Salted butter caramel ice cream

The best thing about having a summer birthday?

Barbecue and ice cream.

The best thing about barbecue and ice cream?

Ice cream.

Salted butter caramel ice cream

So besides throwing down on barbecue chicken (pinoy-style, of course), my gift to myself was to actually take the time to make one of my favorite ice cream flavors: salted butter caramel. Back when I started making this, I used David Lebovitz’s excellent recipe (you can find the original here). But because I’m – let’s face it – lazy, I started making the caramel in the water/sugar method, the way I do for leche flan (and I have made dozens of leche flans), and dropping the caramel praline. I figure that if it takes less time, I’m more likely to make it. And if I’m more likely to make it, then more caramel ice cream for everybody. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get some on your birthday.

Lazy Kine Caramel Ice Cream
makes 1 quart / 1 liter

1-1/2 cups (300 g) fine granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup (100 g) salted butter
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) heavy cream
2 cups (500 ml) whole milk

  1. Place the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.
  2. Add the sugar to a medium saucepan and pour the water over it. With the heat on low, swirl the pan around until the sugar has nearly dissolved. Be careful not to let it boil — if it starts getting too hot, remove it from the burner for a few seconds, continuing to swirl.
  3. Once the sugar has mostly dissolved, raise the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover it immediately and leave on boil for 2 minutes.
  4. Uncover and continue swirling the mixture until it becomes dark amber. (Be careful — you want it to be dark, but it can go from dark to burning in seconds.) Take it off the heat immediately, and stir in the butter and salt. It’ll splatter, but just keep stirring it to keep it from splattering. The butter will eventually incorporate. Gradually whisk in the cream until fully incorporated. Stir in the milk.
  5. Whisking constantly, add about a third of the warm caramel mixture to the egg yolks (careful not to curdle the yolks). Place the yolk-caramel mixture back into the saucepan with the rest.
  6. Heat the custard over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens a bit and hits 170F (77C). Remove from heat and pour into a clean bowl through a strainer. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
  7. Churn in an ice cream maker as directed.

This is even better sprinkled with a wee bit of sea salt.