Monday, May 5, 2008

dulce de leche ice cream

dulce de leche ice cream

Two weeks ago, I had the honor to meet one of the people who has been reading this site in all of its incarnations for so long, she probably knows me better than I do. And yet she still wanted to meet me for lunch! The lovely Marce and I had a weekday lunch on a stunning day at Tabla’s Bread Bar, sitting outside discussing cameras and childcare, the food in Buenos Aires and the freelance life. It was fantastic, and not only because I can never resist an opportunity to have lunch at the Bread Bar but because she brought me…

a gift from marce

A jar of dulce de leche from Argentina! I thought I’d won the lottery. I know that aside from being practically the national dish, it’s no big deal to find a jar a grocery store down there but I didn’t know that there is like a whole supermarket aisle of it! I … I think it’s safe to say that it’s best I never find myself in that aisle. It would get sticky; I’d never be invited back.

Of course, I immediately started scheming what I could make with it, but I wanted to be really cautious about not picking a recipe that would bury the dulce’s charms. Oh, I loved those Dulce de Leche Cheesecake Squares as much as you all did in January, but said then and maintain now that the dulce flavor was not particularly strong in the delicious end product. When someone lugs a one-pound tub of this caramel of the gods more than 5,000 miles to you, you want to treat it with the utmost respect.

a tub of awesome

I believe we did alright. This ice cream, like so many of my favorite ice cream flavors, couldn’t be simpler. I was tempted to add The Easiest Chocolate Chips, Ever (swirl in four ounces of melted chocolate in the last minute of the ice cream churning) but as my previous ice cream efforts may suggest, I prefer my flavors uninterrupted. Heck, I even skipped the pecans.

The dulce is delightfully pronounced, and because it doesn’t require or need a custard base, it couldn’t be easier. Or faster to make. I mean, I’ve never been in a rush to get out of the kitchen, but I did like the fact that I could get home late and still get a spoonful of this before I went to bed. And in the days that followed? Yeah, I think you knew where that was heading:

i warned you

One year ago: Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

The nerve! We’re on vacation this week, so I won’t get to responding to your comments (or fishing out comments snagged by by our hyperactive spam-catcher) until we return. Please don’t be sad. Look, we made you ice cream!

Dulce de Leche Ice Cream
Adapted from Gourmet, May 2007

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 pound dulce de leche (about 1 2/3 cups) (learn how to make your own)
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped pecans (2 1/2 to 3 oz), toasted (optional)

Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat and whisk in dulce de leche until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, 15 to 20 minutes.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker until almost firm, then fold in pecans if using them. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.


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