“You know,” I said to the Horror from Outer Space as we sat companionably at our local, The Hungry Grasshopper. “I can make ice cream in the Thermomix”. “You should make caramel,” he said, looking up from his caramel milkshake. “Not long ago you could only get strawberry, vanilla and chocolate milk shakes. Caramel is making a comeback”.
Well, it is one of my favourite flavours too. I like to do my research first, and there seems to be a canonical caramel ice cream recipe for the Thermomix, the Salted Caramel Maple Syrup ice cream recipe. I had a big lurk in the forums, and there were opinions on the saltiness, the sweetness, the richness of this recipe. I took all of these into consideration and came up with the following.
First, you make the caramel. Put 250 grams of brown sugar into the Thermomix and zap it on speed 9 for thirty seconds. The recipe actually said raw sugar, but I didn’t have any. The forums also suggested rapadura, but I don’t know what the hell that is, but filed it away with aged rice as something to investigate for the future. Add 50 grams of maple syrup, 50 grams of unsalted sweet butter and two teaspoons of vanilla extract. I checked back to very original recipe and it said two teaspoons of vanilla bean paste, which is a bit more intense and I did happen to have it, so that went in. Put the Thermomix on Varoma temperature, whatever that is, and cook it on speed 1 for fifteen minutes.
Then you add either two teaspoons of sea salt if you do actually want it salty, or a couple of grinds of the salt grinder if you don’t really, or you don’t have an over salted palate. Have a guess which way I went. The recipe also suggests 500 grams of cream and 100 grams of milk. Looking at the number of forum comments suggesting it was a very rich recipe, and looking at the vanilla ice cream recipe in the included recipe book, I went 210 grams of cream and the rest full cream milk (ie 390 grams). Beat on speed five for thirty seconds.
With the beater still going, reduce it to speed four, then crack into the hole in the lid four eggs, one at a time. Once again taking the advice of the forums, cook at speed four at ninety degrees for six minutes. That’s your custard, pour it into a metal bowl and bung it into the freezer.
Apparently after about four hours it should be firming up. Mine is just going frosty about the outside, but once it’s relatively firm you spoon it back into the Thermomix and zap it on speed 9 for thirty seconds. The idea is to break up any ice crystals that are forming, a smooth mouth feel is caused by very tiny ice cream particles. I think you could probably repeat this step until you get a desirable consistency, but from what I can see once should be enough. Everyone has had a taste and it does seem that it may all be gone by breakfast time. The complexity of the flavour can be demonstrated by the husband’s question which was “does it have coffee in it?”. It doesn’t taste burnt, but the flavours have blended so that you can’t pick one out. I wouldn’t have picked that it had quite a bit of vanilla in it.
I am somewhat tempted to spoon it into the iceblock moulds while it’s still sludgy, but for this experimental run I may desist. It is taking longer to freeze than suggested, but the numerous tastes that have been taken have reduced the volume somewhat so that should speed it up. I like the adjustments I’ve made to the canonical recipe, my family’s palates aren’t ready for the extra salt and I think the full complement of cream would have been too rich. I am rather excited by the plethora of possibilities opening up now that I can make ice cream. Not that I eat ice cream, oh no.