An ice cream maker isn’t just a kitchen tool – it is a path to dessert freedom. Think about it – can you think of a dessert that is more adaptable than ice cream? Because ice cream (and yes, I’m using it as a generic term here for any frozen, churned dessert, including gelato, sorbet, and sherbet) is essentially just a liquid frozen in an ice cream maker, it is incredibly versatile.
Flavors that can only serve as accents in a cake – like citrus, nuts, or fruit – work perfectly well as the main flavor in an ice cream or sorbet. Because ice cream doesn’t rely on sugar for structure, like a cake does, it’s much easier to control the amount of sweetness in your ice cream. And you can mix pretty much anything into ice cream (within reason). I can have my mint ice cream with some cookies, fudge, chocolate chips, brownies, or anything else good-tasting that I can think of.
Suffice it to say, I love my ice cream maker. And I was very excited to use it to make David Lebovitz’s salted butter caramel ice cream this weekend, although I wasn’t ambitious enough to make the caramel praline mix-in that the recipe called for.
Now, I had originally intended to make this ice cream to go along with my caramel apple walnut pie, which seemed like a natural accompaniment. However, the ice cream wasn’t quite set up when my taste testers arrived, so what I served them was much more akin to caramel sauce.
In retrospect, I think fate was trying to tell me something with the soupy ice cream, because I actually don’t think this ice cream is the right accompaniment to my pie. The ice cream is incredibly rich, with a deep, luscious toffee flavor – and it’s so good on its own that it overwhelms the pie. The subtle sweetness of the pie crust and the tangy interplay between the apples and the caramel gets lost in the richness of the caramel ice cream. Next time, I think I might try the pie with a lighter ice cream, like ginger or vanilla.
No, this caramel ice cream is a big, bold ice cream. It’s deep caramel and butter flavors are rounded out with a bitter, burnt sugar undertone. It deserves to be the star of the dessert plate. I actually think it would be very good in a sundae, topped with some chocolate sauce, caramelized hazelnuts, and whipped cream. But it’s also quite fabulous on its own.
Get the recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream over at David Lebovitz’s blog.