While much of the Northeast United States is being blanketed by snow from an historic October storm, here in Southern California, we are enjoying an absolutely gorgeous 75-degree day. The sun is shining and the skies are blue this afternoon, and it’s a perfect time to indulge in a scoop (or two) of some homemade Salted Caramel Ice Cream. This is one of my favorite ice cream flavors. Actually, it is quite possibly the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Period. It is so smooth and buttery, with a nice balance of sweet and salty flavors. Everyone who’s tasted this ice cream has raved about it, even those who aren’t ice cream fans. It’s that good!
I first discovered this delicious sweet and salty combination about six years ago in Paris, at cute little shop in the Marais district called France Ma Douce, which sold caramels au beurre sale avec fleur de sel de Guérande. It was the most exquisite, chewy little buttery morsels of golden caramel with just the perfect amount of sea salt. I can still conjure up the taste of those beautiful caramel candies to this day. Then, on our next trip a year later, we visited the famed Maison Berthillon on the Île Saint-Louis, considered by many to be the makers of the best ice cream in Paris. It was there that I had my first taste of Salted Caramel Ice Cream. In my opinion, this one comes close, if not surpasses, Berthilllon’s.
Salted Caramel Ice Cream
Adapted from a recipe by Shelly Kandulski in Sweet Scoops
Yields 1 quart
1⅓ cups sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1½ cups heavy cream
1½ cups milk
6 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
Prepare an ice bath by putting ice and water in a large bowl and nesting a smaller metal bowl (one that will hold at least 1 quart) inside it. Set a mesh strainer over the top. Set aside.
In a saucepan, melt sugar completely over medium-high heat, until clear, about 5 minutes. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, until sugar turns into a golden amber color, about 3 minutes. Stirring constantly, carefully add the butter, heavy cream, and milk. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring, until the mixture is completely melted and returns to a bare simmer, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a heatproof bowl, combine the egg yolks, vanilla, and salt. Whisk vigorously until the mixture lightens in color and doubles in volume.
Remove the cream mixture from the heat. Temper the egg mixture by slowly pouring about 1 cup of the warm cream into it, whisking constantly. Pour the resulting egg-cream mixture back into the saucepan, continuing to whisking constantly, and place over low heat. Using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture forms a custard thick enough to coat the back of the spoon, 1-2 minutes. Do not let the custard boil.
Pour the custard through a mesh strainer into the small bowl and set in the ice bath, stirring occasionally until cool. Remove the bowl from the ice bath and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until very cold, at least 4 hours or preferably, overnight.
Pour the cold custard into an ice cream maker and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Transfer the ice cream into a freezer-safe container and cover tightly.