As I look out the window and see more than 6 inches of snow and know that the brunt of the storm is yet to come might seem more appropriate to post about something like hot chocolate. Or warm rice pudding. But I love ice cream in any weather. I’ve even been known to eat it walking down the street in NYC in freezing weather, gloves and all.
I have had my fair share of ice cream over the years. And I have to say, I think this may be the best ice cream flavor I have ever had. That is not a declaration I make lightly. The ice cream is not a sweet sticky caramel. Inspired by the genius David Lebovitz this ice cream has a deep intense caramel flavor, with a just hint of bitterness from the almost burnt sugar. The bits of melted salted caramel take it over the top. It is an ice cream that makes you keep opening the freezer door for just one more bite. When I asked my husband what I should say about this ice cream he said “It’s awesome! Do we have any more?” With all the ice cream flavors I have made this is the only one that got such an enthusiastic response and that says a lot. Because of the high sugar content this ice cream doesn’t freeze quite as hard as other flavors might which makes it perfectly scoopable right out of the freezer. I love the texture but if you want a slightly firmer less creamy ice cream you can reduce the oil a little bit.
Burnt Caramel Ice Cream
Makes 1 quart
For the caramel mix-in
½ cup (100 gr) sugar
¾ teaspoon good quality sea salt, such as fleur de sel
For the ice cream custard
3 cups almond milk, divided
1 cup soy milk powder
1/2 cup neutral flavored vegetable oil, such as canola
1½ cups (300 gr) sugar
4 tablespoons (60 gr) salted margarine
scant ½ teaspoon sea salt
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the caramel mix-in.
Spread the ½ cup (100 gr) of sugar in an even layer in a medium-sized, light colored heavy duty saucepan. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or spray it lightly with oil.
Place the pot over medium head and cook until the edges of the sugar begin to melt. Using a heatproof spatula or spoon gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center. Continue until all the sugar is dissolved. (A few remaining lumps are ok, they will melt) Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel just begins smoking. Immediately sprinkle in the ¾ teaspoon salt without stirring and pour the caramel onto the prepared baking sheet. Lift up the baking sheet immediately and tilt and swirl it almost vertically to get the caramel to form as thin a layer as possible. Set it aside.
To make the ice cream base
Make an ice bath by filling a large bowl about a third full with ice cubes and adding enough water that they are just floating. Pour 1 cup of almond milk into a medium bowl. Set the bowl over the ice bath and place a fine mesh strainer on top of it.
In a medium bowl whisk together the 1 cups almond milk, the soy milk powder and the oil. Set aside. Pour 1½ cups sugar in a light colored heavy saucepan in an even layer. Cook over moderate heat, until the edges of the sugar begin to melt. Using a heatproof spatula or spoon gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center. Continue until all the sugar is dissolved. (A few remaining lumps are ok, they will melt) Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the caramel just begins smoking. Immediately remove it from heat and stir in the margarine and salt. Once the margarine is melted gradually whisk in the almond milk mixture. The caramel may harden and clump. Place the pot over low heat and stir until the caramel is all melted. Stir in remaining cup of almond milk.
Whisk the yolks in a small bowl and slowly pour some of the warm caramel mixture over the yolks, whisking constantly. Scrape the warmed yolks back into the pan and cook the custard stirring constantly until it thickens. Make sure to stir all the way to the bottom and around the sides. When thickened the temperature should be between 160-170 F.
Pour the mixture through the strainer into the almond milk set over the ice bath. Stir in the vanilla, then stir frequently until the mixture is cooled down. Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
Freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, crumble the hardened caramel praline into very little pieces,
Once the caramel ice cream is churned, quickly stir in the crushed caramel, then chill in the freezer until firm.