Thursday, September 25, 2008

butter, cream, and caramel - oh my!


I could certainly improve on the presentation but it tasted good

I hosted book club last week and provided a little ice cream sundae bar. Here's the menu.



I made most everything from scratch but only one ice cream, Butter Pecan, because I don't have the fancy self-freezing ice cream maker that lets you keep making batch after batch. Some of my book club ladies have requested recipes, so I'm including some of them below. (You'll have to ask Jenna for her hot fudge recipe - thanks Jenna!)

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce
This was the crowd favorite. It tastes like melted toffee - yum yum. This I would eat this sauce on anything (popcorn comes to mind) or simply drink it. Adapted from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

6 TB (85g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 cup (250ml) heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 tsp coarse salt, preferably fleur de sel, which has a more delicate texture than kosher salt

In a small saucepan, warm the cream over medium heat (you don't want to pour cold cream into the caramel or the mixture will clump into hard chunks that you'll have to melt down again - I learned the hard way).

Meanwhile, melt the butter over medium heat in a large, deep, heavy-duty saucepan. Stir in the sugar and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar is a deep golden brown and starts to smoke. Watch carefully that the butter doesn't burn (I burned my first batch, better to warm it slowly at a lower heat than fast at a higher heat). Remove from heat and slowly pour the hot cream in a small, steady stream while constantly whisking to prevent clumping. If any lumps of caramel form, whisk the sauce gently over low heat until they're dissolved. Stir in the salt. Serve warm.

This sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Rewarm gently in microwave or by stirring in saucepan over very low heat.

Peach Melba Sauce
I simply served a raspberry and peach sauce side by side, which the guest could combine over the ice cream.

12 oz frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
1 TB lemon juice

Place fruit and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and cook sugar dissolves and fruit soften. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Serve warm.

3-4 peaches, peeled, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
about 3 TB sugar
about 1 tsp lemon juice

Same instructions as above. Just taste the fruit mixture and add sugar to taste. Serve warm.

Gingerbread Caramel Sauce
This was supposed to be butterscotch sauce, but I accidently used regular sugar instead of brown sugar. So I added a couple tablespoons of molasses, resulting in a very dark, strong sauce, very similar to the gingerbread caramels I made last winter. Adapted from the Cook's Illustrated butterscotch sauce.

1 cup granulated sugar
2 TB molasses (or less if you want a less strong molasses flavor
1/4 cup corn syrup
3 TB unsalted butter
pinch salt
1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature or warmer
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Combine sugar, molasses, corn syrup, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often until the sugar melts. Reduce heat to low and simmer without stirring until syrup reaches 280F on candy thermometer, about 10 minutes. Remove pan from heat and slowly stir in cream until sauce is smooth. Stir in vanilla. The sauce thickens as it cools. Serve warm. You can store in the fridge for several weeks.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
Wow, I love this ice cream. It's so much more buttery than the commercial stuff. Recipe adapted from Cook's Illustrated.

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 TB unsalted butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup pecans, chopped and toasted (place chopped nuts in pan over medium heat, shaking occasionally to turn nuts, until fragrant, about 5 mins)

Combine milk, cream, brown sugar, and butter in saucepan over medium heat. Bring mixture to 175F, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk granulated sugar and egg yolks until it turns pale yellow and thickens so it falls in ribbons, about 2 mins with an electric whisk. When milk mixture is ready, remove about 1/2 cup of the mixture and very slowly whisk into the egg mixture (you are slowly bringing the eggs to a higher temperature without cooking them). Repeat a couple times, then slowly whisk the egg mixture into the saucepan. Reduce heat to low and slowly bring the mixture to 180F (don't cook those eggs!), stirring constantly. The custard should be thick, but not curdled or boiled.

Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl over ice and stir to bring temperature down (I usually skip this step and simply put the mixture in the fridge for a few hours or overnight). Cover bowl and chill until mixture reaches 40F. Pour into ice cream machine and churn until frozen. At the end of churning, add the nuts and churn 30 seconds to incorporate. Transfer mixture to storage container and freeze until firm. Ice cream will keep up to 2 days but is best on day one.

4 comments:

Jenn's Serving Ice Cream said...

Wow! I would have loved to be at that book party! The ice cream bar looks absolutely - what a great idea...and classy too!

You might think about entering your favorite ice cream sundae combo into this Ice Cream Sundae contest!

http://www.serving-ice-cream.com/ice-cream-contest.html

Susan C said...

I'm having my book club on the 8th but I'm not as ambitious or talented as you are! I'm serving crab croissants from the Colorado Cache Cookbook and a salad. Maybe small sundaes....you got me all excited!

Tania said...

Ever since I saw this entry of yours I have kept the Salted Butter Caramel Sauce in the back of my mind. I have just made some and... HOLY MOLY!!! YUMMMMMMMMYYYYYY!! I can't wait to chow this down tonight after dinner.. honestly, if Aiden was not here THIS would be my dinner! HAHAHA!!

Tanya said...

Ha ha Tania! Your comment made me smile and giggle. I needed that today. Enjoy that caramel sauce - yum yum!

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