Saturday, 26 January 2013

Popcorn Ice Cream with Salted Butter Caramel Sauce

My recent obsession with making ice-cream has sparked me to attempt a sweet and savoury flavour: popcorn with salted butter caramel sauce. The flavour reminds me of the times I ate each mouthful of popcorn with a bite of my vanilla ice cream at the movies when I was young, except that this was better because of the rich toffee-like caramel sauce.

Homemade caramel sauce is 10000x better than what you purchase at the supermarkets! The flavour of this ice cream isn't that sweet so it compliments the caramel very nicely. Unlike a lot of other recipes out there that use butter flavoured popcorn, I just used plain air-popped popcorn to flavour my custard, which makes this recipe a smidgeon more healthy than other recipes whilst still tasting divine at the same time!

Popcorn Ice Cream 
Recipe: Adapted from Almost Bourdain

500ml full fat milk
300ml whipping cream
50g + 10g caster sugar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla essence
1 egg
60g prepared popcorn (I used plain air-popped)
Salted butter caramel sauce (recipe below)

Heat the milk, cream, popcorn and 50g of sugar in a saucepan until it's just below the boiling point and starts to bubble. Remove from heat and allow popcorn to infuse its flavour for 30 minutes, then strain.

Whisk 10g of sugar with vanilla and egg until it reaches the ribbon stage. While still whisking, incorporate around a 1/4 cup of the cream mixture into the egg mixture, then pour this back into the saucepan with the cream - mixing well to combine.

Heat the mixture again on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens into a velvety custard.
Once thickened, remove from heat and pour it into a bowl to cool throughly.

Churn in an ice cream machine until soft set, then transfer into an air tight container to freeze for another couple of hours before serving with popcorn and salted caramel sauce (recipe below).

Salted Butter Caramel Sauce Recipe
Recipe: Adapted from Almost Bourdain

50g sugar
50g thickened cream
4g salted butter
Pinch of sea salt

Heat the sugar in a saucepan over moderate heat without stirring. Once the sugar near the edge starts to liquefy, use a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula to stir gently. (Sugar will start to look grainy at this stage, but it will become runny and amber coloured as it melts.)

Add in the cream and butter whilst stirring vigorously - the mixture will bubble furiously as you add the cream, but it is important you continue stirring to make sure the mixture is smooth. Add salt to taste.

If you like your sauce less rich or a bit runnier, gradually whisk some water into the caramel until you achieve your desired consistency.

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