August 1, 2016
Miso is an ingredient that I can never seem to get enough of. The salty umami flavour goes well with so many things, particularly anything butter related. Cream is not all that different to butter and at the same time it is difficult to find a dessert menu that doesn't contain the words 'salt' and 'caramel' next to each other - so why not combine them all? If you think it sounds like a good idea (and I can assure you it is), then give this recipe a try, you won't be disappointed.
I have experimented with many types of ice cream at home with varying results. I would say this is a somewhat 'American' style ice cream. It doesn't use eggs or a traditional anglaise custard. In fact, it uses cornflour to thicken it, which suits the flavours and causes it to churn easily in a domestic machine. The result is very rich, smooth, dark, slightly salty and hard to resist. The vanilla adds another dimension and the coffee beans are there to enhance the vanilla flavour even more - but don't worry if you don't have them. You can leave the coffee or vanilla out and still have a worthwhile result.
You don't actually need an ice cream machine to make it, but you will get better results if you do. Just make sure the mixture is nice and cold when you churn it or it will take a long time and you may not get a nice smooth texture. Saying that, if you don't have an ice cream machine, just freeze it in a bowl and whisk it every 10-20 minutes until it is too solid to whisk. It won't be the same - but you will still love to eat it.
This ice cream is delicious enough to eat on its own, in a cone, with fruit, chocolate or all of the above.
Find a large pot, at least three times the volume of the milk and cream (when combined, there will be plenty of spluttering). Add the sugar and just enough water to give the consistency of wet sand (don't worry if you overdo it, it will just take a little longer). Place over a high heat until the caramel goes dark and has tinges of red. It will take a few minutes to start changing colour, but when it does, it changes fast - so keep an eye on it. If you see any crystals of sugar forming on the side of the pot while it is heating up brush them with a wet pastry brush so they run back down into the sugar, otherwise the whole lot might turn into a crystallised mess and you will have to start again.
As soon as your caramel is as dark as you dare take it, add about 150ml of the hot milk and cream mixture while whisking. Be very careful with the caramel as it is very hot and when the liquid hits it, it will splutter and rise quite violently. After a few seconds, once it has calmed down a bit add some more milk and continue to whisk. Keep doing this until all of the milk and caramel is combined.
Add the reserved cornflour and milk mixture to the pot and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the mixture thickens. Depending on how far you took the caramel, you may need to add a little more sugar to correct the sweetness because the darker it gets, the more bitter and less sweet it becomes. The ice cream mixture needs to be a little bit sweeter than you want it to end up as when eating something frozen, the perception of sweetness is reduced.
Strain the mixture into a tray or bowl to cool down. You can do this over ice if you are in a hurry or even leave in the fridge overnight until it is nice and cold. Churn it in an ice-cream machine and then place in the freezer for 1-2 hours to set completely.