Saturday, July 9, 2011

my ice cream idol

salty caramel ice cream
Thursday night I went to a book signing for Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home. Ohio native Jeni Britton Bauer has been making amazingly flavor-packed, rich and creamy ice creams since 2002. I first became aware of the brand when I did my restaurant project in school at FCI. I new I wanted to create a prototype for an ice cream business, so I began scouring the web. I found Jeni's website and fell in love. She is a former artist and you can tell from the presentation of the site and the design of the interior of her stores. I actually didn't get a chance to try her ice cream until a few months back. Dean and Delucca sells an assortment of her flavors, so I made my way down to Prince Street to get a taste. I tried the salty caramel and was extremely impressed by the creamy, rich texture of the ice cream and assertively bitter taste of the caramel. When I heard that she had a book coming out, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and learn her her secrets.

At the signing, Jeni explained the base recipe that she uses to make all her ice creams. She prefers to make cornstarch-thickened ice cream bases instead of egg-based custards because she doesn't want any of her flavors to be obscured by the eggs. Once the bases are made, she whisks in a small amount of cream cheese to give them a bit more body and richness. Brilliant.

As soon as I got my copy of her book home this weekend, I knew I wanted to make the salty caramel ice cream first. To start, I let the granulated sugar melt over high heat and caramelize before adding in the cream. I added the milk next. After it came to a boil, I added in the cornstarch and returned it to a boil. I then whisked in the cream cheese and sea salt and chilled the finished base over an ice bath. I spun the ice cream yesterday and Chris and I dug in immediately afterward. We loved this ice cream so much that I completely forgot to get a good picture of it before we ate it all. Below is all that is left of the salty caramel. You can see the stab marks from the fork that Chris attacked the ice cream with. Geez.

The book is beautiful and the recipes extremely easy to make. So go buy it! And while you get churning, I'm going to sneak back to the kitchen and lick up that last little bit of the salty caramel ice cream before Chris realizes there's still some left...

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