Let me start this recipe by saying that ice-cream is probably one of my favorite things in the world. I eat it all year round and I believe it’s the perfect dessert, snack and anything in between! Last year, after a long trip to Italy, I bought an ice-cream machine because I really wanted to make some ice-cream at home. This changed my life (well, I exaggerate, but it was certainly one of the best decisions I have ever made!). That being said, you do not need an ice-cream machine to make ice-cream, so if this is your case, I will teach you how to achieve the same result without said machine. I am not particularly fond of kitchen gadgets and machines, but they do come in handy sometimes, so if ice-cream is your thing too, you can get really cheap and good ones online (ask me in the comments below if you are interested and I can recommend you some). And also, if you have never made ice-cream before, let me tell you that this is a great recipe to start with, because you can use the base for most flavors you want!
Anyway, today’s recipe is for a beloved flavor: salted caramel. It’s rich, it’s creamy and it’s oh-so-delicious! A favorite amongst my friends, this recipe is always a popular request. The secret to making good ice-cream is balancing fat and sugar in your recipe, because you want it to freeze to a good consistency. If you are an ice-cream lover, you will want to make this recipe, trust me! (One last thing, because delicious sometimes comes with a little waiting time, you might want to make this recipe one day in advance, so that your base has time to cool down and get all the flavor!)
Cooking Time: 20-30 min | Cooling Time: 24h | Freezing time: 4-5h Serves: 1.5l
What you’ll need:
For the salted caramel
- 200g caster sugar
- 90ml water
- 300ml double cream
- 1 Tbsp sea salt flakes (I always use Maldon)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the ice-cream base
- 4 egg yolks
- 150g Caster sugar
- 500ml whole milk
- 300ml double cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of sea salt
This recipe has two parts: the first involves making the salted caramel and the second part guides you through making a custard that will serve as a base for your ice-cream.
- To make the caramel, add the sugar and the water to a saucepan, giving it a gentle mix. Put the saucepan over medium-low heat and let it do its thing. Don’t shake, stir or mix it or the sugar will crystalize and will give a sandy texture to your caramel. Wait until the mixture reaches a dark amber color. While you are waiting, add the vanilla extract to the double cream and keep it nearby.
- Now that the sugar as reached the desired color, turn the burner off and add a continuous thin string of double cream, stirring right away uninterruptedly. It will be very steamy and hot, so watch your eyes and hands. Stir, stir, stir until it’s nicely smooth and combined. At this stage, crunch the sea salt with your hands and drop it on the caramel. Give it another good mix so the salt is thoroughly dissolved. I strongly recommend you use sea salt flakes here, because of their flavor and sharpness (I also suggest Maldon sea salt flakes if you can, they’re very easy to find).
- Transfer this to a large heatproof bowl and let it cool down. See, easy peasy, right?
- Now let’s get started with the ice-cream base. Add the vanilla extract to the milk and mix both with the cream. Put them on a saucepan and warm them until it almost starts boiling – but do not let it boil.
- While the cream warms up, beat your eggs with the sugar until they’re pale and thick (you can do this manually).
- As soon as the milk and cream are warm, ladle a bit of this mixture to the eggs, stirring continuously. Do it one more time so you temper the eggs – and avoid scrambling them. Once the eggs are tempered, you can add them to the pan where the milk and cream were gently simmering.
- Now that the milk and cream are combined with the eggs and sugar, you will need to simmer this under low heat (again, to avoid scrambling your eggs), stirring it continuously in an eight-shaped motion. The mixture will thicken up and you can test it by removing the wooden spoon out of the liquid: it will be ready once it coats the back of the spoon (if you run your finger through the liquid on the back of the spoon, it will create a clear clean path).
- Sieve this custard into the heatproof bowl where your salted caramel has been. Give it a good stir and keep stirring until no more steam is coming out. At this stage, you can refrigerate it overnight. Cover with cling film but make sure it is actually touching the liquid, so you don’t get a weird skin on top of it the next morning.
- The next day, you are ready to turn and freeze. Sieve it again to ensure there are no lumps in the mixture. If you are in a big rush, you can just cool this down for a few hours, but I recommend you refrigerate overnight.
- If you don’t have an ice-cream machine, add the liquid to a freezable container and every half an hour or so, take it out and give it a good mix: this will prevent ice crystals from forming in your ice-cream. You will need to do this quite a few times, until your ice-cream reaches a consistency that makes it impossible to stir.
- If you have an ice-cream machine, use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions (every machine is different) and turn it for as long as necessary. Then freeze it for about 4-5 hours before serving.
- Serve with your favorite toppings (pecan nuts go amazingly with this, but be as creative as you’d like!)