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AUGUST 2001
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Caramel-Coffee Ice Cream

Yield: 1 quart; about 8 servings

Tips: This recipe demands time, care, and concentration. But even if it were twice as much effort, I'd still make it; that's how good it is. A strongly-flavored dessert that is best-suited to adults, this begins with actual caramelization of sugar, and a custard (the ice cream base) is "built" around that. This ice cream takes much longer to freeze than most others I've worked with, and it never freezes too hard to scoop directly from the container. While I usually add a couple of tablespoons of a liqueur to an ice cream so it won't freeze too hard, if you do that here the ice cream will stay very soft--too soft, in my opinion.

You'll need a candy thermometer and a 1 quart ice cream churn to make this. Serve scoops in a wine glass or small brandy snifter with a splash of chocolate liqueur over the top--but send the kids to bed first! Use a good brown crème de cacao or a reputable (dark) chocolate liqueur (I believe Godiva makes one; other companies might, too).

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, from eggs graded "large"
  • 2 cups heavy cream, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. instant nonfat dry milk powder
  • 2 to 3 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

For serving:

  • Chocolate liqueur OR brown crème de cacao

Place a fine-meshed strainer over a heatproof liquid glass measuring cup of 1 quart capacity. Set aside near stovetop.

Place sugar in a heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum, 3 quart pot; set aside. Place yolks in small heatproof bowl; add about 1/4 cup heavy cream (reserve remainder). With fork, beat to mix well. Set aside near stovetop.

In heavy-bottomed, nonaluminum 1-1/2 to 2 quart pot, combine dry milk powder and coffee granules. Add remaining cream and all of milk. With large spoon, stir well. Set over low heat, stirring occasionally, until scalded.

Place 3 quart pot with sugar over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally with large wooden spoon until sugar begins to melt. Reduce heat to medium-low. Continue stirring frequently. Sugar will clump into small chunks, resembling white aquarium gravel, as it heats and you stir--OK. As more sugar melts, you might want to mash some of these chunks lightly into the melting sugar with the edge of the bowl of the spoon. Keep an eye on the heating coffee liquid, stirring occasionally; when it is very hot and a wrinkled "skin" appears on the top surface, turn off the heat under that pot, but leave on stovetop.

Keep stirring the sugar; as more melts, stir more frequently until you are stirring constantly. Some sugar may clump on the sides of the pot or the bowl of the spoon--OK. It will melt later. As the melting sugar begins to brown, stir constantly until all lumps are gone and the sugar is a rich caramel color; it may be smoking hot at this point. Don't rush the process by turning up the heat, or you may burn the sugar.

The instant the sugar is completely caramelized, VERY CAREFULLY add about 1/3 of the hot liquid to the caramel. BE CAREFUL!!!! The caramel will bubble up and spatter furiously as you do so (now you know why you needed such a large pot!). Keep stirring this mixture over medium-low heat until the liquid is incorporated into the caramel, then gradually add the remaining coffee liquid. Stir over medium-low heat until steaming hot and smooth; any caramel that was stuck to the pot or the spoon should have melted by this time. Remove from heat.

Beating the yolk mixture constantly with the fork, very gradually add about a cup of the hot caramel liquid to it. Then, stirring the caramel liquid constantly, add the yolk mixture back into it. Set mixture over medium heat and stir constantly until it reaches a temperature of 175 to 176 degrees F on a candy thermometer. When end temperature is reached, remove pot from heat. Stir in vanilla. Immediately strain into heatproof liquid measuring cup. Custard will be thin.

Cool briefly, then chill until very cold (overnight is fine). To cover, cut a circle of paper towel slightly larger than top surface of measuring cup; place paper towel circle gently over top of measuring cup, then cover tightly with plastic wrap (this will prevent any condensation that forms from dripping back into the custard).

About 20 minutes before churning, place a 1 quart plastic container and cover into the freezer. Churn custard according to manufacturer's instructions; ice cream will still be very soft after churning. Quickly turn in to chilled carton; cover and place in freezer. Freeze at least 12 hours before serving. Serve within three days of churning.

To serve, place scoops of ice cream into small wine glasses or brandy snifters; top each scoop with a splash of chocolate liqueur. Serve immediately!


© Stephanie Zonis provides the above information to anyone, but retains copyright on all text. This means that you may not: distribute the text to others without the express written permission of Stephanie Zonis; "mirror" or include this information on your own server or documents without my permission; modify or re-use the text on this system. You MAY: print copies of the information for your own personal use; store the files on your own computer for your personal use only; reference hypertext documents on this server from your own documents.

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