Salted Caramel Ice Cream (#38)

29 11 2012

A couple more days until December!  Which means we should start (hopefully) getting a steady stream of Purdy’s chocolates from happy customers we’ve assisted over the year.  Very fortunately, my office is strategically located by the copy room, where all the treats are deposited.  And I must confess that when my nose sniffs out a box of Purdy’s, I make a beeline for the Himalayan Pink Salt Caramel.  Few stand a chance against me.

Sweet, sticky caramel punctuated with salt crystals makes for an exquisite combination, and it stands to reason that Salted Caramel Ice Cream be incorporated into the 52 Scoops repertoire.  This classic flavour is guaranteed to be a hit at your next dinner party.  I promise.

The trick to making a great Salted Caramel Ice Cream is the caramel itself.  Undercook it and the ice cream doesn’t have enough flavour.  Overcook it — this can happen in mere seconds — and it’ll taste burnt.  So, be sure to keep a very close eye on the caramel when it is cooking.  Also, when you pour the cream into the caramel, there is the possibility your caramel will separate (perhaps your cream has cooled down too much or you have not stirred vigourously enough).  If that happens, don’t worry — it can be rescued!  Warm the mixture over medium heat while whisking thoroughly, until the mixture comes together again as a smooth, luscious caramel sauce.

I used Maldon sea salt flakes in the caramel itself, but used Hawaiian alaea sea salt as a garnish for the ice cream.  Alaea sea salt contains a small amount of red alaea volcanic clay.  Its gorgeous pink colour makes it a perfect finishing salt.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream  (Makes about 1 L)

Salted Caramel:

3/4 cup white sugar
1 cup half-and-half cream
3/4 teaspoon Maldon sea salt flakes
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Ice Cream Base:

2 eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
2 cups half-and-half cream

For the Salted Caramel:

  1. Warm the cream until just gently steaming.  Take off the heat and set aside while undertaking step #2.
  2. Melt the sugar in a heavy sauce pan over medium heat.  Do not stir, but swirl occasionally.  Let the mixture turn a dark amber colour.  Watch carefully.
  3. As soon the sugar turns dark amber, add the still-warm cream.  The mixture will bubble and splatter.  Whisk thoroughly to combine.
  4. Stir in the salt and vanilla.
  5. Set aside and cool to room temperature.

For the Ice Cream:

  1. In a heavy saucepan, lightly whisk together the eggs and sugar.
  2. Add 1 1/2 cups of the half-and-half cream.
  3. Cook the mixture over medium-low heat stirring constantly, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon (170 degrees F / 77 degrees C).
  4. Remove from heat immediately and add the remaining half-and-half to stop the cooking.  Place the saucepan into an ice bath to cool the custard rapidly.
  5. Add 1/2 cup of the custard to the salted caramel.  Stir to combine.  Pour the lightened caramel mixture into the custard.  Stir to combine.
  6. Chill overnight in the fridge.
  7. Pour the custard into an ice cream maker and prepare according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
salted caramel ice cream

The Official Taster says: “Tastes a bit like Dulce De Leche. Yum!”


Pineapple Coconut Ice Cream Fail!!

17 07 2012

I was really hoping this would be recipe #18-D/E — the dairy-free and egg-free version of Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream #18.  But after two rounds in the test kitchen, I’m tossing in the apron.  This is recipe #18-FF for FAIL.  It went something like this:

Attempt #1: The first round started with caramelizing chopped pineapple as per instructions in the original recipe, then churning it into Week 17’s Toasted Coconut Ice Cream, minus the toasted coconut.  But for whatever reason, the two wouldn’t marry; the buttery caramelized pineapple chunks together with the coconut ice cream was far too rich a combination.

Attempt#2: I prepared another batch of caramelized pineapple.  This time, I pureed it, since the chunkiness of the fruit seemed to be an issue the first time around.  To lighten up the mouthfeel, I thought I would eliminate the eggs from the recipe and go Philly-style.  So, I had caramelized pineapple puree + coconut milk + rum + sugar.  Blend it, chill it, churn it, DONE.  Easy peasy right?  Well it was easy, but the texture and taste of the ice cream still wasn’t right.  The Official Taster even said to me: “This does NOT work.”

Pineapple and coconut should be an exquisite combination, but I am currently 0 for 2.  Readers, do you have any tips for making dairy-free and egg-free caramelized pineapple and coconut ice cream?  Should I thin down the base with some coconut water?  Use more fruit?  Use more sugar?  Other?

I welcome any of your suggestions — you can post a comment or tip below.  I’d love to hear from you!

Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream (#18)

11 07 2012
Dairy Queen pineapple sundae

My weakness!

I have a confession.  Even though I’ve committed to a year of ice cream making (over one-third of the way through!!!), I still, on occasion, like going to Dairy Queen.  Pineapple sundaes are a bit of a weakness for me.  I don’t care what crazy, unpronouceable ingredients go into them.  I am a sucker for sweet soft serve ice cream and tangy pineapple.  But when I mentioned the other day that I wanted a DQ pineapple sundae, the Official Taster raised an eyebrow and gave me a look.  While Tavis did oblige and let me indulge, I knew it was time to develop a 52 Scoops pineapple treat.

I used to think that pineapples were really finicky to peel and cut.  When Tavis and I were visiting the floating markets in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam last year, we marvelled at the ability of the pineapple vendors.  The vendors, mostly women, have perfected the art of peeling and spiral cutting a pineapple in just a minute or two. They are MACHINES, carving perfect little hand-held snacks for boatloads of happy travellers passing through the delta.

Floating market pineapple vendor

Pineapples, pineapples everywhere!

Woman cutting pineapple

Pineapple Lady expertly peeling a pineapple

Spiral cutting a pineapple

Spiral cutting out the eyes of the pineapple

Fresh pineapple


Here’s a link to a very helpful spiral cutting technique video on YouTube.  Once you practice a few times, you’ll get the hang of it and you’ll never need to buy canned or pre-cored/cut pineapple again!

For this ice cream recipe, I caramelized the pineapple in a little bit of butter and brown sugar.  Cooking the pineapple takes away the acidic bite on your tongue and results in a deeper, richer taste.  The addition of rum keeps the pineapple from freezing into solid chunks, while imparting another layer of flavour.  When the caramelized pineapple is churned into a simple vanilla base — absolutely exquisite!

Caramelized Pineapple Ice Cream (#18)  (Makes about 1.5 L)

Ice Cream:

2 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
3 cups half-and-half cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Caramelized Pineapple (makes about 2 cups):

3 cups of fresh pineapple tidbits (half to one pineapple, depending on size and your peeling abilities)
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tbsp rum (I used spiced rum)

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