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06 May 2009

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

It was a chance line in Nick Lander's FT interview with Jesus Adorno, the director of London's Le Caprice restaurant and mastermind of its celebrated standards of service, that got me thinking about caramel, and salt.
Mr Lander writes of asking for just a scoop of the restaurant's salted caramel ice cream, and eventually receiving it. Now when I think of salt and caramel, I immediately think of Eve St. Leger of Eve's Chocolates in Cork. Ms St Leger makes Corkies, the most sublimely decadent mix of chocolate, nuts and caramel that you can eat. Eve came across salted caremel when studying in the USA, but salted caramel goes back even further than its current fashionable status in that country, for Olivier Roellinger, the celebrated French chef from Brittany, used salt and caramel together many years back, an echo of the salted cheeses of his youth.
Here is a recipe, should you wish to make your own version of the ice that, I have a suspicion, will soon be everywhere.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream

3/4 cup plus ½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
2 cups cream, preferably organic
2 cups whole milk
10 egg yolks
½ teaspoon fleur de sel, plus more for serving.

1. Place 3/4 cup sugar and the corn syrup in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Do not stir. Cook over medium-high heat to a dark caramel, swirling as it begins to brown to distribute the sugar. Deglaze with the cream; then slowly add the milk. The caramel will harden. Bring to a boil, then simmer, stirring, just until the caramel has dissolved.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar, yolks and fleur de sel. Whisk a little caramel cream into the egg mixture to temper, pour the egg mixture into the remaining caramel cream and mix. Strain the mixture through a fine-meshed sieve. Cool completely, preferably overnight, then freeze in an ice-cream maker.

3. Serve with the warm cakes and sprinkle both with fleur de sel. Makes about 1 quart.

Adapted from Nicole Kaplan at Eleven Madison Park, New York.