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Salted Caramel Ice Cream

When sugar caramelizes, its flavor becomes less sweet and more complex. Cook the sugar slowly and watch it carefully, as it can burn quickly. It’s well worth the attention, as this outrageously addictive ice cream proves. A sprinkle of salt gives it even more impact.

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) plus 2 Tbs. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) heavy cream
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 fl. oz./375 ml) whole milk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract

Directions:

In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the 3/4 cup (6 oz./185 g) sugar and the lemon juice with 2 Tbs. water. Cook, stirring constantly, until the sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes. Stop stirring and cook until the syrup is a deep amber, about 6 minutes, swirling the pan to ensure even cooking. Remove from the heat. Pour 3/4 cup (6 fl. oz./ 180 ml) of the cream into the hot syrup, taking care it does not splash. Stir until smooth. Cook over medium heat until bubbles form around the edge of the pan, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover.

In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, salt, the 2 Tbs. sugar and the remaining 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./ 60 ml) cream until smooth. Stir in the milk. Pour into the warm caramel. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, 4–6 minutes. Do not let the custard boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla.

Set the bowl in an ice bath and stir the custard occasionally until cool. Remove the custard from the ice bath and press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until well chilled, at least 3 hours or up to 24 hours.

Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Cover and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours or up to 3 days, before serving. Makes about 1 quart (1 l).

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Dessert of the Day, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2013).