Why does photographing ice-cream have to be so hard? Regardless of the amount of planning and the number of test shots I do, I still find that once I pull the ice-cream from the freezer, I am practically in panic mode trying to get a few useable shots. I swear ice-cream melts faster when you are wanting to photograph it. It doesn’t help that I don’t take pictures in my kitchen and have to carry (i.e. run with) the scoops of ice-cream to another room to shoot. Nor does it help when the biggest, darkest cloud imaginable decides to blow in and hang out over my house just as I have everything set up. Honestly, if it weren’t for a tripod and Lightroom/Photoshop, yesterday would have been a total loss. OK, maybe not a total loss. After all, I did get some of the best tasting ice-cream ever out of the deal.
The caramel goodness of this dulce de leche ice-cream made all the frantic running around worthwhile. Fortunately, you won’t have to run all over to enjoy this creamy deliciousness. With only four ingredients, the batter is extremely easy to make. While the ice-cream freezes, you can make the toasted salted pecans. The original recipe called for mixing toasted pecans into the ice-cream batter while it was churning. Since not everyone in my house likes nuts in their ice-cream, I wanted to make the pecans be a topping rather than a mix-in. But rather than just merely toasting the pecans, I decided to make some toasted salted pecans instead. Their sweet-salty flavor is the perfect counter balance to the sweetness of the dulce de leche.
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1⅔ cups dulce de leche
- ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup pecan halves
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt, preferably Maldon's sea salt flakes
- Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a saucepan over moderate heat. Remove pan from heat and carefully whisk in dulce de leche until completely dissolved (mixture will be very hot). Then, whisk in vanilla.
- Prepare an ice-bath. Put the saucepan in the ice bath being careful not to get any water into the ice-cream batter. Allow the saucepan to sit in the ice bath until mixture is cool, whisking occasionally.
- Cover and chill the mixture thoroughly (I like to chill mine overnight).
- Transfer the mixture to an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions. Then, transfer the ice-cream to a freezer-safe container, cover and freeze until firm, 3 to 4 hours, before serving.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, stir the pecans and melted butter together. Sprinkle the sugar and salt over the nuts, stirring to coat evenly. Scrape the nuts onto the prepared baking sheet, spreading them in a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove nuts from the oven and set aside to cool. Chop pecans and sprinkle over ice-cream when serving.
Recipe for pecans from Chocolate Cakes: 50 Great Cakes for Every Occasion cookbook.