Thursday, January 21, 2016

Caramel Icecream with Salted Egg Yolks

This recipe is based on a dessert I recently made when my friends came over for dinner, and was inspired by a similar version I had at a restaurant not long ago. Salted caramel has long been my flavor of choice when I want to fix up something quick and easy, and it's proved to be a crowd-pleaser time and time again. But this time I was serving this with a slight twist, putting grated salted egg yolks on top of the scoop of icecream.

Using of salted egg yolks as icecream toppings may sound unusual, but it's widely used as dessert in Chinese cuisine, like in the egg custard bun dimsum, or the traditional mooncakes, to bring the note of savory sweetness and crumbly texture. Usually duck eggs were used for their bigger yolks and more intense flavor, but this version used chicken eggs more readily available. In the most traditional way the yolks were cured under the sun, but I have modified this to keep everything done indoors with some oven time.

The recipe uses a lot of egg yolks but no egg white... so I suggest you think of an alternative use for those leftover egg white. My suggestion? Marshmallows or meringues - both worked well with icecream or on their own, isn't it?

Recipe: Caramel Icecream with Salted Egg Yolks

Ingredients: (icecream yields 1 quart, egg yolks good for 4-6 servings)

Salted Egg Yolks:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of salt (the cheapest kind will do - no need to pull out your artisan Himalayan rock salt or something)
  • 2 cups of sugar

 Icecream Custard:

  • 1 + 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 + 1 cup of cream
  • 1 1/2 cup of milk
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Salted Egg Yolks:
1. Egg yolks needed at least one week to be properly cured and dried. So prepare in advance.
2. Mix salt and sugar in a bowl to combine. You may need more or less of the mixture depending on the size of your bowl and the eggs but keep in mind the 1:1 ratio.
3. In a deep baking dish, generously spread the salt/sugar mixture until the bottom of the dish was completely covered. Make 4 indentations with your finger or spoon (big enough to hold the egg yolks), and carefully slide the egg yolks in each of the indentation. Cover the egg yolks completely with the remaining salt/sugar mixture. Left in the refrigerator or cool indoors to cure for at least 4-6 days.
4. Pre-heat oven to 60C. Take the egg yolks out of the salt bed, and carefully remove all salt residuals on the surface - use water if you must and dried them up with towels later. Place egg yolks in a rimmed baking sheet and left in the oven for 5 hours.
(If your oven cannot go that low, heat it up to 150C, left on for an hour, then switch it off while putting the egg yolks inside for overnight)
5. Take the egg yolks out and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Caramel Icecream
1. Put 1 cup of sugar into a sauce pan and heat in medium setting. Stir occasionally until sugar began to melt, then stop stirring and partiently observe as sugar slowly melt and turn into caramel of golden then dark amber color - about 5-7 minutes.
2. While the heat is still on, slowly pour 1 cup of cream into the caramel mixture while stirring. (mixture may spatter, so be careful) Stir until the caramel was completely dissolved, then strain into a bowl and mix in salt and vanilla. Let cool.
3. With a small saucepan, bring milk, 1 cup of cream to just about to boil in medium heat. Meanwhile, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar and the egg yolks.
4. Turn off the heat and slowly pour the hot cream mixture into the mixing bowl while constant stirring to prevent the egg from clotting. Do this until all cream was well mixed in.
5. Pour everything back to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture is thicken enough to coat on the back of the spoon.
6. Strain into a bowl, mix in the cooled caramel and cool in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours and perferably overnight.
7. Churn the caramel custard as per your icecream machine's instruction and freeze until set. Note because of the relatively high salt content the icecream will be softer than usual.

Serve by putting scoops of icecream in a bowl and topped with grated salted egg yolks.

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