Salt stars in this dessert, taking the sweet flavor of homemade caramel to the next level.
Makes 1 quart
For the caramel: • 1 cup sugar
• 1 cup cream
For the custard: • ¼ cup sugar
• 2 cups whole milk • 1 teaspoon sea salt
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 3 egg yolks, whisked
Make the caramel:
Heat sugar over medium heat until it starts to melt. Don't futz with the sugar too much—you'll want to, but resist. Stir occasionally so that all sugar particles are exposed to the heat. Once the sugar starts to brown, pay attention. It changes color quickly!
Once the sugar becomes a nice dark brown, add the cream. It may seize up and spatter and generally be disagreeable. Just be calm. If you stir over medium heat for a few minutes, the caramel will calm down and become smooth.
Take off heat, and add salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature. (I like to put it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.)
Make the custard:
Bring milk and sugar to a boil. Temper hot milk into the eggs. Do this slowly, and whisk constantly. If you do this too quickly, the eggs will coagulate and you'll be stuck with a scrambled egg caramel mess. Once half of the milk has been incorporated into the eggs, pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon and being sure to get at the edges of the pan (where the egg likes to coagulate). Once the custard coats the back of a spoon, stir into the cooled caramel.
Chill until cold. Freeze in ice cream maker, following instructions, and stick in the freezer until serving time. Serve with a few grains of sea salt sprinkled on top.
To read about what else Sophie Brickman learned from chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, click here for the story.