Homemade vanilla ice cream reaches its new height with a generous drizzle of soy sauce caramel. An interplay of savory, sweet and creative flavors, this Japanese-inspired ice cream is going to have you come back for more!
Keyword: ice cream, soy sauce
Servings: 1QT (1L)
Author: Namiko Chen
For Soy Sauce Caramel (yields 1/2 cup or 120 ml)
¼cupheavy whipping cream
2Tbspsoy sauce(I used Kikkoman Gluten-Free Soy Sauce)
For Vanilla Ice Cream
2cupsheavy whipping cream
3large egg yolks
½sheetgelatin(1.1 g; or use ½ tsp gelatin powder; [Equation] 1 envelope gelatin powder (0.25 oz, 7 g.) = 1 Tbsppowdered gelatin = 3 sheets GOLD leaf gelatin. One sheetleaf gelatin would correspond to 1 tsp of powdered gelatin.
You can double the recipe but do not increase beyond that because it’s not easy to melt the sugar properly. In a small saucepan, heat ½ cup sugar over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, silicone spatula, or wooden spoon.
Sugar will form clumps and eventually melt into a thick brown, amber-colored liquid as you continue to stir. Careful not to burn from the splatter.
Once sugar is completely melted, immediately add 3 Tbsp butter. The caramel will bubble rapidly so take extra cautions not to burn yourself from the splatter.
Stir the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted. If you notice the butter separating or if the sugar clumped up, remove from heat and vigorously whisk to combine. Keep whisking until it comes back together, even if it takes 3-4 minutes. It will eventually get there. Just keep whisking. Return to heat when it’s combined again.
Very slowly drizzle in ¼ cup of heavy cream while stirring. Since the heavy cream is colder than the caramel, the mixture will rapidly bubble when added. It will rise in the pan as it boils.
Turn off and remove from the heat and stir in 2 Tbsp soy sauce.
Allow it to cool down slightly before use. Caramel thickens as it cools.
After the caramel cools down, pour it into a glass jar or container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month and freezer for up to 3 months. The caramel solidifies as it cools, but you can reheat in the microwave or on the stove so it becomes liquid again. For the frozen caramel, thaw in the refrigerator or at room temperature, then warm up before using.
To Make Vanilla Ice Cream Mixture
Cut the gelatin sheet into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces and add ¼ cup water to let the gelatin bloom for 10 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, add 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream and 1 cup whole milk.
Whisk together and bring it to almost simmering over medium-low heat until small bubbles appear along the edges (but don’t let it boil), about 8-10 minutes. If you have a cooking thermometer, it should be 181 °F or 83 °C.
In a large bowl, combine sugar and egg yolks (if you are using gelatin powder, add now).
Whisk together till combine.
Add a quarter of the milk mixture from the pot into the bowl, while constantly whisking (to prevent the eggs from cooking).
Then repeat with another quarter of the mixture, while stirring with the plastic spatula.
Finally, pour everything in the bowl and whisk together. Then pour back the mixture into the pot.
Drain the water from the gelatin sheet and add it to the mixture.
Return the pot to the stove and heat on medium-low, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Without allowing it to boil, heat for 8-10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. The cooking thermometer should reach 160 ºF or 71 °C to pasteurize the eggs. Turn heat off and pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer into a 4 cup measuring cup or a medium bowl.
Add the vanilla and stir to combine.
Prepare a large bowl with ice cubes, and set the measuring cup (or the medium bowl) inside. Stir the mixture occasionally to help cool faster. Once cool (should take about 30 minutes), cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight or at least 4 hours.
To Churn Ice Cream
On the following day (or after 4 hours), set up your ice cream maker according to the instructions. My Cuisinart ice cream maker just broke so I borrowed my friend’s fancy ice cream maker that does not require freezing the bowl in advance. However, many home ice cream freezers have bowls that need to be frozen ahead of time. Don’t skimp on this step! A bowl that isn’t completely frozen will take longer to freeze your ice cream and impact the finished product. If you make homemade ice cream on a regular basis, store your bowl in the freezer once it is clean. It will always be ready for your next batch of ice cream.
Pour the mixture into the ice cream machine. Make sure not to fill it more than about ⅔ of the way up.
Start churning. Churning ice cream incorporates air into the finished product while it freezes, so you will need some extra room in your freezer bowl.
The mixture has been thicker and creamier, about 25-30 minutes.
Lift up the paddle and remove the ice cream with a (mini) silicone spatula into the ice cream maker bowl.
Transfer half the ice cream into an airtight glass container (ideally a square or rectangular shape) and flatten the top with the silicone spatula.
Drizzle generous amount of soy sauce caramel on top.
Add the rest of the ice cream and flatten it with the silicone spatula.
Drizzle more caramel sauce on top. Save some for drizzling when serving.
Cover the lid and put it in the freezer. Set freezer temperature to the coldest setting, so the ice cream freezes faster. Optional: Lay plastic wrap directly on top of ice cream and press down gently to prevent ice crystals from forming on top of the ice cream.
Take the ice cream out of the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving, so it becomes soft enough to scoop. Drizzle extra Soy Sauce Caramel on top if you like.