Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Caramel Ice Cream Nirvana

I have been on an inexplicable frozen dessert journey in recent months. Funny thing is I have pretty much given up eating sugar. With 2 kids at home though, it isn't realistic to expect my home to be sugar-free. Happily I am enjoying the process of creating sweet treats as much as ever. I do taste what I make, happy to see how everything is turning out, as any reasonable cook would. The other day I borrowed a couple of ice cream books from my local library. One, entitled Ice Cream with the tag line Delicious ice creams for all occasions by Pippa Cuthbert and Lindsay Cameron Wilson, caught my eye. I barely got a few pages into it when my attention was drawn to the simple recipe title, Caramel Ice Cream. The author tagged it "divine." Besides being ultra simple to make, it came out so beautifully caramel-ly and deliciously divine. It deserves every superlative I could come up with to heap upon it. I think ice cream nirvana is most appropriate. And whereas my resolve to be healthy and not consume sugar intentionally has been tested since I made that decision, this ice cream completely sabotaged me. I enjoyed several generous spoonfuls, every bite a smooth and delicious dream. I'm not sure I have the need for any other recipe.

Caramel Ice Cream
adapted from the book Ice Cream,
by Pippa Cuthbert and Lindsay Cameron Wilson
1 c granulated sugar (200 g)
6 Tbsp water
1 plump vanilla bean, split
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1 c. 2% milk
6 large egg yolks

In have saucepan combine sugar and water. Scrape the seeds from vanilla bean into sugar mix and add in vanilla pod. Cook over medium heat, washing down sides of pan, as needed until sugar is a dark amber color. Remove from heat and carefully pour in cream, being careful as it will tend to bubble up. Return mixture to heat and cook, stirring constantly, until caramel is completely dissolved. Stir in milk and and bring to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk eggs yolks. Temper egg yolk mixture with some of hot caramel cream, whisking constantly. Whisk yolk mixture back into hot cream mixture and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon. Strain into a bowl set in ice. Remove vanilla bean and put it into cream mixture. Cool completely, stirring occasionally, then chill, covered, over-night. Remove vanilla bean, stir ice cream base and churn in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions. Transfer mix to a freezer container and freeze.