David Lebovitz's Perfect Scoop is perhaps one of the most dog-eared and ragged cookbooks on my magic shelf o' cookbooks. And just because this particular cookbook is dedicated to all things ice-cream, that doesn't necessarily mean its use is relegated to only the summer months--Perfect Scoop gets year-round play at the Burnt Lumpia Worldwide Headquarters.
In fact, our favorite recipes from the book range from David's Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream and Peach Ice Cream in the warmer months, to Orange-Szechwan Pepper Ice Cream, Cinnamon Ice Cream, and Eggnog Ice Cream during the colder months, and Coffee Ice Cream and regular ol' vanilla for whenever the hell we feel like it. Yup, my home-ice-cream-fu be pretty decent.
With all that said, my most favorite of David's ice cream recipes is actually Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream. Ironically though, a recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream doesn't even appear in Perfect Scoop, but the recipe does (thankfully) live on David's blog. Besides being my favorite ice cream recipe, Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream is perhaps one of the best frozen treats I've ever tasted (probably a close second to Abominable Snowman blood. Mmmm, Yeti plasma).
Anyhoo, what makes this ice cream so good?
Well for one, its base components of butter (Butter in ice cream!!!), salt, cream, milk, sugar, and eggs all come together to form something simultaneously rich, sweet, salty, and ever-so-slightly burnt-sugar-smokey. It's crazy that something can taste as complex as this ice cream tastes. Secondly, it's also a nice reminder of me and the wife's trip to Europe some time ago where we inhaled various vats of gelato--including copious amounts of Caramel Buerre Salé (ohh lar lar). Which is why, around this time every year, our ice cream maker cranks out some Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream--it's an oldie, but a goodie.
Caramel Buerre Salé w/ Ilocano Asin
And since I was recently on the subject of Philippine Sea Salt, I do want to mention that the delicate crystals of Ilocano Asin provide the wonderful (and necessary) salty hint that makes this ice cream really stand out.
And while homemade Caramel Buerre Salé is nearly perfect on its own, I do like to nestle a scoop of it between crisp homemade Filipino Turon (AKA saba banana egg rolls):
It's a Filipino Banana Split!
Because Turon are sometimes lacquered in a brown sugar glaze or some sort of caramel, I figured SBCIC (I'm getting sick of typing Salted Bu;laksjf, ugh) would be a great accompaniment to the Filipino dessert. And it is.
Because there's so much fat and sugar in the SBCIC in the form of cream and butter and caramel, the ice cream doesn't freeze as solidly as other homemade ice creams and begins to melt as soon as it's scooped. This is a good thing because a melted puddle of SBCIC makes a great dipping sauce for Turon.
To make turon, just slice a saba banana in half length-wise, then wrap each half in a Lumpia wrapper. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Simple, no?
To make David's SBCIC, you must first start with making a caramel praline that you will harden, then smash, then sprinkle into the ice cream base. The salted caramel praline begins with simply heating some sugar in a saucepan until it liquefies--the secret is to heat the sugar until it juuuust begins to smoke. Then you sprinkle some sea salt of choice (such as Ilocano Asin) into the caramel, then pour the caramel out onto a baking sheet into as thin a layer as possible.
After the salted caramel praline hardens, I smash it up something good with a mallet.
I must warn you though that making caramel is dang dangerous business. It's magma-hot when in the pot, and sharp as obsidian after it is hardened and broken. I actually sliced my finger on a shard of the hardened caramel when I tried to pry some off of a rubber spatula. Better my finger than my tongue.
After the praline is broken into bits, it then goes into the ice cream base--which also conists of more caramel and salted butter. No worries about the sharp shards in the finished product though, as the praline turns into goo after the ice cream is frozen, tasty salty-smoky-sweet goo.
You can find David Lebovitz's recipe for Salted Butter Caramel Ice Cream here. It takes a little bit of time, and a little bit of finesse, but the recipe is worthwhile. And true to David's own words, I can attest that this ice cream is better than anything you'll find in Paris--or anywhere else for that matter. If you own an ice cream maker, you MUST make this ice cream.