Growing up in the South, we had homemade ice cream often in the summertime. Our ice cream had a very simple base of cream, milk and sugar. We did not use eggs in it, and we did not cook it. We added fruits and other ingredients to the base, depending upon what we gathered that week – ripe, juicy peaches or sweet blackberries. Sometimes, we just added vanilla or chocolate to the base. Then we would put the creamy mixture into our hand-cranked churn, cover it with ice and rock salt, and start churning. Today I have an ice cream maker with a compressor in it. It is much easier on my arms that way and it makes great ice cream.
In this recipe, I use Askinosie chocolate – their San Jose Del Tambo 70% bar. It is simply a perfect balance in all ways. I also like Valrhona chocolate in this recipe.
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup cream
1 cup 2% (lowfat) milk (I generally use whole milk but find it too rich and thick for this recipe.)
1/4 teaspoon fleur-de-sel sea salt (plus more, to taste).
1.5 ounces of your favorite dark chocolate bar
1/3 cup toasted almonds
You will also need:
Medium mixing bowl
Ice cream maker (I use one with a compressor in it, but you can use just about any kind.)
Put the sugar into the skillet and heat over a medium-high flame until the sugar becomes liquid and turns honey-brown. Don’t stir the pot at all during this process, just shake it until the sugar melts. Stirring could cause the sugar to crystallize. Be VERY careful as the liquid sugar gets extremely hot.
Just before the mixture turns deep amber, remove it from the heat – it will continue to cook. Let cool slightly and add the cream slowly. It will sputter and seize up but don’t worry – that is normal.
Place the skillet back on the burner over medium-low heat and stir until the caramel has melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove from the heat entirely and let cool slightly. Add the milk. Stir until blended. Add the salt. Taste to see if it is salty enough. If not, add a little more until it is to your taste.
Cover and place into the refrigerator.
Meanwhile, grind the chocolate very finely in the food processor. Set aside.
Grind the almonds very finely in the food processor. Set aside.
When the salted caramel mixture is completely cool, remove it from the refrigerator. Add the ground chocolate and the ground almonds. Stir well to combine.
Freeze according to your ice cream maker’s instructions.
When frozen, remove from the ice cream maker and place into a dish with a tightly-fitting lid. Freeze for several hours or overnight, until firm.
Garnish with chopped chocolate, chopped almonds, a sprinkling of fleur-de-sel, mint or your favorite idea. Serves 4.