"Splendid" Salted Caramel Ice Cream
I started picking up inklings of Jeni Britton-Bauer late last fall, when a local coffee shop here in Nashville started carrying her artisan ice creams flown in from Ohio. While I never made it over to the coffee shop and subsequently stopped thinking about artisan ice cream through the winter, in early spring I read that Jeni was opening her first store outside of Ohio in - you guessed it - Nashville.
Shortly thereafter, Josh decided on a whim to buy me an ice cream maker.
A few weeks later, I saw Jeni's book in a store in New York City, with recipes for her signature flavors.
Then, my good friend Krista managed to get to Jeni's before I could and proceeded to rave about it.
That was the last straw - the universe wanted me to have Jeni's in my life, damn it, and who was I not to take heed? I bought the book.
The book, aside from the fact that it's a page turner if only because you cannot wait to see what crazy combination Jeni teases you with on the following page, is outlined by season so you can make a point of using the freshest ingredients possible. In addition to ice creams, the book includes recipes for sorbets and frozen yogurts, as well as for ice cream cookies, cocktails and sundaes. It is comprehensive and gorgeously photographed, and judging by the first one I tried, the recipes themselves are foolproof. The ice cream froze as solid as you'd find it in any scoop shop, which can sometimes be difficult to acheive at home. The pure flavors of caramel and sea salt blasted through the custard, as well as a surprising taste of pure butter - even though there is no butter in the recipe. I am still amazed that I made this quart of amber heaven, but I did - and I'm ready for round 2 with Jeni at my side.
You will need:
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon plus one teaspoon corn starch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used vanilla bean paste)
Make sure the bowl of your ice cream maker has been frozen for at least 24 hours. Do not remove from freezer until the moment you are ready to spin the ice cream macine.
Mix about 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout.
Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Heat the sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat until it is melted and golden amber in color. Remove from the heat and, stirring constantly, slowly add a bit of the cream and corn syrup mixture to the caramel: it will fizzle, pop and spurt. Stir until well combined, then add a little more and stir. Keep adding the cream a little at a time until all of it is incorporated.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the milk. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch slurry.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high and cook, sitrring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Add the vanilla and whisk. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon Ziploc freezer bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
Pour into frozen canister and spin until thick and creamy. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Recipe and method copied from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream at Home.