Gelato, an Italian ice cream, is characterized by its use of egg yolks and milk rather than heavy whipping cream. I've found home ice cream machines process milk-based recipes poorly . This recipe uses half-and-half, for better binding.
The salt in this salted-caramel dish serves an unusual purpose. Many salty-sweets shock the palate, but this ice cream offers a deep caramel flavor enhanced by the presence of kosher salt. Rather than taste bare salt, the salt offsets the sweet that comes with combining creamy dessert with a syrup.
However, if you like your salted sweets on the strong side, I'd suggest adding finely crushed Himalayan sea salt to the finished ice cream for garnish.
*Note: this recipe requires a 48 hour preparation.
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Step 1: Ingredients
Serves 6 to 8
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 cups half-and-half
4 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Step 2: Prepare the Caramel
1. Combine the 1/2 cup sugar and the tablespoon of water in a medium non-stick saucepan. Swirl the sugar and water until just combined. Turn the heat up to high, and allow to bubble and turn golden brown.
2. When the caramel turns golden, add the half and half and whisk. At first the caramel hardens, but it melts into the half and half as it heats. Whisking prevents burnt caramel.
3. Add the vanilla extract and the salt. Whisk again until well combined. Remove from heat.
Step 3: Finish the Custard
4. Separate the egg yolks (whites may be frozen for future desserts) and beat until light yellow.
5. Temper this eggs- this means adding hot liquid, in very small amounts, to prepare the eggs to be heated at high temperatures. Added to the saucepan directly, the eggs would break. While whisking swiftly, add small amounts of the caramel half and half mixture to the eggs. The eggs will foam.
6. When half of the hot liquid is incorporated, strain off the foam. Return the egg mixture to the hot liquid in the sauce pan. Turn heat to low.
7. Place a candy thermometer into the saucepan. The thermometer will read slightly higher than the actual temperature. Do not allow the mixture to go above 179 degrees Fahrenheit
8. Stir constantly, until thick, about twelve minutes. When you can draw a line across the back of the spatula, it's done.
9. Add the mixture to a quart sized storage container. Chill for one hour on the container in an ice bath, then add to the fridge.
Step 4: Process the Gelato
10. Remove the storage container from the refrigerator. Add a few ice cubes to a quart size zip lock, and place the sealed baggie in the storage container with the chilled gelato mix. If you have reusable ice cubes, even better.
11. Allow the gelato to chill for 30 more minutes in the refrigerator.
10. Set up the ice cream maker according to your manufacturer's instructions. Remove the zip lock baggie from the storage container, and immediately add the gelato mix to the ice cream maker.
13. Process thirty minutes, or until creamy but soft, and return to its storage container.
14. Store overnight.