DEBORAH CROMBIE: I may not have had garden tomatoes or cantaloupe this summer (there's still
time, right?) but I have had a couple of culinary adventures. I've made ice cream twice. First, butter pecan, made in the thirty-year-old ice cream maker that had been languishing in its box in the back of the hall closet for years. It was electric, at least, not hand-crank, and you only had to add ice, not ice and rock salt! Still, messy and noisy, and I'd been day-dreaming over up-to-date ice cream makers, especially the Cuisinart, which had great reviews.
Then one day Marcia Talley told me she was making Salted Caramel Ice Cream and that the recipe was to-die-for, and that her ice cream maker was a Cuisinart. That was all the persuasion I needed. And I'll add my testimony--the Cuisinart is fabulous, and so is the recipe. So credit to Marcia Talley for the suggestion, and to Epicurious.com for reprinting the recipe, which originally appeared in Gourmet magazine in 2009.
SALTED CARAMEL ICE CREAM
1 1/4 cups sugar, divided
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt such as Maldon
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
3 large eggs
Equipment: an ice cream maker
Heat 1 cup sugar in a dry 10-inch heavy skillet over medium heat, stirring with a fork to heat sugar evenly, until it starts to melt, then stop stirring and cook, swirling skillet occasionally so sugar melts evenly, until it is dark amber.
Add 1 1/4 cups cream (mixture will spatter) and cook, stirring, until all of caramel has dissolved. Transfer to a bowl and stir in sea salt and vanilla. Cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, bring milk, remaining cup cream, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar just to a boil in a small heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally.
Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl, then add half of hot milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly. Pour back into saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until custard coats back of spoon and registers 170°F on an instant-read thermometer (do not let boil). Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl,
then stir in cooled caramel.
Chill custard, stirring occasionally, until very cold, 3 to 6 hours. Freeze custard in ice cream maker (it will still be quite soft), then transfer to an airtight container and put in freezer to firm up.
Makes about 1 quart
Cooks' note: Ice cream keeps 1 week.
(DEBS'S notes: I'd never made caramel before and so burned it the first time. Probably everyone else knows how to make caramel, but if not, a warning--take the pan off the heat as soon as the melted sugar turns amber. And the ice cream should keep more than a week. I've had a pint in the freezer for two weeks now, and it's still fine.)
Photo is courtesy of Rick Wilson. Food styling (with a few smudges on my yard-sale crystal ice cream glasses) courtesy of me.
And now, to complete your Labor Day weekend feast, here, if you're feeling adventurous, is what comes before the ice cream! Recipe is courtesy of our neighbor Jennifer, who brought us a bowl of just-picked figs from their tree.
STEAK WITH FIGS, FETA, AND BALSAMIC VINEGAR
Grill your choice of steak. We had organic New York strips, cooked on the rare side of medium rare.
Top with sliced fresh figs, crumbled fresh feta cheese, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Add fresh ground salt and pepper.
That's all there is to it, and it is wonderful!
Photo AND food styling courtesy of me.
Enjoy, and have a great holiday weekend!