Caramel Pecan Ice Cream

IMG_5907After making my coconut turtle ice cream, I realized the merits to using caramel sauce as a sugar source. I decided to make a caramel pecan ice cream to take full advantage of this. Trust me when I say, that this ice cream is well worth the wait of making it from scratch.

While researching the physics and chemistry behind ice cream, I learned that ice cream is at its best when it has a freezing point depression of about 2.5F (-1.4C). When solutes (sugar, salt, alcohols, etc.) are added to the solvent (milk, cream, water) the freezing point of the solvent is lowered. This is caused by the effects of the solutes at the molecular level. These solutes get in-between ice crystals and stop them from congregating, effectively reducing the temperature at which freezing occurs.

The more molecules of solvent the lower the freezing point depression will be. To reach a freezing point of about 2.5F almost 200 grams of sugar (sucrose) need to be added. But what if I don’t want really sweet ice cream? In this case, there are a few options. You can add salt or alcohol, or you can break the sucrose into fructose and glucose by heating sucrose and water in the presence of acid.

How does this work? Well, sucrose is a disaccharide composed of fructose and glucose. This makes the molecule relatively large. However, if we split sucrose into its parts, then we have twice as much ice crystal interference without the added sweetness. (The fructose formed via heating is the 6 membered-ring form, which does not have the sweetness of the 5-membered ring version in high fructose corn syrup.)

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Ingredients

1 3/4 cup of cream
1 1/4 cup of whole milk
6 whole eggs
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup of caramel (divided)
Optional- 6 oz chopped pecans

Directions

  1. In a heavy bottomed pot, scald cream, whole milk, ¼ cup of caramel, salt, and vanilla. Whisk the egg and sugar. Temper the milk mixture into the eggs. Then bring the custard to 170 degrees F on the stove top. Strain the custard into a medium sized bowl then allow to cool for 30 minutes at room temperature. Then move the bowl to the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Follow the directions on your ice cream freezer to make the ice cream. Then freeze at least 1 hour. Fold 1/3 the remaining caramel sauce into the ice cream along with 1/3 the pecans. Repeat previous step until all caramel and pecans are added. Then freeze for 3 hours at least.