for some friends who came over for dinner. At the risk of almost repeating myself, I decided to try another caramel ice cream, because caramel and apples were made for each other, don't you agree? This time I used a recipe I found in Emily Luchetti's A Passion for Ice Cream, and I want to share it as it is one of the best ice creams I have made (and it was a pleasure to hear how much my guests loved it too, especially Rahel). I have spoken about this super talented pastry chef before, her books are amazing and a constant font of inspiration and awesome recipes. This ice cream recipe is no different, just perfect. I only added some fresh ginger since the ice cream was the closing note on an Asian inspired dinner.
There are two ways to caramelize sugar, a "wet" method that uses water, and a "dry" method where the sugar is melted directly. I have had plenty of wet caramel batches crystallize before my eyes, so I now exclusively use the dry method for small batches of caramel. The recipe calls for the wet method. Whatever method you use, watch the pot and when the sugar starts turning color, lower to flame. The caramel has to be a medium/dark color to have plenty of flavor, but not too dark that tastes burnt.
Most ice cream recipes containing eggs call for heating the egg/cream mixture over the stove to custard consistency. This step is unnecessary if the cream mixture is bubbly hot when tempering the yolks, the temperature is high enough to custard the yolks. By doing it this way, you won't run the risk of overcooking the yolks.
Caramel Ice Cream
adapted from Emily Luchetti
7 large egg yolks
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
2 oz of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
In a heavy sauce pan, stir together the sugar and water and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook, without stirring, until the sugar is medium amber in color. Remove from the heat. Slowly pour 1/4 cup of cream until combined. Be careful as the cream will bubble up and splatter. Add the remaining cream, 1/4 cup at the time, whisking after each addition. Add the ginger pieces and cook on low until all the caramel has dissolved. Turn the heat off and let the ginger steep for an hour. Reheat the caramel to almost boiling, pour it into the yolks to slowly temper and custard them. The caramel base should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. To immediately cool the custard, add the cold milk and the salt. Strain the ice cream base and chill completely. Freeze according to your ice cream machine.