Balsamic caramel ice cream and chocolate sauce
- December 2015
- Serves 8
- Hands-on time 1 hour, plus freezing
Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce and homemade caramel gets a grown-up twist with the addition of balsamic vinegar. Its slightly tart flavour and sticky texture makes it a wonderful pairing with all the sweet elements. Test it out at your next dinner party.
- 54g (36.1g saturated)
For the ice cream
- 180g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod, split
- 6 medium free-range egg yolks (see tip)
- 600ml double cream
For the balsamic caramel
- 150g caster sugar
- 40g unsalted butter
- 100ml double cream, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
For the chocolate sauce
- 150g dark chocolate (around 70 per cent cocoa solids)
- 100g culinary (flavourless) coconut oil
- 40g golden syrup
You’ll also need…
- A sugar or digital probe thermometer
- For the balsamic caramel, put the caster sugar in a heavy-based frying pan and heat very gently until it starts to dissolve. As the edges colour, drag them into the centre of the pan with a metal fork so the caramel melts evenly. Once the sugar has completely melted, let it bubble until it turns a rich golden caramel colour (don’t let it get too dark), then immediately add the butter, stirring to melt. Remove from the heat and add the cream and balsamic vinegar, then return to the heat, stirring. Gently bubble to form a rich, smooth caramel sauce. Stir in a good pinch of sea salt to taste, then leave to cool completely.
- For the ice cream, put a 1 litre loaf tin in the freezer. Put the sugar and 150ml water in a heavy-based pan, then scrape the vanilla seeds from the pod and add to the pan with the pod. Heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Put the egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
- Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil until the syrup reaches 120°C when tested with a digital probe thermometer or sugar thermometer (around 8-10 minutes). Remove from the heat, take out the vanilla pod using a fork, then gradually pour the syrup into the egg yolks in a thin stream, whisking all the time with an electric mixer as you go (it might be easier to get someone to help you here). Try to keep the syrup away from the whisks and the edges of the bowl – if it hits cold metal it will solidify. Once all the syrup has been added, keep whisking the eggs until they’re thick and pale and leave a ribbon-like trail when the whisk is raised.
- Leave the egg mixture to cool, whisking occasionally. Whip the cream to very soft peaks in another bowl then, once the egg mixture is cool, fold the cream into the egg mix in thirds with a balloon whisk, being careful not to knock out the air. Transfer to an ice cream machine and churn until softly frozen.
- Once the ice cream is churned, transfer half to the frozen loaf tin. Working quickly, dollop over a generous layer of the balsamic caramel in haphazard blotches. Top with a second layer of ice cream, then repeat, swirling the final caramel blobs into the top of the ice cream gently. Cover with cling film and freeze until needed.
- To make the chocolate sauce, put the chocolate, coconut oil and golden syrup into a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of very gently simmering water (you want to see just the odd bubble) – don’t let the bowl touch the water. Stir now and then to melt, then allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer to a jug.
- Remove the ice cream from the freezer around 5-10 minutes before serving. Using a hot ice cream scoop, scoop balls into bowls or coupes. Take to the table and pass around the chocolate sauce. It will solidify on touching the ice cream, becoming a snappable consistency just like tempered chocolate.
This is a mousseline ice cream – it has a thick, airy texture that melts in the mouth. You’ll need an ice cream maker to make it. If you don’t have one, or are short on time, buy a tub of good quality ice cream, leave to soften a little, then continue from step 5, adding the balsamic caramel. The egg whites can be frozen in a bag, whisked lightly with a pinch of salt, for savoury recipes.
The ice cream will keep in the freezer, well covered ￼for up to 3 months. The chocolate sauce will keep, chilled, for 3-4 days – reheat and cool again before serving.
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