Burnt sugar + salt… This is one of my absolute favourites, and these days no self-respecting ice-cream parlour can not offer their own version of salted caramel. The recipe here is based on the wonderful and inspiring San Franciscan Bi-Rite Creamery. The ice-cream is absolutely delicious on its own, but personally I like to add pieces of Almond Toffee because...
a) I love chunky bits in my ice-cream, b) I'm a total glutton, and
c) It makes it even more delightful.
So let's get going. For the ice-cream you'll need:
400ml (1¾ cups) cream*
200ml (¾ cup) milk*
120g (½ cup) or 180g (¾ cup) sugar (if you add almond toffee go for lower amount)
1 teaspoon salt
5 egg yolks (medium or large eggs)
1. Sprinke the egg yolks with 3 tbsps of sugar. Put the rest of the sugar in a heatproof pot over medium heat and let melt. Stir gently while the sugar is melting.
2. When the sugar starts to smell 'caramelly' and develops a dark colour take off the heat and carefully! (it will bubble up and can sputter) pour the cream into the caramel. It doesn't matter if some of the caramel hardens in the process as it will melt later on.
3. Add milk and salt to the caramel-cream mix. Put on medium heat and while stirring constantly heat up until mixture starts simmering (bubbles form around the edges).
3. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar to break them up. Then, little by little (1/2 a cup at the time), and while whisking constantly add caramel-cream mixture to the egg yolks.
4. Pour the whole mixture back into the pot and slowly heat up, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Let the mixture thicken, but don't let it come to a boil. It's fine when you coat the back of your spoon and run a finger through it, and it holds a clear path.**
5. Strain the mixture through a sieve and place the container into an ice-water bath. When it has cooled down to room temperature put the container into the fridge. Let it cool for at least 2 hours or overnight.
6. Start your ice-cream machine, pour in the cold mixture and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. If you want to your ice-cream with almond toffee bits add the pieces in the last minutes of churning.
7. Eat right away or fill into a pre-chilled container and put in the freezer for the ice-cream to harden more.
Glutton like me? Okay, let’s proceed to the…
150g (1 cup) roasted, cut (halfed, quartered and slivered) almonds
150g (2/3 cup) sugar
60ml (¼ cup) agave, tapioca or corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
240g (1 cup) butter
½ teaspoon salt (not needed if you use salted butter)
1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment or a nonsticking baking mat.
2. Put butter, sugar, syrup, water and salt into a heavy, heatproof pot and cook – stirring constantly – until mixture turns light brown. This will take about 10-15 minutes.
3. Stir in the almonds and cook a few more minutes (stirring constantly), watching carefully that (while it's okay for the mixture to turn a bit darker and smell more of caramel) it does not burn.
4. Pour – careful! extremely hot! – mixture onto the baking sheet and spread with a wooden or heatproof spatula to 1cm/ 1/3 inch thickness.
5. Let cool for an hour or so, then chop up. (Into slivers or small chunks if you want to add the toffee to ice-cream, or into bigger pieces if you want to eat the toffee directly).
6. Stored in an airtight container in the fridge it will keep for weeks (though it has never survived more than a week in mine).
*I use whipping cream and full-fat milk. If you use double cream you can go for half-fat (1-2%) milk.
**If you have a thermometer this should be between 75-85°C/ 165-185°F.