Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream

This homemade salted caramel ice cream recipe is the stuff of dreams. It’s rich, creamy, sweet, salty, and absolutely decadent. If you’re a fan of salted caramel, this dessert is a must-try.

A Challenge Accepted

I love giving myself challenges in the kitchen, and this recipe was no exception. After tasting the best salted caramel ice cream of our lives during a summer holiday in the South of France, I knew I had to try and recreate that pure indulgence at home.

For a while, I hesitated, fearing that my version wouldn’t live up to the heavenly treat we had experienced. But with a long list of vacations to plan in the future, going back to that campsite just for the ice cream seemed a bit impractical. So, I took on the ultimate challenge – making my own salted caramel ice cream, determined to do my best despite the inevitable remarks that would follow.

And voila! Here it is: homemade salted caramel ice cream.

How to Make Salted Caramel Ice Cream

Making salted caramel ice cream involves two main components: homemade salted caramel sauce and a classic custard-style base made with sugar, egg yolks, vanilla milk, and cream. Once you have both components ready, they are blended together, cooled, and churned into ice cream.

Make the Caramel

The homemade caramel for this ice cream is surprisingly easy to make. You only need four simple ingredients and no sugar thermometer:

  1. Put water in a heavy-based saucepan and spread the sugar on top in an even layer.
  2. Set the pan over medium heat and let the sugar gradually melt.
  3. Crush the sea salt lightly in a pestle and mortar.
  4. As the sugar melts, the caramel will begin to darken. Continue cooking until it reaches a lovely mid-amber color, but be careful not to let it burn.
  5. Add a quarter of the cream and the salt, mixing well with a small whisk. Be cautious as it can bubble up and is extremely hot. Add another quarter of the cream and stir, then add the remaining cream, whisking until thoroughly blended.
  6. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
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The depth of the caramel flavor is up to you. Cooking it to a mid-amber color will give you a pure, addictive, salty caramel flavor wrapped in creamy ice cream. Cook it a little longer for sweet caramel with slightly bitter, toasty undertones. Just be careful not to burn it, as that will not make pleasant ice cream.

Make the Custard Base

Making the custard base for this ice cream is straightforward but requires your full attention to ensure a lump-free custard:

  1. Heat the milk in a medium saucepan until just below boiling.
  2. Beat the sugar, vanilla, and egg yolks with an electric beater until pale and thick.
  3. Gradually pour the hot milk onto the egg mixture, beating constantly.
  4. Pour the custard into the saucepan, along with the caramel, and stir well. Cook on low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened.
  5. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, take it off the heat, cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin from forming, let it cool, and then chill for 4 hours or overnight.

How to Churn Ice Cream

There are two ways to churn homemade ice cream: manually (by hand) or using a purpose-made machine. Both methods yield great results, but the manual method requires more time and effort.

Churning Ice Cream by Hand

If you have a freezer compartment at home and can dedicate regular time to it, you can achieve great results by freezing the ice cream batter manually:

  1. Set your freezer temperature to -18°C (0°F).
  2. When the ice cream batter is ready, transfer it to a suitable freezer container, cover it, and place it in the coldest part of your freezer for 90 minutes.
  3. The sides should be beginning to freeze, while the center will remain soft and slushy.
  4. Remove from the freezer and quickly use electric beaters to beat the ice cream until the ice crystals are uniform. Cover and place it back in the freezer.
  5. Repeat this process 4-8 more times at 1-hour intervals for a better texture.
  6. Cover the ice cream with greaseproof paper or foil and freeze for a further 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Remove from the freezer 10 minutes before serving.
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Beating the ice cream regularly is essential to prevent it from becoming a hard and icy block that’s difficult to scoop and not enjoyable to eat.

Churning Ice Cream by Machine

Using an ice cream maker is a less time-consuming method. Follow the instructions specific to your machine for the best results.

The Verdict

So, how does this homemade salted caramel ice cream compare to the one we had in France? The family verdict: it’s a surprisingly close match. In fact, it’s a very close second. Oh, blimey.

Keep Feeding Your Ice Cream Addiction

If you can’t get enough of ice cream, here are some tempting recipes you should try:

  • Stroopwafel ice cream with bourbon caramel
  • Malty vanilla ice cream with raspberry ripple
  • Salted honey ice cream (for those who think salted caramel is good, you’ll love this one)
  • Chocolate dipped salted caramel ice cream bars

Now that you have the recipe for homemade salted caramel ice cream, it’s time to indulge in this dreamy and creamy treat. Enjoy every spoonful! And remember, for all things ice cream, visit Ice Cream Directory.

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