Have you tried Tamarind? This funky looking pod grows in tropical climates and is popular in cuisines around the world. Beneath the dry and brittle shell of the ripened tamarind lies a fruity pulp the embodies a perfect balance of sweet and sour. A while ago, I began to experiment with tamarind and came up with a recipe for Chocolate Dipped Tamarind Caramels. This week, our local Mexican grocery put out a barrelful of beautiful Tamarind pods, igniting my desire to create once again.
As before, I've paired the sweet, slightly tropical flavor of the tamarind with a buttery salted caramel for this delicious ice cream. The brown-butter flavor of the salt speckled caramel ribbons is the perfect compliment to the light fruity tang of the tamarind. The sweet, sour, & salty flavors make for an exquisite spoonful!
Tamarind Ice Cream
with Salted Caramel Ribbons
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1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
10 tamarind pods, shelled veined, and broken in to segments
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup light brown sugar
pinch of salt
1. Set a strainer over a medium sized bowl nestled in an ice bath. Set aside.
2. Heat the milk, cream, granulated sugar, vanilla pods and scrapings, and shelled tamarind pieces in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a gentle boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes, whisking occasionally to help break down the tamarind pulp from the seeds.
3. While the milk mixture simmers, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar and salt in a medium bowl until thickened and lighter in color (approx. 5 minutes).
4. Reduce heat of the milk mixture to medium low. Whisk half of the warm milk mixture into the beaten yolks, 1/2 cup at a time until combined. Whisk the milk-yolk mixture back in to the saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches 180 degrees. Do not allow the mixture to boil.
5. Immediately strain the mixture into the prepared strainer & bowl. Discard the vanilla bean and seeds. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
6. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7. When the ice cream reaches soft-serve consistency, transfer 1/4 of the batch to a 1 quart container. Drizzle with caramel (you may need to slightly warm your caramel to do this). Continue to alternate ice cream and caramel. Chill overnight.
For the Salted Caramel
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream plus 3 Tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons flaky salt (like Maldon, Fleur de Sel or Sel Gris)
In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, stir sugar, corn syrup, water an 1/4 cup cream to combine. Bring to a boil, without stirring any further, over medium heat until the mixture reaches 235 (soft ball stage) on a candy thermometer. Immediately remove from heat and stir in vanilla and remaining 3 Tablespoons of cream. Cool in the saucepan for 15 minutes. Sprinkle with the salt. Gently fold in to the caramel with a silicone spatula. Set aside to cool. When you are ready to add the caramel to the ice cream, if caramel has become too firm to form ribbons when drizzled from a spoon, return the saucepan to a burner over low heat until caramel becomes pliable.
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