SALTY CARAMEL ICE CREAM
Yield: 1 quart (or a little less)
2 cups whole milk, divided
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon plus 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt, see note
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Note: The total of 1 1/4 teaspoons of salt makes for a fairly salty ice cream. It’s supposed to be salty, but if you want it to be less assertive you can add less than 3/4 teaspoon.
Mix 2 tablespoons of the milk with the cornstarch in a small bowl to make a smooth slurry. Whisk the cream cheese and salt in a medium bowl until smooth. Mix the cream with the corn syrup in a measuring cup with a spout. Fill a large bowl with ice and water.
Heat the 2/3 cup of sugar in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stand over the pan with a heatproof spatula ready, but do not touch the sugar until there is a thin ring of melted and browning liquid sugar around the edge of the sugar. When the edges of the melted sugar begin to darken, use the spatula to bring them into the center to help melt the unmelted sugar. Continue stirring and pushing the sugar around until it is all melted and evenly amber in color, like an old penny.
When little bubbles begin to explode, give the sugar another moment and then remove from the heat. Immediately, but slowly, pour about 1/4 cup of the cream and corn syrup mixture into the burning hot sugar. Be careful — it will pop and spit. Stir until it is incorporated, then add a bit more cream and stir, then continue until it is all in. Do not worry if the melted sugar seizes and solidifies.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and add the rest of the milk and vanilla. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat, give the cornstarch slurry a quick stir, and gradually whisk in the slurry.
Bring back to a boil over medium-high heat and cook, stirring with a heatproof spatula, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. If any caramel flecks remain, pour the mixture through a sieve. Add the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt (or less) and the remaining 2 teaspoons sugar.
Gradually whisk the hot milk mixture into the cream cheese until smooth. Pour the mixture into a 1-gallon resealable plastic bag and submerge the sealed bag in the ice bath. Let stand, adding more ice as necessary, until cold, about 30 minutes.
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Pour into ice cream-maker canister and freeze according to product instructions. Pack the ice cream into a storage container, press a sheet of parchment directly against the surface, and seal with an airtight lid. Freeze in the coldest part of your freezer until firm, at least 4 hours.
Per serving: 275 calories; 18 g fat; 11 g saturated fat; 65 mg cholesterol; 3 g protein; 27 g carbohydrate; 24 g sugar; no fiber; 205 mg sodium; 100 mg calcium
Source: “Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home,” by Jeni Britton Bauer