The combination of sweet and salty is one I absolutely adore. I can’t seem to find the proper words to describe my love for the tartlet with salted caramel and dark chocolate ganache, the salted pecans in butterscotch pecan ice cream or the sugar-salt crust on top of the Bo Ssäm. The taste is just terribly addictive and whenever there is something sweet and salty, I can’t stop myself from eating it (let’s be honest – when can I?).
Salted caramel is one of the easiest things to make (that is: once you’ve discovered that making caramel is in no way terrifying). You’ll only need to heat up some sugar and a tiny bit of water in a pan and wait till it starts to colour. Don’t whisk it, just move the pan a little bit. When it has the right amber colour you’re looking for, you’re finished. Easy peasy. If you want to make it extra delicious – and who doesn’t want to do this? – add cream. And butter. Cream and butter, the answer to everything (plus chocolate, but not in this case). Stir – from this stage you’re allowed to whisk again – till everything is dissolved and you’ll end up with gooey, silky, creamy, incredibly hot caramel. Of course, don’t forget to add a few pinches of salt (to taste). I’ll be making and enjoying salted caramel until I’m too big to move my ass into the kitchen.
This recipe is different from other ice cream recipes I’m used to making. There are no eggs involved and cornstarch is used to thicken up the custard. I like my ice cream made by both methods, don’t really have a preference. I thought the ice cream would be less silky or decadent without the egg yolks, but I didn’t really notice any big differences – maybe that’s because it was so good that my mind couldn’t think anything else than Oh my, give me more! while eating.
Recipe adapted from Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream on bonappetit.com
Makes about 1 quart
2 cups whole milk
1 tbsp + 1 tsp cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tbsp) cream cheese
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream (slagroom in the Netherlands)
2 tbsp light corn syrup (I’ve used golden syrup)
2/3 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
*Jeni uses a dry-burn technique to make the caramel, but I prefer using some water to the sugar. I like my method, cause it never fails and it caramalizes more evenly.
Mix about 2 tbsp of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl and mix.
Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
Mix the cream with the syrup in a small saucepan, but don’t put it on the stove yet.
Place the sugar in a pretty big saucepan and add a couple of tbsp water. If you add too little, it doesn’t caramelize evenly. If you add too much, it will take longer to start the caramelization process – the caramelization process will start when most of the water is evaporated – so it only takes a couple more minutes, but you’re caramel will come out fine.
When it starts to caramalize, put the cream-syrup mixture on medium high heat, reduce the heat when it starts to bowl. When the caramel has a deep amber colour, pour in the cream – little at a time. Be careful, cause the mixture will splatter and it will come up and it will be very very hot. Keep adding the cream untill all of it is incorporated.
Return the pan to medium high heat and add the milk. Bring to a boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and gradually whisk in the cornstarch mixture.
Bring back to a bowl over medium high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and pour through a sieve. Add the cream cheese and vanilla and whisk until smooth.
Pour the mixture in a bowl and place some plastic foil directly on top of the mixture. Leave to cool before placing in the fridge.
I always leave the mixture to cool overnight, this allows the mixture to cool completely and all the ingredients will be fully incorporated into each other. If you don’t have the time or your cravings are too big, place the bowl in a bowl full of ice cubes or just leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours – just make sure the mixture is really cold. When this is the case, freeze according to your ice cream maker instructions. Pour/scoop the ice cream in a container and place in the freezer for at least 4 hours.