A couple of weeks later, I glimpsed this recipe. Salted butter caramel ice cream. Salted. Butter. Caramel. I bought an ice cream maker especially to try it.
The recipe is a total, utter ballache which I am sure is my fault and not of the recipe's. The caramel seized and I spent a good hour, if not more, stirring it, melting it back down. In total, it may have taken me 3 or so hours to make, but after one bite of my efforts I didn't care. It is amazing.
I replaced some of the sugar with maple sugar and salt with smoked, which gave a good dimension of flavour to it. If you haven't got any, use the recipe linked above. Be warned - melting sugar is not for the faint hearted. If it burns you, it HURTS.
Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream
Makes 1 litre - you will eat it all
For the caramel praline:
50gr sugar25gr maple sugar
3/4 tsp smoked salt (I used Halen Mon)
For the ice cream:
500ml milk, split in two200gr sugar
50gr maple sugar60gr butter
1/2 tsp smoked salt250ml double cream, warmed
5 egg yolks3/4 tsp vanilla extract
Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. In a pan, melt the sugar for the praline, stirring occasionally to melt all the granules. Cook until it is mostly liquid and the caramel starts smoking a bit. As it's just about to burn, take off the heat, whack in the salt immediately and then pour the caramel on to the baking sheet. Wiggle it around a bit to try and get the thinnest sheet of caramel as possible. Set aside to harden.
Fill a big bowl to halfway with ice and a little water, and nestle a smaller bowl within. Pour 1 portion of the milk into the bowl and set a fine seive on top.
Caramelise the rest of the sugar as above. Once caramelised, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and the salt. When the butter has melted whisk in the cream. At this point, it seized into an unholy mess. If this happens to you, heat gently until it all melts back down. It takes a while. Stir in the rest of the milk and take off the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks in a bowl and gradually pour the warm cream mixture, stirring as you go. Scrape this all back into the saucepan and heat and stir to around 70 degrees C, so just before it boils. It should thicken slightly. Pour the custard through the strainer onto the iced milk and stir to combine and to cool it down. Place this in fridge and chill until the mixture is fridge cold. Churn in your ice cream maker.
Before placing in the freezer, bash up the praline roughly. Stir this through the ice cream, decant into a container and place in the freezer. These caramel bits will liquify a little.
The end result is gorgeously creamy, sweet buttery ice cream with a little hint of salt. You'd be silly not to try it.