Makes about 1 quart
To cool the ice cream base in the ice bath, you can try a trick from other ice cream books: Place a sturdy gallon freezer bag in a deep bowl or saucepan filled with ice water. Carefully strain the base into the bag and stir briefly as it cools; it will cool quickly because there is so little barrier between the base and the ice water. It’s many times faster and cleaner than trying to cool ice cream in a bowl set in a larger bowl of ice.
1¾cups heavy cream, at room temperature¾cup granulated sugar¾cup 1 percent or 2 percent milk1teaspoon kosher salt5egg yolks
1. Set the cream by the burner so it’s on hand when you need it. Measure out ½ cup of the sugar and set near the burner; you’ll use this for the caramel (the rest will go in with the yolks).
2. In a heavy-based saucepan, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 2 minutes or until the sugar melts around the edges and starts to turn amber in places. Stir gently with a wooden spoon and add another 2 tablespoons sugar to the pan.
3. Continue to add what remains of the ½ cup of sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, stirring often and letting most of the sugar melt before you add more. Watch carefully as the sugar darkens, stirring gently.
4. Slip on an oven mitt. When the caramel turns a dark mahogany, remove the pan from the heat and quickly but slowly pour the cream into the pan. (The mixture will steam and bubble up; be careful to avoid splatters and steam burns.) When the bubbling subsides, gently stir to completely blend the cream into the caramel. If you see lumps of hardened caramel, set the pan over low heat and stir until the caramel melts. Once it is smooth, stir in the milk and salt. Set the pan over medium-high heat. When the mixture reaches a bare simmer, reduce the heat to medium.
5. In a heatproof bowl, whisk the yolks to break them up. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup sugar.
6. Carefully scoop out about ½ cup of the hot caramel mixture and, whisking the egg yolks constantly, stir in the caramel mixture. Repeat with another ½ cup of the caramel. Using a heatproof rubber spatula, stir the caramel mixture in the pan as you slowly pour the egg mixture into it.
7. Cook the mixture carefully over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spatula, and holds a clear path when you run your finger across the spatula; do not let it boil.
8. Set a strainer over a bowl. Strain the caramel mixture into it. Set the bowl in an ice water bath, wash your spatula, and use it to stir the mixture occasionally until it cools. Remove the bowl from the ice water bath, wipe the bottom, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
9. Freeze the caramel mixture in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. While the ice cream is churning, put the container you’ll use to store the ice cream into the freezer. Eat right away or, for a firmer ice cream, transfer to the chilled container and freeze for at least 4 hours. Adapted from “Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones’’