This is a dreamy custard-style ice cream that is not too sweet at all. The caramel sauce actually tastes more along the lines of a burnt caramel sauce so it adds depth of flavor instead of sweetness. The sprinkle of Fleur de Sel adds just the right amount of saltiness, which brings the whole desert into balance.
The recipe works best if you can make it at least one day ahead of when you plan to eat it.
For the Ice Cream
¾ cup of sugar plus 2 Tablespoons
2 Tablespoons water
½ tsp fresh lemon juice
1 cup heavy cream
5 large egg yolks
2 tsp Fleur de Sel sea salt
1 ½ cups whole mile
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
In a heavy 2- to 4-quart saucepan, combine sugar, water and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring with wooden spoon until sugar dissolves, 1-2 minutes. Stop stirring at this point and cook until syrup is amber colored, 5 to 10 minutes over medium-high heat. Swirl while cooking to ensure it doesn’t burn and watch closely.
Remove the pan from the heat and pour ¾ cup of the cream into the hot syrup (be careful to not burn yourself as it may splatter). Stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook until mixture barely begins to boil, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.
Meanwhile, combine egg yolks, salt, 2 Tablespoons of sugar, and remaining ¼ cup of the cream in a bowl. Whisk until smooth, then stir in the milk.
Pour the milk mixture into the warm caramel syrup and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and keeping the custard at a low simmer, until it lightly coats the back of a spoon, 4-8 minutes. Make sure to not let the custard boil. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Stir in the vanilla.
Allow mixture to cool, then cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours. Pour custard into ice cream maker and freeze according to instructions. Transfer ice cream to a covered container and freeze until firm, at least 3 hours.
Just before serving, stir some of the caramel sauce into the ice cream, adding a sprinkle of Fleur de Sel directly onto the ribbon of caramel sauce, then fold together with ice cream so that salt and sauce are loosely blended into ice cream. Serve immediately. Be careful not to over mix.
For the Caramel Sauce
I cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Combine water and sugar in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves completely and the syrup is clear. Stop stirring and continue cooking until syrup turns a golden brown. Once syrup begins turning amber colored, it will burn quickly so watch it very closely. You want a medium brown colored syrup but not burned. Once you have the correct color, remove from heat and slowly add the heavy cream, being careful not to burn yourself when mixture splatters. Once cream is incorporated, place over low heat and stir until all the caramel and cream are fully integrated. You may need to use a whisk to get it fully blended. Let simmer over low heat for another minute. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Serve warm or at room temperature. Sauce can be stored in a canning jar and refrigerated for up to a month.