A few months ago, I ordered some Fleur de Sel online in the hopes of making something salted caramel-y.
Fleur de Sel is a French sea salt. Its a finishing salt that gives a subtle salty flavor, unlike the regular table salt. I recently discovered the wonders of mixing salty with sweet in baking after tasting a chocolate cupcake drizzled with salted caramel. To die for. After that cupcake, I decided I wanted to replicate it, but never got around to it. So the Fleur de Sel sat in my pantry for months. Then I discovered this recipe from David Lebovitz for Caramel Salted Ice Cream. 'Nuff said. You can imagine how heavenly it tasted by its name alone. We all loved this frozen yummy treat.
Caramel Praline (mix-in)
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 tsp. Fleur de Sel
1) Line a baking sheet with a silicon mat or sparingly brush the baking sheet with unflavored oil.
2) Spread an even layer of the sugar into a medium-sized heavy duty saucepan. Heat sugar over medium heat until the edges begin to melt. Use a heat-proof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until caramel starts to smoke and begins to smell like its about to burn.
3) Sprinkle 3/4 teaspoon of Fleur de Sel without stirring and pour caramel onto prepared baking sheet. Immediately lift baking sheet, tilting and swirling to spread the caramel into as thin of a layer as possible. Set aside to harden and cool.
Ice Cream Custard
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 Tbsp. salted butter
1/2 tsp. Fleur de Sel
1 cup heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1) Make an ice-bath by filling a large bowl with ice about 1/3 full and just enough water so the ice floats. Place a smaller metal bowl in the ice and pour 1 cup of milk in the inner bowl.
2) Spread 1 1/2 cups of sugar in an even layer back into the heavy saucepan. Cook over medium heat until edges begin to melt. Use a heat-proof utensil to gently stir the liquefied sugar from the bottom and edges towards the center. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally until caramel starts to smoke and begins to smell like its about to burn.
3) Once caramelized, remove from heat. Stir in butter and salt until butter is melted. Gradually whisk in cream. (Note: the caramel may harden. So return over low heat and continue stirring until all caramel is melted). Stir in milk until well incorporated.
4) In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks. Gradually pour a ladle full of warm caramel into the egg yolks and stir. Pour egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook, stirring constantly, scraping the bottom as you stir. Continue cooking until custard thickens and reaches a temperature of 160-170 deg F.
5) Strain mixture into milk set over an ice-bath. Add vanilla and stir frequently until mixture has cooled down. Refrigerate for 8 hours or until thoroughly chilled. (Or you can cheat like I did by refrigerating the mixture with an ice bath for 4 hours).
6) Freeze mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. While ice cream is churning, crumble the hard caramel praline into very tiny bits. Once ice cream is finished churning, stir in praline bits. Place ice cream in an airtight container and freeze until firm.