Sunday, May 2, 2010

Ice Cream Summer Eating List

It's that time of year again in Chicago. The music is starting, summer is coming down the aisle and spring has never been such a delightful bridesmaid to her entrance. In fact, spring is currently putting to shame anyone who speaks pityingly of always the bridesmaid. The abundance of blossoms, the sunny days, even the showers that caught me in the last few steps to my car, have been a sweet transition to summer days, and I've abandoned the heavy coat, the boots, the winter stews and the root vegetables.

And I've started thinking about ice cream again.

That's not to say I ever stopped thinking about ice cream. The ice cream maker works in any season. A smooth, creamy pumpkin ice cream or a dark, rich chocolate ice cream have their place in the winter months. But summer is the season for ice cream, and so you have to ask yourself, what will be your flavor this year?

Pick a flavor. Make it the flavor you're going to pursue this year, at street festivals and ice cream shops, and finally in your own kitchen. Taste it everywhere, for all it's nuances and differences and make yourself an expert on it. Take a strawberry ice cream. Do you like it pink like Pepto Bismol, or mostly vanilla with streaks of strawberry? Do you like chunks of fruit or a smooth puree? Do you like it swirled with pieces of cake, to mimic strawberry shortcake, or cubes of cheesecake? This is your ice cream summer eating list.

Personally, I'm going with salted caramel ice cream. I tried making a version of this last year, with little success. But now I've got a Cooking Light recipe that will serve as the basis for any future tastings.

It's sweet and it's salty and tastes exactly like a melting caramel candy on your tongue. I limited myself to the sea salt in the recipe and didn't add any more on top. It was perfectly balanced for my taste. It's not the most common flavor, but I'll be on the lookout for it to fulfill my summer eating obligations.

Salted Caramel Ice Cream (Cooking Light)
(Yields 10 servings)


  • 3 1/2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon flake salt (optional)

Place milk in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Heat to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge of pan (do not boil). Place egg yolks in a large bowl; stir with a whisk. Gradually add half of hot milk to yolks, stirring constantly. Return yolk mixture to pan.

Combine sugar, cream, and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar melts. Cook 3 minutes without stirring. Remove from heat; stir in sea salt. Gradually add caramel mixture to yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Return pan to low heat; cook until a thermometer registers 160°. Place pan in a large ice-filled bowl until completely cooled, stirring occasionally. Pour mixture into the freezer can of an ice-cream freezer; freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Transfer to freezer container and freeze for at least one hour. Scoop about 1/2 cup ice cream into each of 10 dishes; sprinkle evenly with flake salt if desired.

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