Tuesday, May 4, 2010

{TWD} Burnt Palm Sugar Ice Cream


You know that we're heading into warmer weather when ice cream is in the lineup of recipes for the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group - this week's assignment is Burnt Sugar Ice Cream. Luckily I've made enough caramel in the past couple of years that hot sugar no longer strikes terror into my heart, and making custard-style ice cream base is almost second nature by now. We eat a lot of ice cream around here; in fact the ice cream maker has a permanent spot right on the countertop.

n.o.e.'s notes:

- The ice cream was chosen this week by Becky of Project Domestication. The recipe is included in her post or you can find it on page 432 of Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours.

- As ice creams go, this recipe is on the higher-maintenance side. First you have to make caramel on the stovetop, then make it into a custard, also on the stovetop. Then the whole thing chills for a day or so before the ice cream churn gets to work its magic.

- I'd previously made caramel ice cream from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home cookbook, posted here, and it's my absolute favorite ice cream. I was sorely tempted to make Dorie's as written so that I could compare the two recipes, but instead I took the ice cream in a different direction. In some of my baking lately I've been using palm sugar, a sweetener with a lower glycemic index than cane sugar. I was very curious to see how it would caramelize, so I decided to use it in this ice cream. Sarah of the blog Blue Ridge Baker uses palm sugar regularly, and I turned to her post where she made caramel corn (seriously amazing-looking stuff!) for some caramelizing pointers.

- I cooked my caramel to 250 degrees as measured on my instant read thermometer. This target temperature was a huge help because it was otherwise hard to tell when the sugar was done because it naturally has a deep caramel color.

- I was low on milk, so I used half & half and heavy cream. My guess is that the finished proportion was probably 1/3 milk to 2/3 cream, similar to other ice creams I've made (rather than the higher quantity of milk that Dorie specified).


the verdict:

The ice cream turned out smooth and creamy with a subtle burnt sugar edge. I sprinkled cocoa nibs on some, which added a good textural contrast. My husband and I both liked the ice cream, but I must say, as far as caramel ice cream, I preferred the opulently strong caramel flavor of Thomas Keller's (and my husband's favorite ice cream is still vanilla!) I'm glad I learned that I can use the palm sugar successfully in ice cream - even when it has a starring role.

20 comments:

Audrey said...

I know this isn't exactly on point, but I'm intrigued by cacao nibs - never tried them, don't really know what they are, want to.
(ps I've set myself a goal of Memorial Day weekend for working through the stuff in the freezer sufficiently to ensure a permanent spot for the icm canister, or the spare one!

Mary said...

You must really love ice cream to give the machine a spot on your counter! I only use mine every 5 years or so, but I did enjoy this ice cream. Did the palm sugar add any other flavour to the ice cream?

Kayte said...

Well, you can't beat a good vanilla ice cream, that's for sure. That said, your ice cream looks very very wonderful and that cup is cute, too. Still haven't gotten to that TK AdHoc caramel, but I will sometime, yes, I will!

Tracey said...

How fun that you experimented with the palm sugar Nancy! It looks like the ice cream turned out perfectly. I had a sneaking suspicion this recipe wouldn't be able to compete with TK's for you :)

Leslie said...

I never would have thought of making it with palm sugar but how interesting that you did it, and successfully! I loved the AHAH caramel ice cream so much that I wonder if I even gave this one a fair shake.

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you've been playing around with palm sugar! I used it in this ice cream, too. I really liked it, but I am still dying to try TK's. Soon, soon. Your ice cream looks amazing!

TeaLady said...

Fun using new/different ingredients isn't it.

Just a second more of boiling the caramel and it would have had a much stronger 'burnt' flavor. It was good, but....

Jules Someone said...

Sounds interesting! I have some date sugar that I need to use up. Ice cream maybe?

Di said...

My ice cream maker doesn't have a permanent counter spot, but one of my canisters does have a permanent spot in the freezer. =) Your ice cream looks delicious. I'll have to look for palm sugar and see what it's like. I did do a comparison between Dorie's recipe and TK's. Hers is good, but just can't top the Ad Hoc recipe.

Katrina said...

I'll have to look for palm sugar, I haven't seen it around here.

I prefer vanilla ice cream, too. But this was fun to make.

Jencrafted said...

I've used palm sugar a lot in Asian desserts and I love the idea of using it for making this recipe. I love the color of your ice cream. Nice work!

Jodie said...

Looks great with that chocolate on top!

Bellini Valli said...

I had better dig my ice cream maker from the recesses of my freezer. Thanks for the delicious reminder:D

Nickki said...

Your ice cream looks so delicious! We loved it here. I will have to check out this Thomas Kellar recipe :-)

Cathy said...

It looks fabulous - really interesting to hear about the palm sugar and how well it worked. TK's caramel ice cream was at the top of my list until this one was picked, and now it's back at the top of my list again. I need to try it soon, especially given how much D loved this one. I love that you make enough ice cream to keep the ice cream maker out on the countertop - that is a fun kitchen right there!!

dharmagirl said...

beautiful ice cream! and i can vouch for sarah's palm sugar caramel corn--she was my secret baker a few months ago and sent me a bag. it was beyond delicious:)

Tia said...

I've never used palm sugar... but after seeing your post i'm temtped to try it.

steph- whisk/spoon said...

hmmm...i will have to give the TK recipe a shot. i like that you used palm sugar. i have a big thing of in the cupboard for SE asian food, but never think to add it to other stuff. i'll have to keep that in mind...

bexbakes said...

I've heard such good things about that Keller recipe, I must try. And Palm sugar is such a good idea! Your pictures look fab.

Barbara said...

Really liked this post, Nancy. So many people are terrified of making caramel. I'ts not hard, just needs careful watching and it's HOT. Those are really the only warnings I give anyone who asks.
This is about the 4th TWD burnt sugar I've seen, but the first with palm sugar. Which I am not familiar with at all. Am going to look into it now that you have talked about it.

Also will check Keller's ice cream recipe. (And tell your husband my favorite is vanilla too... I always order it when we are out. My kids think I am nuts. But I do love making other flavors at home.)