Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Earl Grey & Salted Caramel Frozen Custard

I always have a hankering for floral and tea flavors outside of my actual tea cup. Whether it be lavender, bergamot, rose, or earl grey-- you can count me in. I especially love these flavors in the form of gelato and ice cream. In fact, my husband always can tell that I will surely fall in love with an ice cream shop if they carry flavors of the sort.
About three months ago, Henry picked up a carton of honey-lavender gelato from a local market. The same carton has been in our freezer, and is only about half-way empty-- not because it's not good, but because I love it too much! I nearly died of pure bliss and satisfaction after my first bite. I could seriously eat the whole thing in one sitting, but because I would still like to fit into my skinny jeans, I hold off on that temptation. Instead, I have a little spoonful ever once in awhile. These small bites keep the joy fresh, our freezer stocked with good gelato, and my waistline from O.D'ing in regret. Win, win, win.
I've been telling Henry that I would like to purchase an ice cream maker. The possibilities and flavors going through my mind are out of control. However, we don't have one yet and I didn't want to wait to try out a flavor combination (also, I had a lot of egg yolks I needed to use after a macaron-making-spree). I followed David Lebovitz method on How to Make Ice Cream Without a Machine and created a recipe that is only slightly modified from his Vanilla Ice Cream Recipe. I about doubled the amount of egg yolks in the recipe making this truly a frozen custard.
Although ice crystals are nearly unavoidable without a machine, this frozen custard blew my socks off. The flavors are divine! Earl grey never disappoints me with it's deep tea taste with a bit of citrus and the salted caramel adds a nice smokey, salty, and sweet layer of flavor (SO GOOD). Since there is a lot of cream and egg yolk, the ice crystals are hardly noticeable once the frozen custard starts to melt on your tongue.

It did take awhile to make, and would probably wait till I get my ice cream maker to create another batch of this goodness...but I have to say that patience definitely paid off after I tasted this creamy frozen treat.
Early Grey & Salted Caramel Frozen Custard
modified and adapted from this recipe
makes about one quart

1 cup whole milk
 pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
5 earl grey tea bags
2 cups heavy cream
10 large egg yolks
1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (I used this recipe)

1. Heat the milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract in a saucepan. Stir continuously to avoid burning; once the mixture has reached a low boil, turn off the heat. Empty the contents of two tea bags into the milk and soak the remaining three in it. Cover the pot, remove from to, and infuse for about 20 minutes. Make sure to  squeeze any tea out of the tea bags at the end to ensure a good concentration of earl grey flavor.
2. To make the ice cream, set up an ice bath by placing a 2-quart bowl in a larger bowl partially filled with ice and water. Set a strainer over the top of the smaller bowl and pour the cream into the bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together the egg yolks. Rewarm the milk then gradually pour some of the milk into the yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the warmed yolks and milk back into the saucepan.
4. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom with a heat-resistant spatula, until the custard thickens enough to coat the spatula.
5. Strain the custard into the heavy cream. Stir over the ice until cool,then refrigerate to chill thoroughly. Preferably overnight.
6. Remove the vanilla bean and freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
7. When the ice cream is almost frozen, drizzle the warm salted caramel all over it. Stir and continue to freeze.

 ** Note: If you don't have an ice cream maker, skip step 6 and follow these directions from David Lebovitz:
Making Ice Cream/Frozen Custard Without A Machine

1. Prepare your ice cream mixture, then chill it over an ice bath.
2. Put a deep baking dish, or bowl made of plastic, stainless steel or something durable in the freezer, and pour your custard mixture into it.
3. After forty-five minutes, open the door and check it.
As it starts to freeze near the edges, remove it from the freezer and stir it vigorously with a spatula or whisk. Really beat it up and break up any frozen sections. Return to freezer.
4. Continue to check the mixture every 30 minutes, stirring vigorously as it’s freezing. If you have one, you can use a hand-held mixer for best results, or use a stick-blender or hand-held mixer.
But since we’re going low-tech here, you can also use just a spatula or a sturdy whisk along with some modest physical effort.
5. Keep checking periodically and stirring while it freezes (by hand or with the electric mixer) until the ice cream is frozen. It will likely take 2-3 hours to be ready.
6. When the ice cream is almost frozen, drizzle the warm salted caramel all over it. Stir and continue to freeze.

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