Almost Burnt Sugar Ice Cream

For the most intense caramel flavor, cook the sugar just enough so that it turns a deep, dark brown – a touch short of burning. The trick is to stay nearby and keep testing by spooning a few drops onto a white plate. You’ll want to pull the sugar off the heat the moment before it goes from dark brown to black.  Unfortunately, there is no turning back from truly burnt caramel.

This very rich ice cream has the golden color of a caramel apple and a totally smooth consistency.  Its taste is pure caramel with a subtle scent of vanilla. It is superb with our Dark Chocolate Sauce or Classic Caramel Sauce.

Makes about 1 quart or 8 generous servings

Ingredients

  • ½ vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 8 large yolks

Directions

  1. In a heavy saucepan combine the vanilla bean, milk, and cream and whisk together. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a simmer.  Remove from the heat.  Lift out the vanilla bean and, with a paring knife, gently scrape any remaining seeds back into the cream mixture. Discard the bean or save to make homemade vanilla sugar. Return the pan with the cream mixture to a burner over medium-low heat.
  2. Place the sugar in a small nonstick pan. Cook over low heat until it begins to melt and continue cooking, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon or heat resistant spatula, until the sugar is completely melted and clear.  Increase the heat to medium-high and cook until it reaches a deep brown. (If you have trouble seeing the color change against the dark surface of the pan, spoon a few drops onto a white dish to test.) Slowly pour the caramelized sugar into the warm cream, stirring until completely smooth. If the caramel begins to solidify, turn up the heat and cook until it dissolves. Remove from heat.
  3. In a mixing bowl whisk the egg yolks. Slowly pour in about 1½ cups of the warm caramelized cream mixture, stirring continuously.
  4. Return the pan to medium heat.  Cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon, about 160°F.  Remove from heat and pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  5. Cover the custard with plastic touching the top to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cold.
  6. Freeze in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s directions.

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